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use for old blueberry bushes that no longer fruit?

 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, 6b, suburban, nearish coast, 50x50, full sun, 40" year-round even distribution
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we've tried pruning them down, adding pine needles, and cutting a few branches to open up more sun (still probably too shady), but they haven't made any flowers the past three or four years.  Because we have new blueberry bushes for free I'm going to take out the old ones and offer them to a new home.  I know they can be used for cuttings, though I don't know if the new plants would be healthy or fruitless--will they be fruitbearing?

What other uses are there for these?

Will they make good mulch for the new ones?

What about my mom's idea (she's not a permaculturist in any form but sometimes has good ideas about things in general) of leaving the old roots in the ground to rot?

This happens imminently, please advise.  Thanks!
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Tacked to one farmer who said: no.

The hugelwood might be good for acid loving plants I guess.

And as an ornamental for landscaping it is lovely especially in fall and elegant all year.
 
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I guess it's too late for yours, but we've gotten non-fruiting trees, canes and shrubs to blossom by brewing a thick tea made of kelp and drenching the soil around the plants with it.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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J. Adams wrote:I guess it's too late for yours, but we've gotten non-fruiting trees, canes and shrubs to blossom by brewing a thick tea made of kelp and drenching the soil around the plants with it.



Thanks! We can try that fpr some remaining bushes.  Is kelp more acidic or alkaline?
 
J. Adams
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Kelp is alkaline so that does pose an issue with the blueberries. Maybe add apple cider vinegar to the kelp mixture? Here's one link about fertilizing plants with apple cider vinegar. http://homeguides.sfgate.com/fertilize-plants-apple-cider-vinegar-57123.html

But in Maine, seaweed is gathered and used as mulch along with pine needles for the blueberries, and the blueberries flourish like crazy. Other people successfully use kelp with blueberries, also. Not knowing how acidic your soil already is, you'd probably have to experiment with applying a diluted amount of kelp tea, and compare that to one with vinegar added. You could also just mulch with a little kelp meal along with your pine needles and see what that does. But kelp and other seaweeds have beneficial components in them that can't be found elsewhere.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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update--they're fruiting again.  Go figure.  A tree came down that had been shading some of them (but not all), and I did add some mulch to them, but I really can't explain it, they just seem to change their minds).
 
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Good to hear Joshua.

I had a feeling that shade was the culprit.  Once established, blueberries are really resilient plants.

Enjoy those blueberries!

Eric
 
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