Blueberry bush in winter

What Does Blueberry Mean On Snapchat Stories? This Game Hints At Your Relationship Status

Move over peach emoji, there are some new fruits in town. Fruit symbols have been popping up all over Snapchat, leaving quite a few users staring at their screens in confusion and asking, “What do blueberries mean in Snapchat stories?” Just like the oh so popular peach, each different fruit — be it a cherry, banana, or pineapple — has a secret meaning that’s way more than meets the eye. Just like the blueberry is chock full of antioxidants, social media is overflowing with codes, secret languages, and difficult to decipher acronyms. Most of these shorthands are created and circulated by teens, and the recent rash of tasty fruits posted in Snapchat stories is no exception. So if you’re wondering what the heck is going on with all these vitamin-rich emojis, you officially have permission to feel old.

According to the social media blog Wojdylo, the fruit trend began shortly after Christmas day as a way to share one’s relationship status over Snapchat. It seems amidst present opening and family time, a group of teenagers home on winter break had ample opportunity to create an entire code based around these healthful emojis. Originally started as a “girls only thing to confuse guys,” the fruit meanings were circulated in a private message that girls were encouraged to forward to their female friends on Snapchat.

The game quickly spread, no doubt helped along by the new group messaging feature Snapchat added in December. The sneaky trick worked — the boys were stumped (as were most people over the age of 16).

An entire Reddit thread was started in an attempt to decipher the meanings of the fruit. Reddit user bubblegumwar posted, “All the girls on their story have put fruits such as “blueberry” and “pineapple” but none of us boys can work out what they mean… Anyone else noticing this?” With a little detective work, the boys eventually managed to crack the code, and posted the fruit meanings for all to see. It seems if you see a blueberry on your crush’s Snapchat story, you’re in luck. According to the updated Reddit thread, posting a blueberry means that you are single. Blueberry and cherry were the first fruits to be used frequently, cherry meaning “in a relationship.” One of the original Snapchat messages about fruit was discovered, and confirmed these meanings:

Other fruits with more ambiguous statuses quickly populated people’s stories as well, turning Snapchat into a veritable fruit salad. Their meanings go as follows:

Blueberry = Single

Pineapple = Complicated

Raspberry = Don’t wanna commit

Cherry = Relationship

Lemon = Want to be single

Apple = Engaged

Raisin = I want to get married to my partner

While most fruits are fairly straightforward, there is some debate over the meaning of banana. According to the post on Snapchat, Banana means married, however, in an ironic twist, the Reddit thread pegged it as “can’t find the right person.” As this code was created by teenagers, I’m inclined to believe Reddit’s meaning. However, if you really want to know a person’s relationship status, you could always ask instead of relying on fruit symbology.

But then again, I’m old.

Image: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

It started just after Christmas Day in December 2016. Snapchat users started posting emojis of fruits on their stories. It then evolved into users saying they were a cherry or blueberry. After that came pineapple, lemon and strawberry. So, how did all of this start and what does it mean?

Here is what they mean

Blueberry = Single
Pineapple = Complicated
Raspberry = Doesn’t wanna commit
Cherry = Relationship
Lemon = Wants to be single
Banana = Can’t find the right person

Well, from our understanding, “it’s a girls only thing to confuse guys, cherry means taken and blueberry means single, it’s to purposely confuse guys.”

To read up on the different Snapchat “fruits” check out these links:

  • Snapchat Cherry vs Blueberry
  • Snapchat Lemonade
  • Snapchat Pineapple vs Strawberry

This is not something uncommon with social media as when users get a large amount of free time, they start to use “secret” words, emojis or photos. Have you noticed an increase in the number of mentions of fruit on Snapchat? If so, did you know what it meant?

everyone on snapchat is sending me the ‘ok ladies lets confuse the boys’ and it’s like u put cherry or freaking grape on your story +

— knj (@lockyourdoorsjc) December 29, 2016

Some have rumored that the message truly caught fire when it reached Raleigh middle school and high school students. We have not been able to confirm this rumor but can confirm that almost all Raleigh students were well aware of the fruit game by the time it hit a fever pitch on December 27th and 28th.

We found the private message that girls were sending to each other in which they wanted to confuse guys:

What do the Snapchat emojis mean?

In case you have noticed your Snapchat friends using the cherry emoji recently, among others, you might be wondering what’s it all about? Snapchat has many official meanings of emojis, but the Snapchat users community uses their unofficial emojis as well. Nowadays people are using fruit emojis to display their relationship status to others informally, and if you want to know what do all these emojis mean, we will help you out.

Fruit emojis

🔵 Blue (Blueberry) — The person is single.

🍍 Pineapple — It’s a complicated relationship. None of the two is sure about it.

🔴 Red (Raspberry) — The person doesn’t want to get committed.

🍒 Cherry — The person is in a happy relationship.

🍏 Apple — The person is engaged to someone.

🍌 Banana — The person is married.

🥑 Avocado — The person is the better half.

🍓 Strawberry — The person is unable to find the correct partner.

🍋 Lemon — The person wants to remain single.

🌰 Chestnut (Raisin) — The person wants to marry their partner.

Other common emojis

Here is a list of some commonly used Snapchat emojis with their meanings.

💛 Yellow Heart — You are top on their friend’s list, i.e., you send most of the snaps to him/her and vice versa.

❤️ Red Heart — You have been on top of their friend’s list for more than two weeks straight and vice versa.

💕 Pink Hearts — Well! This means that you have been on top of their friend’s list for more than two months straight and vice versa. This is something amazing!

👶 Baby — This person is your new Snapchat friend.

😎 Face With Sunglasses — You both send many snaps to the same person, i.e., you both share a common best friend.

😬 Grimacing Face — Your top best friend is their top best friend as well? OMG!

😏 Smirking Face — They send you a lot of snaps, but you don’t send them many snaps!

😊 Smiling Face — You send a lot of snaps to them, but they still aren’t your top best friend.

🔥 Fire — You send them snaps every day, and they do the same. This is called a snap streak.

💯 Hundred — You guys sent snaps to each other 100 days in a row! Amazing!

⌛ Hourglass — Your snap streak will break if you don’t send a snap soon.

🎂 Birthday Cake — It’s their birthday! Wish them using stickers and party filters.

So, what will be the fruit emoji which you would be using? Do let us know in the comments section.

A coder by profession and a photographer by passion. Himanshu is currently pursuing engineering in Computer Science and has in-depth knowledge of Software Development and Android App Development. He is fond of technology and loves to stay up to date with the modern tech.

Contact Himanshu via email: or call: +91-522-4333653

Blueberries are nutritional powerhouses packed with high concentrations of antioxidants that help guard against cancer and heart disease. Just one serving of blueberries serves up almost 25 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C.

Growing blueberries maximizes small spaces and keeps fresh, nutritious fruit nearby. Even if space is limited, you can still grow blueberries at home. Some blueberry shrubs are the perfect fit for containers on the porch, patio or balcony.

Ought to Pot: The Best Blueberries for Container Gardening

Photo courtesy of Bushel and Berry™

Bushel and Berry™ Pink Icing – With breathtaking spring and fall foliage and large, sweet berries mid-summer, this gem makes small spaces shine. Plus, these bushes are self-pollinating, so only one bush is needed to produce fruit.

Blueberry Type: Dwarf

Light: Full sun

Size: 3’ H x 4’ W

Zone: 5-10

Chill Hours: 500

Ripening Season: Mid-summer

Taste and Size: Large blueberries with sweet, robust flavor

Yield: Moderate yield


  • Works well in containers or in landscape
  • Likes acidic soil
  • Beautiful year-round foliage

Patriot Blueberry – The Patriot puts on a show each season – from striking white blooms in spring to warm, vivid foliage in fall. During summer, you’ll be busy munching on up to 20 pounds of blueberries!

Blueberry Type: Northern Highbush

Light: Full sun

Size: 4-8’ H x 3-5’ W

Zone: 3-7

Chill Hours: 800-1,000

Ripening Season: Early: Mid-End of July

Taste and Size: Large blueberries that taste classically sweet

Yield: High yield, 10-20 pounds of blueberries


  • Native
  • Cold-hearty
  • Works in the landscape or as a hedge
  • Adapts to various soil types, including heavy or wet soil

Photo courtesy of Bushel and Berry™

Bushel and Berry™ Peach Sorbet – Full of charm, these compact blueberry plants are four-season showstoppers with stunning leaves ranging from peach to pink to orange to emerald green. Spring’s white, bell-shaped flowers will give way to an abundant summer crop of healthy, sweet blueberries mid-summer.

Blueberry Type: Dwarf

Light: Full sun

Size: 1½’ H x 2’ W

Zone: 5-10

Chill Hours: 300

Ripening Season: Mid-summer

Taste and Size: Medium blueberries with a sweet, tropical essence

Yield: High yield


  • Works well in containers or in landscape
  • Likes acidic soil
  • Plants keep leaves through winter when the foliage transitions to a rich eggplant purple

Photo courtesy of Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

Sunshine Blue Blueberry – These berries are even more nutritious than other blueberries because they’re high in Vitamin P. Another fun attribute of the Sunshine Blue is their hot-pink flowers in spring and blazing red leaves in fall!

Blueberry Type: Southern Highbush

Light: Full sun

Size: 3-4’ H x 3-4’ W

Zone: 5-10

Chill Hours: 150

Ripening Season: Mid-season: End of May-End of June

Taste and Size: Medium blueberries that taste opulent and sweet

Yield: Moderate yield, 5-10 pounds of blueberries


  • Tolerant of higher soil pH
  • Love the California sunshine and heat
  • Semi-evergreen

Northsky Blueberry – Meet the most cold-hardy blueberry out there. The Northsky can withstand temperatures of -45° and can even bear snow on its branches. In spring, the Northsky produces lots of sweet, white blooms that look absolutely darling.

Blueberry Type: Half-high

Light: Full sun

Size: 2-4 H x 2-3 W

Zone: 3-7

Chill Hours: 800+

Ripening Season: Mid-season: Mid-End of July

Taste and Size: Small, firm blueberries that taste fresh, wild and free

Yield: Small yield, up to 2 pounds of blueberries


  • Extremely cold-hardy
  • Works in the landscape or as a hedge
  • Elegant burgundy fall foliage

Photo courtesy of Bushel and Berry™

Bushel and Berry™ Jelly Bean – This blueberry is prolific – producing a bumper crop of large, flavorful blueberries mid-summer with a super sweet flavor like homemade blueberry jelly. Brilliant green new foliage emerges in spring which gives way to darker greens with red hues throughout the summer and fall.

Blueberry Type: Dwarf

Light: Full sun

Size: 1’ H x 2’ W

Zone: 4-8

Chill Hours: 1,000+

Ripening Season: Mid-summer

Taste and Size: Medium to large blueberries with homemade jelly flavor

Yield: High yield, bumper crop


  • Works well in containers or in landscape
  • Likes acidic soil
  • Beautiful year-round foliage
  • Prune annually during winter dormancy

Looking for more options? To learn more about blueberries, the best tasting berries, how to plant, care for and grow, visit our Organic Blueberry Growing Guide.

Blueberry Winter Damage: Care Of Blueberries In Winter

Most perennials become dormant during the late fall and winter to protect themselves from the cold temperatures; blueberries are no exception. In most cases, blueberry plant growth slows as dormancy develops and cold hardiness of the plant increases. However, in some instances, dormancy has not been established and protecting blueberries over winter to mitigate any blueberry winter damage is of primary importance.

Care of Blueberries in Winter

Specific care of blueberries in winter is usually not necessary, as fully dormant blueberry plants are generally very cold hardy and rarely suffer any severe blueberry winter damage. There’s the caveat, however, the plants must be fully dormant and Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate and allow the gradual cold hardening necessary to prevent potential winter damage of blueberry plants.

Also, a sudden return to warm temps after a period of cold, especially in warmer climates, can cause injury to the berries if they begin to bloom

early followed by a sudden cold snap. Usually when this occurs, the plant will be in various stages of budding and only buds that are emergent suffer damage. Generally, winter damage of blueberry plants occurs when temps are below 25 degrees F. (-3 C.), but this is in correlation with the relative dew point as well as the amount of wind.

Dew point is the temperature at which water vapor condenses. A low dew point means the air is very dry, which makes the flowers several degrees colder than the air making them susceptible to injury.

Blueberry Bush Winter Care

When faced with the prospect of a cold snap, commercial growers turn to overhead irrigation systems, wind machines and even helicopters to assist in the protection of the blueberry crop. I would venture to suggest that all of this is impractical for the home grower. So what blueberry bush winter care can you do that will protect your plants during cold weather?

Protecting blueberries over winter by covering the plants and mulching around them can be beneficial. It is important when covering the plants to trap heat much like a small greenhouse. A frame of PVC covered and securely anchored can accomplish this purpose. Also, keep your plants moist. Moist soil absorbs and retains more heat.

Of course, ideally you will have planted late flowering cultivars if you reside in a region where the possibility of freezing exists. Some of these include:

  • Powderblue
  • Brightwell
  • Centurian
  • Tifblue

Be sure to select your planting site with care. Blueberries prefer full sun, but tolerate partial shade. Planting in a partially shaded tree canopy will protect the plants from drying out, thus aid in thwarting freeze injury.

Blueberry bushes need to have their roots protected to survive winter

Question: I’ve just ordered a ‘Top Hat’ miniature blueberry bush to grow in a container. How do I overwinter it? Is just putting it in my unheated, attached garage OK? Please don’t tell me that I have to leave it outdoors somewhere to shiver in the pot! If it’s in the garage, does it need to be watered occasionally? Any info would be very helpful to me.

Answer: Blueberries make excellent container plants, especially dwarf varieties like ‘Top Hat’ (available from Burpee, Wayside Gardens and other online suppliers). This variety is said to be self-fertile, meaning you don’t need another variety to cross-pollinate it (unlike most other blueberry cultivars). I’ve read, however, that having two or more of these blueberries growing in close proximity to each other will increase yields.

To overwinter your containerized ‘Top Hat,’ it’s important to know that although blueberries are extremely cold tolerant when their roots are snug in the ground, they’re a bit less hardy when grown in containers. This cultivar was bred at Michigan State University to withstand extreme winter temperatures, but it’s important to give it some extra care to protect its roots and see it safely through the winter.

Studies show that container-grown blueberry roots are nearly as cold as the outside temperatures, and though many varieties are hardy to minus-20 degrees and beyond, that’s when only the shoot system is exposed, not the roots. Your job is to either insulate the roots for the winter or move the entire plant to a protected location.

Here are a few different methods for keeping your blueberry cozy all winter long. Choose whichever is easiest for you.

1. Lug it, pot and all, into an unheated shed, root cellar or garage. Water the plant monthly and move it back outdoors when the weather breaks in early spring.

2. Sink it. Before freezing temperatures arrive, temporarily bury the entire pot somewhere in the garden (or even in your compost pile). The rim of the pot should be level with the soil’s surface. This provides adequate insulation for the roots. Pull the pot back out and hose it off in early spring.

3. Insulate the pot. If neither of the above methods will work for you because of space or labor restrictions, simply insulate the root system by either wrapping the exterior of the pot in three or four layers of heavy-duty bubble wrap or surrounding the pot with a cage of chicken wire and filling the space between the pot and the cage with shredded leaves, hay or straw. In either case, leave the shoot system sticking out of the top — you don’t want to encourage rot or breakage by covering it. Plants protected via this method can be left in place.

Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners” at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio with Doug Oster. She is the author of several gardening books, including “Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control” and “Good Bug, Bad Bug.” Her website is

Send your gardening or landscaping questions to [email protected] or The Good Earth, 503 Martindale St., Third Floor, D.L. Clark Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

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    Freezing temperatures may reduce backyard blueberry crops

    With the recent warm winter weather, one of Georgia’s favorite crops, blueberries, could be at risk to freeze damage if a cold snap returns.

    Universities of Georgia Cooperative Extension offices have received numerous calls from home gardeners whom have observed their blueberry bushes blooming in early February.

    The La Niña effect is predicted to continue into the spring according to the Southeast Climate Consortium and Georgia’s state climatologist. La Niña conditions usually bring a warmer and drier winter season (October through March) to most of Georgia. This means we are very likely to see a continuation of this mild winter weather.

    Just one cold night

    However, once blueberries begin to bloom, it only takes one cold night where temperatures dip a few degrees below freezing to kill tender flowers. If buds remain fully dormant, they should not have any damage. In many cases, however, the plant will have flower buds in various stages of bloom. Therefore, some buds are likely to be damaged more than others, but usually the entire crop will not be lost.

    Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot that home gardeners and small-scale producers can do to protect blueberries from freeze damage. Covering large blueberry plants generally is not very practical, especially if you have several plants. Covering plants only helps if you can trap some of the natural heat that radiates out from the soil.

    A frame constructed of PVC or similar material can keep the covering from breaking plant stems and buds, but the cover must be anchored securely to the ground in order to trap in heat like a greenhouse. This may only retain enough heat to raise the temperature a few degrees and may not be enough to save the flowers from freeze damage. If a hard freeze is predicted, it may be better to accept the fact that you are fighting a losing battle.

    Water isn’t just for summer

    It is also important to consider that blueberry plants continue to have water requirements during the winter months. Check the water needs of plants prior to a predicted cold snap and water if necessary. Moist soil absorbs more heat, helping to maintain an elevated temperature around the plants. Mulching the base of plants also helps to retain soil moisture.

    The location of blueberry plants can also make a difference. Tree canopies help reduce heat loss from plants and soil. Plants that are grown in partially shaded areas are also less susceptible to winter desiccation, or drying out, than those grown in full sun. Full sun is preferred for maximum blueberry production as yields are reduced as shade increases, but the plants can tolerate up to 50 percent shade.

    Plant late-flowering cultivars

    The freeze risk to a blueberry crop can be reduced greatly by planting cultivars that flower later. For example, late-flowering rabbiteye cultivars, like Powderblue, Brightwell, Centurian and Tifblue, seldom suffer significant crop damage from freezing temperatures. Late-flowering cultivars, however, tend to ripen later than those that flower early. Unless you are trying to get a crop to market early, you might be better off selecting a late bloomer.

    Selecting recommended varieties of blueberries and other fruit trees for North Georgia is the single most important thing that home gardeners can do to avoid future problems with freeze damage. Do your homework before buying plants on impulse.

    The best resources for determining which varieties are best adapted to your area are factsheets available from your local UGA Extension office. The variety recommendations are based on trials at UGA research stations in Georgia. These factsheets are also available for free online at

    Easy Blueberry Bush Bird Protection

    Many years ago I tried draping deer netting over my blueberry bushes. It was a complete failure. I didn’t secure the netting at ground level so the birds got up under the net, it was a pain to crawl under there to pick, and the birds could sit on the outside and pick berries through the net.

    In the years that passed after I gave up on the net, my default strategy has been to get out there early in the morning and try to pick as many berries as I could before the birds got to them. I’d pick them a little underripe, too, greedily snatching them up before someone else could greedily snatch them up. Contrary to much popular advice, blueberries do sweeten up a bit after picking. Still, if I had my druthers, I’d rather pick completely ripe berries.

    This strategy was partially effective, especially in years where the berries were abundant. Meaning, I felt I was getting enough to pacify myself although the birds were getting A LOT of berries, too. Still, it’s aggravating to watch birds fly off with ripe berries. Even more aggravating is seeing partially-eaten berries on the ground, berries with beak-marks, and perhaps most goading of all, watching birds snatch berries right in front of me WHILE I was picking. Cheeky!

    I read up on various caging methods and decided on one of my own. It’s extremely basic, easy to remove and store in the off-season, and relatively inexpensive. It uses PVC pipes so the netting slides easily on them (unlike wood which snags the netting like a beast), a little bit of rebar, and of course netting.

    This method works easiest if your blueberry bushes are in a row, although it can be done with individual or widely-spaced plants, just use a couple of pipe hoops and separate sheets of netting for each blueberry bush.

    Judge the length of pipe you need based on the height of your plants. Measure your blueberry plants, high and wide, and take these measurements to the store. Get a partner at the store to hold one end of the pipe while you gently bend it into a hoop and measure to see if it will clear your plants with several inches to spare; leave some growing room all around.

    The pipes I bought were “bell-end” which means one end is shaped to fit over another length of pipe. As it happened, I needed to cut off about a foot of my 12′ pipe. I cut off the bell-end, flipped it bell-end up, pounded it into the ground (using a piece of wood to cushion the hammer blows), and used it to mount one end of the hoop.

    I bent the other side around and fit it over a 1′ piece of re-bar pounded into the ground on the opposite side of the blueberry.

    I spaced more hoops about 3 feet apart over the plants, locating the end hoops a bit outside the edge of the canopy to give me some picking room under the netting.

    For the netting, I used standard deer-proof netting, cut to size and pieced together with zip ties.

    It’s awkward to do this by yourself; get a helper or two. It you plan on snipping your ties apart when you fold and store after harvest is over, leave a little space in the tie to get your scissor in (thanks for the tip, Sallie).

    Mine is small enough that I plan to leave it intact to store it, but if you’re netting a larger area, you may want to do this.

    Leave enough extra netting all around so you can weight it down at ground level to keep birds from sneaking underneath.

    So far the birds are unable to get in and we’ve had the first summer without having to rush out and beat the birds to the berries. Yes!

    Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate.

    Protecting Blueberries and Other Potted Plants over Winter

    Q. I planted three blueberry bushes in large containers in my back yard. I know it’s still the height of summer, but I want to have a plan in place to keep them alive over the winter. The way I see it, I can do one of three things:

    &nbsp&nbsp 1) Move the containers to my uninsulated, South-facing, enclosed back porch (which gets good sun, but still gets very cold at night).

    &nbsp&nbsp 2) Build a small “greenhouse” for them out of corrugated plastic. Or

    &nbsp&nbsp 3) Mulch the tops of the containers and not give them another thought until spring.

    Eek! Do I have a chance? I’ve never tried to keep container plants through the deep freeze!

    — Paul in Chicago

    A. Well, I think that Paul’s chances are very good, because he’s thinking about it now instead of waiting until the poor plants have frozen solid in January. Growing small fruits in containers has become very popular, but many people aren’t thinking about how to protect the plants over the winter in cold climes.

    “Can’t they just come inside, like houseplants?”

    Many can. Add some artificial light and this works great with plants like begonias, dahlias, rosemary and peppers, which only need protection from freezing cold. (And rosemary only needs it in climates that either are or feel like they’re North of the Carolinas in the winter.) But blueberries, like many Northern fruits, also have what’s called a ‘chilling requirement’—a certain number of hours over winter that they must be exposed to temps that drop down to at least 40 degrees F.

    Not below freezing; that’s a common misconception—and why they call it “chilling hours” instead of ‘freezing hours”. Now it will drop below freezing during the winter in many places (like my PA garden), but all you need are X number of hours (each variety has a different requirement) below 40 degrees (and in some ‘low chill fruit’ cases a mere 45 degrees F.) to insure good fruit production on plants like apples, peaches, raspberries and blueberries.

    Now don’t get me wrong: blueberries are basically cold hardy. The lowbush varieties that grow wild in the North are hardy down to USDA growing Zone 3, where winter temps can drop down to below 30 below. And even the taller highbush types are hardy to zone 4, where winters are still very severe. BUT as we have explained in the past, these zonal declarations are for plants with their roots in the ground, not up in the air in a container. And none of our Chicago listener’s ideas seem to change that fact. In all three cases, the roots of his plants would still be ‘out in the open’. Let’s review:

    Idea number one was a South facing shed with good sun but no heat. That’s a double no-no; the bright winter sun shining into a closed area might bring the plants out of dormancy on a really warm day; and then they’d be even more vulnerable to freezing to death on the next really cold night. This rules out the plastic greenhouse too; same thing would happen there.

    The third idea was to “mulch” the plants heavily and hope for the best. This idea might work from, say Philadelphia South—but Chicago can get really cold over the winter, and their winds are legendary. That’s important; strong winds probably cause more plant loss in the winter than direct cold because they’re not only wicking the moisture out of plants, they’re wicking that moisture out of plants that are dormant and can’t replace it. And since “mulch” technically means covering the surface of the soil, these plants are still sitting out in that windy openness.

    But the basic concept here has merit. If he wants to try this route, I would suggest moving the containers as close to the house as possible (the classic ‘sheltered area’), covering them completely with shredded leaves and surrounding them with burlap wrapped against some fencing that keeps it a few inches away from the plants.

    …Not just draped over top of the shredded leaves and plants. Wrapping plants IN burlap is a common rookie mistake. Just think about it: Burlap that’s touching plants will get wet, freeze and crush them pretty early into a real winter. Burlap is best used as a true windbreak; positioned close to, but not touching the plants.

    Now ideally (and especially if we’re talking about big trees, like potted apples or figs), I’d suggest turning the containers on their sides, rolling them up against a non-South facing side of the house, completely burying them in well-shredded leaves and then digging them out and standing them back up early in the Spring. (Non-South-facing for the same reason as the sunny unheated room; the South facing side of a building could warm up enough to bring the plants out of dormancy during a really sunny winter week.)

    Now: Our listener says that his containers are ‘large’; what if he can’t move them to a sheltered area? Well, he also says that one of his options is to move them onto a porch; so how big could they be?

    Anyway ‘big is good’ in this instance. In general, the bigger the container, the better the chance of winter survival for the plants living in them. So if his blueberries are growing in something huge, like half whiskey barrels, he might be able to cage them, fill the cages with shredded leaves, wrap burlap around the cages and leave them out in the yard. Although turning them sideways, rolling them up against the side of the house and burying them is a safer bet. (At least for the plants; the pots need to be made of something that won’t crack apart when it freezes.)

    But the gold standard, of course, will always be to move the plants into the ground for the winter. If you have potted plants that might not survive the winter aboveground, but that are rated safely for your USDA Zone, planting them—even temporarily—virtually insures success.

    After the plants have gone completely dormant, dig good sized holes in your yard (or next door or at a friend’s house, or…you get the idea) and drop the plants into the holes at the same soil line level as they were in the pots. Pick an area that drains well; not a low spot where water pools up. Heck, you can even leave the plants in their pots if the pots are made of something that won’t break.

    Then fill in the holes in with the same soil you removed, water the plants well once, and then just leave them be until Spring, when you can ‘lift’ them and put them back into their pots. (Or if they’re still in their pots, back in place. This plan should work perfectly for blueberries; they’re tough plants that transplant very well.

    Most rabbiteye blueberry varieties require 400 chill hours to 600 chill hours (hours below 45 F) to break dormancy. Until the cold requirement is achieved, an extended period of warm weather usually will not cause floral budbreak. Once the chilling hour requirement has been satisfied, extended periods of warm temperatures will initiate flower bud growth. Susceptibility to cold damage in rabbiteye blueberry is directly related to the stage of floral development. As flower development progresses, susceptibility to damage becomes greater. Swollen, unopened flower buds can withstand temperatures as low as 21 F. Buds in which bud scales have abscised and individual flowers are distinguishable are killed at 25 F. Flowers distinctly separated with corollas unexpanded and closed are killed at 28 F. Fully opened flowers are damaged at 29 F and fruit are severely damaged at 30 F.

    Certain varieties seem to be more cold tolerant than others due to the extent of floral development achieved when a killing freeze occurs. Earlier blooming varieties are more prone to freeze injury because they will have the greatest number of advanced blooms.

    The common method of determining if buds have been damaged by frost is to cut through the bud several hours after a freeze and look for browning that indicates injured tissue. Sometimes the freeze injury is not severe enough to kill the fruit or flower completely but may affect some individual part, such as the pistil, stamen or seeds, which may result in a reduction in fruit set or size. Blueberry fruit can develop and mature after a portion of the ovaries are damaged; however, because fruit size is highly correlated with seed number, fruits from seed-damaged flowers are usually smaller and often misshapen.

    Freeze damage is also the cause of outward scarring on the fruit, which results in reduced quality. The area of the fruit exposed to cold temperatures will desiccate, resulting in a brown necrotic ring around the calyx. Because this tissue is dead or dry, it is more brittle than surrounding tissue and may be the site of splitting during a wet harvest. At best, it will cause a discolored ring and possibly some disfigurement of the fruit. At worst, freeze injury can promote secondary fungal infections that can spread to and destroy healthy blooms.

    Methods of Protecting Blueberry Crops from Frost and Freeze

    Freeze protection of blueberry fields is not an exact science. It is difficult to make recommendations about freeze protection because every freeze event is different. Factors that affect the efficacy of freeze protection include:

    • Weather conditions
    • Wind
    • Temperature before the freeze
    • Length of freeze period
    • Growth stage of the plant

    Floating row covers are especially useful for small acreages of low-growing crops or when water for overhead irrigation is not available. The amount of frost protection obtained varies with the weight and fiber arrangement of the row cover. Usually the amount of protection increases with the weight, though differences in texture make this correlation less than perfect. Row covers weighing 0.6 ounces per square yard typically can give 2 or 3 degrees protection during a radiational freeze, while nursery foam covers or a double layer of row covers can give more than10 degrees of protection. Weather conditions before the frost affect the amount of protection obtained from row covers because little or no heat may accumulate under the row cover on cloudy windy days. When row covers are used for frost protection, they should be pulled over the crop during midafternoon to allow heating to take place. Row covers also can be used in conjunction with sprinkler irrigation on top of the row cover. Row covers used in this way typically cut the amount of overhead irrigation needed for frost protection by about 50 percen,t on average.

    Wind machines have been used successfully to protect tender blueberry blooms. Most devastating spring freezes are radiational freezes, and wind machines are effective in this type of freeze. In a radiational freeze, there is no wind and the heat at ground level is lost to the atmosphere. A wind machine causes air turbulence that disrupts the inversion layer by intermixing warm and cold air. Often an inversion layer of warm air is 50 feet to 200 feet above the surface and, if one is readily available, a wind machine will pull down this warm layer and mix it with the air in the field. Growers sometimes use helicopters to gain the same effect. A helicopter will find the inversion layer, push down the warm air and mix it with colder surface air. The air currents mix the air and prevent the escape of the warm air back into the atmosphere.

    Overhead water sprinkling is another effective method of frost protection. However, it is somewhat expensive to install and requires a large volume of water. Water volume is critical! It is necessary to apply 1/2 inch to 1 inch of water per hour and at least one sprinkler rotation per minute. Water must be applied constantly because ice is a poor insulator. Protection comes from the constant application of liquid water, which is above 32 degrees F, and the release of heat when water turns to ice. This keeps the plant tissue at or above 31.5 degrees F. The water must be applied constantly until the air temperature rises above 32 degrees F. If the water is turned off too soon, the entire crop may be lost.


    Braswell, John. Establishment and Maintenance of Blueberries. 2009. Retrieved 01 June 2010.

    Mar 28, 2017Blueberry management tips to protect from freeze damage

    Severe freeze events such as occurred in Georgia March 15-16, present multiple challenges to growers. The magnitude of the damage varies across locations, but overall in the state the damage is substantial. This is in fact the most severe crop damage I have seen in my 27 years working with blueberries in Georgia.

    The deep freeze, coupled with early crop advancement due to an unusually warm January and February, has caused in excess of a 50 percent loss, perhaps as much as 60 to 70 percent loss, of what stood to be one of our best crops ever; likely, approaching a Farm Gate value of $400 million if no freeze had occurred. The final tally of the damage is difficult to fully assess at this time, but will unfold in the next few weeks. However, growers are facing some difficult decisions at this time trying to go forward.

    From observations of my own, and from reports of others, it appears the southern highbush crop was mostly spared for those growers that had adequate overhead sprinkler freeze protection. However, estimates are that only 50 percent ± 10 percent of the state’s southern highbush crop had adequate freeze protection. Growers with no overhead water, or with insufficient water capacity to protect from such a deep freeze, lost 90 to 100 percent of their southern highbush crop. Estimates are that highbush account for 50 percent ± 10 percent of our total blueberry acreage in the state, but likely accounts for 60 percent or more of our total crop value.

    The state’s rabbiteye blueberry crop is largely not protected from freezes since it is a later season type. As a result, the 2017 freeze event caused heavy crop losses for rabbiteye growers. Again, from my own observations and reports from others, rabbiteye damage ranges from losses around 50 to 60 percent to nearly total crop loss (greater than 90 percent). There are some instances where damage in the 50 to 60 percent range might be able to salvage some crop using some of our recommendations for gibberellic acid applications from work we did years ago (NeSmith et al., 1995; NeSmith and Krewer, 1997; NeSmith et al., 1999; NeSmith and Krewer, 1999). But, at best that is likely to produce an inferior crop of fruit, resulting in a 30 to 50 percent crop that will ripen later and produce smaller berries. In more instances that not, I think rabbiteye damage will exceed 70 to 75 percent, and it is difficult to make a crop with that level of damage. I’m expecting over all, at best, we will have only 25 to 35 percent of a rabbiteye crop.

    So, what do we do from here? Here are some recommendations from the blueberry team and from consultations with other regional experts.

    • For southern highbush with adequate water for freeze protection, growers should proceed as normal. Since this is one of our earliest ripening crops ever, we can expect fruit harvest to begin in the next 10 to 14 days.
    • For highbush without adequate frost protection damage is near. Bushes have nearly 100 percent damaged fruit, and this can quickly become problematic for infection from diseases such as botrytis, which can hurt the crop long term. Growers are urged to spray recommended fungicides to help prevent infection immediately. These plants should also be heavily pruned to remove dead tissue and to promote new, healthy growth for next year. Growers should consider pruning highbush plants back to 3 to 4 ft in height, and the sooner the better. They need to take advantage of the “fruitless plants” growing time in April, May, and June to get added growth this season. Without these measure not only will growers lose this year’s crop, but they could likely see depressed yields next year as well.
    • For rabbiteye fields that sustained injury in the 50 to 60 percent range, growers need to consider managing the remaining crop for disease pressure and they need to consider using gibberellic acid as a tool to help the wounded Realizing of course, that the freeze is in the marginal range for expected overwhelming success with the gibberellic acid.
    • For rabbiteye fields that sustained injury of 70 percent or greater, growers need to manage disease as discussed above, and they need to consider heavily pruning back plants to insure plant health and improved yields next Rabbiteyes should be pruned back to a height of 4 to 5 ft. Again, time is of essence, and pruning should begin in the next 2 or 4 weeks at the latest to take advantage of the longer growing season of the “fruitless plants.”

    — D. Scott NeSmith, University of Georgia

    Source: UGA Blueberry Blog

    Tags: weather

    Northwest Berry & Grape Information Network
    Oregon State University | University of Idaho | Washington State University | USDA-ARS

    Blueberry cold hardiness varies tremendously among types and cultivars. Highbush, half-high, and lowbush blueberries are generally hardy to at least -20 F, although some cultivars are more tender. During recent years, blueberry breeding efforts in the northern United States have produced commercial cultivars which are hardy to between -30 and -40 F if snowfall is sufficient.

    Winter injury is not usually a problem in western Oregon and Washington. However, if a severe cold spell occurs early, before plants are fully dormant, winter injury may occur. In Idaho, growers should also be concerned with winter minimum temperatures when selecting sites. Cultivars differ in sus-ceptibility to cold injury. Spring frost injury may also be a problem in blueberry production.

    Cold injury

    Not all of the tissues of a blueberry plant attain the same degree of cold hardiness. In fully dormant plants, the wood is normally somewhat hardier than the buds, and the roots do not develop any great degree of cold hardiness. Mulching with bark or sawdust can help moderate root zone temperatures and minimize root freezing injuries.

    The basal tissue that connects the flower bud to the shoot is the part of the bud that is most easily injured during the dormant period. Following a freeze, florets in a bud may show no injury even though the basal tissue is injured. The amount of growth of a new shoot or flower cluster depends on the extent of injury at the base of the bud. If injury restricts the flow of nutrients and water, growth of the shoot or flower cluster is slow or stunted, or completely inhibited.

    Injury to the basal tissue can be determined by slicing longitudinally through a bud from the tip through the bud base with a sharp razor blade. Freeze-injured tissues will have a brown, water-soaked appearance, while healthy tissues will be green or white. For best results, wrap tissues to be tested in a plastic bag and hold at room temperature for several days before slicing and examining for browning.

    Winter injury to the vascular cambium (thin layer of tissue beneath the bark) of the cane or roots interferes with the movement of water and nutrients to the buds and, later, shoots. Depending on which tissues have been injured and the degree of injury, symptoms of “delayed winter injury” may not appear until late spring or early summer. Shoots may bloom, leaf out, and even begin setting fruit before suddenly collapsing and dying over a 1- or 2-day period.

    Sudden collapse is usually related to the onset of hot weather, which increases the demand for water by the developing shoots and fruit. Injured vascular tissues are unable to supply the needed water and nutrients and the shoot collapses. Often, injury to vascular tissue can be determined by scraping away the bark a healthy vascular cambium is bright green, whereas one injured by cold is brown.

    Site selection in cold regions

    Selecting cultivars which are adapted to a growing site is the most important step in preventing freezing injury. One method of cultivar selection involves using the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, which separates growing regions into hardiness zones, based upon average minimum temperatures.

    Because blueberries are long-lived plants, average minimum temperatures are less of a concern than the probability of a killing freeze. For example, although a particular region may be classified as USDA zone 5a (average minimum temperature -15 to -20 F), occasionally it may experience temperatures of -30 F or less. In such a region, blueberries hardy only to zone 5 would be susceptible to freezing injuries during those occasional severely cold winters.

    The best method of selecting blueberry cultivars is to determine how often severely cold temperatures are likely to occur in your area and base your selection upon the life expectancy of the blueberry planting and the probability of a killing freeze. If you do use the hardiness zone concept, select cultivars that are classified at least one zone hardier than the planting site.


    The degree to which a blueberry bush hardens off in the fall depends upon many factors, including length of the growing season, alternating day/night temperatures, nutrition, pruning, and fluctuating temperatures during the dormant season.

    Actively growing tissues are not cold hardy and are injured by temperatures around 28 F. As the daylength shortens and temperatures decrease in fall, blueberry canes cease active growth and begin a very complex process known as acclimation. Optimum cold hardiness develops when day/night temperatures decrease steadily from mid-summer to late fall, followed by several mild frosts. The degree of cold hardiness varies, according to temperatures, throughout the dormant season. A minimum of 850 to 1,000 chilling hours is needed for shoot growth and flowering to occur the following spring.

    Maximum cold hardiness occurs after fully acclimated plants have been exposed continuously to several days of non-lethal, sub-freezing temperatures. Hardiness is lost during periods when temperatures rise above freezing. Most freezing injury occurs when temperatures fluctuate above and below freezing, and is typically associated with sub-freezing temperatures which follow mid-winter thaws. Blueberries in many areas of Oregon and Washington seldom attain maximum cold hardiness due to mild and fluctuating fall and winter temperatures in the coastal areas.

    Cultural practices that promote late fall growth can interfere with acclimation and inhibit cold hardiness development. For example, excessive or late fertilization with nitrogen forces late season growth that is susceptible to early fall frosts.

    Pruning too early in the fall, before plant dormancy, interferes with cold acclimation by stimulating late, tender growth. Even if no visible growth develops, early pruning can cause cane tissues to de-acclimate. Delay pruning until canes are fully dormant. Pruning during late winter and early spring also allows for identification and removal of injured wood and buds.

    Although research indicates that maximum cold hardiness is associated with drought stress in some woody species, blueberry plants should not be allowed to become drought stressed, either during the growing season or after the plants are dormant. In regions with low annual rainfall, irrigate deeply before the ground freezes to provide enough moisture to supply the blueberries during the winter.

    Insect damage, disease, other stresses which damage foliage, and overcropping limit the production of food reserves and interfere with acclimation.

    Frost injury

    When the flower buds begin swelling in early spring, the florets are the most easily injured part of the bud. Once a flower bud opens, it has lost all of its cold hardiness and will be injured at about 28 F. The tip buds on canes and the tip florets within buds are the first to develop and are the most susceptible to early frost.

    To reduce spring frost injury, avoid planting in frost pockets and ensure good drainage of cold air by removing cold air dams formed by trees and brush around blueberry fields. In regions where spring frosts are common, select planting sites on gently sloping hillsides.

    Overhead sprinkler systems are effective in reducing spring frost injury if enough water is available. Applying about 0.10 to 0.15 inch of water per hour can protect open blossoms down to a temperature of 25 F. Water must be applied continuously until the air temperature warms above 32 F (wait for ice to melt), or frost injury may occur.

    This fact sheet is adapted from Oregon State University Extension Publication PNW215, Highbush Blueberry Production. The authors of Highbush Blueberry Production are – Oregon State University: Bernadine Strik, Glenn Fisher, John Hart, Russ Ingham, Diane Kaufman, Ross Penhallegon, Jay Pscheidt and Ray William; Washington State University: Charles Brun, M. Ahmedullah, Art Antonelli, Leonard Askham, Peter Bristow, Dyvon Havens, Bill Scheer, and Carl Shanks; University of Idaho: Dan Barney. PNW215, Highbush Blueberry Production can be purchased from the Department of Extension & Experiment Station Communications, Oregon State University. How to Order

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