[NAFEX] Notes on Vaccinium in the NE
ginda at concentric.net
Sun Nov 3 16:47:02 EST 2002
Mostly this is a report on my experience with vaccinium ovatum (I
think) or evergreen huckleberries that I am trying to grow, but I just
can't leave out how gorgeous my Rubel blueberry is today in its fall
Two years ago I planted a number of small evergreen huckleberries here
in eastern Massachusetts. They are native to the Pacific northwest. I
wanted a shade tolerant small fruit, and these seemed to fit the bill.
They are marginally hardy here (zone 6, but protected) but I believe in
getting a jump on global warming. And I enjoy pretty much all
vaccinium fruits I've met, so I figured they were worth a try.
I bought one from Raintree, and was also given several by a generous
Nafexer. (Sam Franc) I planted them in the spring of 2001, in varying
conditions. All but 4 died shortly thereafter. The survivors included
three of the smallest gifts, (all single stem plants of less than 6
inches) and the potted purchased plant. A search of the internet
indicated that they don't transplant well bareroot, and I seem to have
confirmed this. The ones that got supplemental peat were the first to
die - perhaps the peat wasn't wet enough when I tranplanted, or maybe
they don't like peat. At any rate, the ones that survived were the
ones that I just dropped into the ground with minimal preparation.
Two more died in the fall, after an extended drought. (Including the
potted one.) Curiously, one of the survivors had almost no irrigation,
because I can't quite reach it with my hose. Because the weather had
been so harsh, I bought another two (from Forest Farm, tiny potted
plants) this spring (2002.)
Of the four I had this spring, three remain. The other might still be
alive, but has disappeared. (It is close to the mulch pile and may
have ended up under some brush.) Both of Sam's died down from the
combination of drought and winter, but sent up new shoots. One is at
least as large as when I put it in. This one is currently bright red.
The other one has a couple of 2 inch shoots (it is green). The
remaining Forest Farm seedling looks about the same as when I planted
it in the spring.
In short, it is too early to tell if these will prosper. It is
possible that once they are established, they will increase in size,
but they may also just fade away, Given the difficulty moving larger
plants, I don't expect they will ever be popular around here, or
indeed, anywhere beyond their natural range. Still, I am hoping for
the best. They are very handsome all year, and a woodland huckleberry
would be a great treat.
I'll try to give an update in a couple of years.
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