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Planting Highbush Cranberries  RSS feed

 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Location: Virginia (zone 7)
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I received Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum) seeds from a friend in Canada (thanks S.) that had spent the winter on the ground there and gathered/sent to me May 2016. I put them on damp paper towels in the fridge for a few weeks before planting them. I can't remember how many seeds I started with, but I have 2 struggling survivors. One is 7" tall and the other only 4" and slightly paler. They have spent the summer outside in partial shade. They are getting a little root-bound in their cups, so I want to transplant them into bigger containers and baby them indoors through the winter. My husband wants to go ahead and plant them outside now in their permanent locations (Zone 7, moist soil, partial shade, woodland edge). Which do you think is best?
 
Michelle Bisson
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You could wait till they are dormant and then transplant them into a larger pot (if you want to "baby" them for another year).  Of course you would untangle the roots at this time.  I would then dig a hole and put the whole pot in so that the plant roots are protected

But you could also simply plant them in the ground once they are dormant and let nature take care of them.  Then the following year water as needed

The advantage of planting them into the ground directly is that now they are in their environment and the roots can start to grow without hinderance.  Some people like to "baby" their plants for another year before planting them in the ground. The disadvantage of planting in the ground is that you might forget to make sure that it has sufficient water throughout the growing season.


 
Karen Donnachaidh
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My husband says, "They're cranberries, they like cold weather. They don't want to be in the dry heat of the house for the winter."
He's probably right and it seems thar you, Michelle, are also in favor. It's just that it has taken so long to get to this point and they're so little still. Nothing I have read tells you at what size they can be set in the ground. I'm sure there are many variables to determine that.
 
Mike Jay
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I'd vote for putting them in the ground asap.  I'd assume you have a few months before it gets really cold.  They can put some roots out there into good ground and prepare for a pleasant Virginia winter
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Michelle and Mike, thank you both. You've talked me into it, although I feel like a protective mother sending her babies out into the world.

I read this, "Highbush cranberries can be planted in full sun or partial shade. They are very winter hardy and tolerate frost well. They grow best in well-drained, moist soil" from GardenGuides.com. I think we may have to work on improving the drainage in the planting area. Moist we have, well drained...not so much.
 
Michelle Bisson
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You can create a mount to keep the roots away from the saturated soil.  Our land is quite saturated till July, so I plant everything on mounts. You can always enlarge your mounts as needed with dirt. 

I look at our natural landscape and the natural trees sprout on these mounts to keep above the saturated soil.  So I imitate this as I cannot afford to bring in truckloads of dirt to raise the ground everywhere.  If you need dirt for creating these mounts, then dig out pocket ponds to find more dirt. This is what I do.  Some will dig swales to create berms to plant on.  It depends on your land what is best suited.
 
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