Monday, October 28, 2013

Propagation of Blueberries

Blueberries are propagated from either softwood or hardwood cuttings. 

Hardwood cuttings  are collected in late January or February, after sufficient chilling has occurred.  1. Select healthy material. 2. Avoid propagating from plants that have odd-looking or stunted foliage. 3. Collect shoots from the previous summer, 12 to 36 inches in length.  4. Divide these shoots into pieces 5 to 6 inches long, removing any flower buds. 5. Place cuttings in a propagation bed at a depth of one-half to two-thirds of their length. Keep moist.

Softwood cuttings are taken in late spring from the current season's growth, 4 to 5 inches long.  Collect these cuttings when the stems have developed woody tissue but are still somewhat flexible. Remove all leaves with the exception of two or three terminal leaves.  Place cuttings in the propagation bed, under mist at a depth of one-half to two-thirds of their length.

Rooted cuttings are eventually transplanted into pots and held for about one year.   During the time of rooting, keep beds moist while being aware not to over water.
A greenhouse is not necessary, but some type of propagation bed/chamber, under 40 to 70 percent shade with a mist system is recommended; an area as small as 3x3x3 can be used.

The mist system should keep the media uniformly moist but not soggy.  An intermittent-mist system with frequent, short misting intervals is recommended in order to keep the humidity near 100 percent.  However, keeping the cuttings at this constant moisture also creates an ideal environment for pathogenic fungi to grow. Thus cleanliness is very important; use new or sterilized planting mix and pots, keeping them raised off the ground.

Potting media containing various mixtures of coarse sand, ground pine bark, perlite, sawdust, and peat moss have proven satisfactory.  One such recipe is a mixtures of coarse sand, ground pine bark, and peat moss (1:1:1) and perlite and peat moss (1:1)