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Author Topic: Blueberries with male flowers only?  (Read 1610 times)

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Blueberries with male flowers only?
« on: May 02, 2020, 09:24:23 am »
Please bear with an inexpert gardener!

We bought some blueberry bushes a few years ago, and when we pruned them, we stuck some of the prunings in water to see what would happen, and they grew! So now we have half a dozen large blueberrry bushes.

The only problem is that none of them ever fruit - they just produce catkins.

A quick google search confirms that blueberries don't produce catkins. Mind you, a quick google search also confirms that bumblebees can't fly.
Anyway, can somebody please tell me what We've done wrong?  ???  Some photos of the bushes and catkins are attached.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
Re: Blueberries with male flowers only?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2020, 10:16:02 am »
Would I be write in thinking that you need more than one variety to crosspolinate? As you took cuttings from only one Bush they are all the same variety...
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, geese rabbits and a little boy on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Blueberries with male flowers only?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2020, 10:25:51 am »
Hmmmm, that's possible I guess. But we do have other blueberry bushes nearby that do fruit, and don't produce catkins?
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
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Re: Blueberries with male flowers only?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2020, 10:55:15 am »
Maybe you were sold a pup  :roflanim: :roflanim:
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Blueberries with male flowers only?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2020, 12:11:05 pm »
Do the originals fruit?  If not, cut your losses and start again with fresh stock.


I went out to take a peek at my blueberries and they don't have anything that looks all that much like your 'catkins'.  What they do have is clusters of flowers which get pollinated by bees (plants which have catkins are wind pollinated).  Your things whatever they are look as if they could be the stalks of the flowers which should be there. 


From a quick google:


Why are my blueberry flowers falling off?  You can also get blossom drop without fruit forming if the bushes are stressed by a lack of water. It is normal for the blossom to drop after the fruit forms. But if the fruit are not forming, you may have stressed plants.12 Jun 2012



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Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Blueberries with male flowers only?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2020, 02:16:13 pm »
Blueberries def don't have catkins, the catkins look more like willow, but not sure of the leaves.
And looks like lichen, so too slow growing for willow?

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Blueberries with male flowers only?
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2020, 02:22:20 pm »
You aren't going t to like this Womble, but look up 'goat willow male catkin'.
From the web, I think this said female
« Last Edit: May 02, 2020, 02:26:32 pm by Penninehillbilly »

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. Some say it's in England !
Re: Blueberries with male flowers only?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2020, 08:01:57 pm »
Others have pretty much summed the situation up:  your planted cuttings were from a willow!  Since some willows seeds can take quite easily and then grow quite rapidly, I can only guess @Womble that they grew up along-side your blueberries in their pots or in the blueberry bed and you took cuttings from the wrong plant ! 
« Last Edit: May 02, 2020, 08:05:33 pm by arobwk »

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Blueberries with male flowers only?
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2020, 06:48:17 pm »
Oh wow, this is hilarious!!

I'll probably never know, but here's what I think happened:

1) We bought half a dozen blueberry bushes
2) I planted them out in big tubs in the polytunnel
3) The next year, I put the prunings in water, and some of them grew roots, so I planted them out.
4) One of the blueberry bushes got far too big for its tub, so we took it outside, broke the tub off, and planted it out.
5) We now have half a dozen goat willow bushes growing in buckets, plus a 14ft tall goat willow growing in our blueberry patch!  :roflanim:


Our friend who actually took the cuttings is adamant that they were all from bushes that had successfully fruited that year, but the evidence really does suggest otherwise, don't you think?

I supect now that this was natural selection - the ones which grew roots were the willow cuttings, so they ended up being the ones which got planted out, whilst the blueberries all died!

So help me out again then - how big do goat willows get, and will I regret planting these out as part of a hedge?

Also, how do I get rid of a 14ft tall goat willow tree that is taking over our blueberry patch outside? :o
« Last Edit: May 03, 2020, 06:49:57 pm by Womble »
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. Some say it's in England !
Re: Blueberries with male flowers only?
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2020, 08:28:26 pm »
Re Q1 -  As you will be aware @Womble, all willows grow quickly and any willow "hedge" will need annual maintenance to keep in check.
Re Q2 -  I seem to think some chemical remedy might be required - i.e. cut down the willow and apply herbicide immediately to freshly cut stump. 

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Blueberries with male flowers only?
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2020, 09:35:13 pm »
OK, so they like wet ground - got plenty of that!  And sheep like to eat them - got plenty of them too!


Is there any reason not to just plant them out into our boggiest bit of ground, and see what happens?
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Blueberries with male flowers only?
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2020, 12:57:15 am »
OK, so they like wet ground - got plenty of that!  And sheep like to eat them - got plenty of them too!


Is there any reason not to just plant them out into our boggiest bit of ground, and see what happens?

Goat willows do grow particularly tall and strong.  Planting them in a boggy bit is perfect, and they will gradually dry out the ground like magic.  For edible branches for your sheep, each year coppice ie cut to about 6" above ground, a portion of the trees, doing different ones each year and you can then crop young nutritious branches.
If you just leave them to be grazed by the sheep whilst growing, the sheep will kill them.  One year here, one blind ewe killed off all my newly coppiced willows in a season, and I had many.  You'll need to fence them.  For the willows in the hedge, pollard them to about half the height of the hedge and they will quickly regrow but not take over.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Blueberries with male flowers only?
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2020, 08:11:46 am »
Just get some goats... mine keep ours in check very well!

To get rid of the the one in your blueberry patch - I think some herbicide is needed, they will grow back very successfully from being cut down.

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Blueberries with male flowers only?
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2020, 11:34:27 am »
You could make a 'fedge', train the new growth horizontal, then maybe in a few years? any upright growth can be just trimmed off and thrown to the sheep.
I think it was forestry commission or something similar who did a study, willow is deep rooting and brings minerals up, which they found was really good for sheep (but goatkeepers have known that for generations :D )
I would def plant some in the  damp areas, also good spring feed and willow has an early form of aspirin, brilliant for stock  who aren't well.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Blueberries with male flowers only?
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2020, 11:36:19 am »
David you will be forever cutting them back!!!!  Get rid of them if you can.  Certainly destroy the ones in tubs.  Willow will grow if you plant the twigs on their sides or even upside down - believe me I know - I did it as an experiment!

At my last home i planted six - from one foot twigs given to me by Karen - and when I moved out there were 14, and I'd had to cut them back every year from their first year.  I gave some cuttings to folk who wanted a willow hedge but added a health warning with them.

Having said all that they make excellent wood fro wood burners and donlt need to be left as long as some other woods.  So if you have a spare bit of ground which you can use then go ahead, but take heed of the warning
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

 

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