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How to Graft or Clone Blueberries

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Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) are a popular home garden plant for the healthful berries they produce, as well as their ornamental characteristics. They can be grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 10, though not all varieties are suitable for all zones. However, the same propagation methods can be used on any type of blueberry. Unlike most fruit trees, which require the relatively complex procedure of grafting to reproduce them, blueberries are cloned by the simple process of taking softwood cuttings.

Locate a healthy, disease-free blueberry bush that is known to produce good quality fruit. Select a long straight stem and remove it using sterilized garden pruners. Remove the leaves and divide the stem into cuttings of 4 to 6 inches in length. Older wood that is over one-half inch in diameter should be discarded, as well as wood from the tip of the branch that is less than one-eighth inch in diameter. The best results will be from wood that is still green, known as “softwood.”

Mix equal parts peat moss and perlite for use as a rooting medium and fill the pots. These materials are usually available in garden centers. Wet the medium thoroughly and tamp gently to remove air pockets.

Place up to four cuttings in each pot, being sure that they are oriented in the same direction as they were on the plant they came from. Upside down cuttings will not root. It is important that at least one leaf “node” is below the rooting medium and one is above. The leaf nodes are the small protrusions along the stem that the leaves grow from. This is important because roots will form at any nodes in the rooting medium and new leaves will grow from the upper nodes.

Cut the top 4 inches off the plastic bottle and place the bottom section upside down over the cuttings inside each pot. Push the edge of the bottle down into the rooting medium to form an enclosure over the cuttings like a tiny greenhouse. This holds moisture in the air around the cuttings to prevent them from drying out while they are forming roots. Locate the pots in a warm sunny window, but away from extreme afternoon heat.

Mist the cuttings once a day and check for growth. They should start to push out new leaves within two to three weeks. If the top of the cutting turns brown and appears dead, it should be removed. This will likely occur with at least 20 to 30 percent of the cuttings, even under the best conditions.

Transplant cuttings to individual gallon size pots after 1 to 2 inches of new growth has occurred from the top of the stem. The new top growth indicates that sufficient roots have developed to sustain the plant; this usually occurs within one to three months. Allow the new plants to develop for a full growing season before planting in a permanent location in the garden.

How to Graft or Clone Blueberries. Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) are a popular home garden plant for the healthful berries they produce, as well as their ornamental characteristics. They can be grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 10, though not all varieties are suitable for all zones. …

How to Clone Blueberry Bushes

By: Bridget Kelly

21 September, 2017

Blueberry bushes (Vaccinium cyanococcus) are popular plants in the home garden because they are easy to grow, don’t get too large and provide healthy, tasty fruit in mid-summer. Blueberries are a low-calorie snack, and low in cholesterol and sodium, according to the Ohio State University Extension. Clone the blueberry bush in the early spring by taking cuttings from a healthy blueberry bush.

Locate an upright-growing branch toward the middle of the plant. Prune off a 6-inch length that includes at least three leaf nodes (swollen area on the stem where the leaf joins it). Make the cut at a 45-degree angle, just above a leaf node. Remove all leaves from the bottom third of the cutting.

  • Blueberry bushes (Vaccinium cyanococcus) are popular plants in the home garden because they are easy to grow, don’t get too large and provide healthy, tasty fruit in mid-summer.

Combine equal parts of moist peat moss and vermiculite. Place the mixture in an 8-inch deep pot and pour water over it until it drains from the bottom of the pot. Create a hole, using your finger or a pencil, for the cutting.

Dip the bottom 1 inch of the 45-degree angled end of the cutting into the rooting hormone.

Insert the cutting into the prepared hole, burying at least two leaf nodes and leaving at least one node above the soil. Pack the soil around the cutting and use your hands to tamp the soil.

Place the pot in a sunny area, on the heating mat, set to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Water the cutting weekly to maintain moist soil.

  • Combine equal parts of moist peat moss and vermiculite.
  • Pack the soil around the cutting and use your hands to tamp the soil.

Fertilize the cutting after new foliage and roots have formed, usually in June or July, and weekly thereafter. Apply a water-soluble 15-30-4 formulation, at the rate listed on the package.

Plant the cutting in its permanent location the following spring.

Bugs Out Of Blueberry Bushes

Pull all weeds in the area surrounding the blueberry bush by hand or, during dormancy, use a broadleaf herbicide containing one of the following active ingredients: glyphosate, dicamba or MCPP. Spray the weeds until dripping or runoff occurs, without allowing any herbicide to come in contact with the bush. Mix 1 part high-grade 70-second superior type dormant petroleum oil to 50 parts tepid water and pour the mixture in a pump sprayer to prevent a thrip infestation. Hang a sticky-strip trap from a branch on the blueberry bush before the berries begin to color to check for blueberry maggot flies. Infected and damaged limbs serve as sources of disease and breeding grounds for insects.

Blueberry bushes (Vaccinium cyanococcus) are popular plants in the home garden because they are easy to grow, don’t get too large and provide healthy, tasty fruit in mid-summer. Blueberries are a low-calorie snack, and low in cholesterol and sodium, according to the Ohio State University Extension. Clone the …