Blueberry bush problems

brandond(6)June 25, 2012

I have had a mixed bag of successes and failure with getting blueberry plants up to size. I bought 30 new plants this that were nice specimens. I planted them on raised berms. Each plant hole was amended with peat moss,pine bark,compost and granular sulfur. This was done 3 monthes prior to planting. I also irrigate with flag emitters. I have already lost two specimens. They started taking on a look of yellow of leaves some leaves with green veins showing through. Some with just a dull lime green color to their leaves. On the two that I lost the leaves just defoliated and the thing dried up. This is frustrating since now we are at the toughest time of year with heat and uv index. I would say all in all with years past I have a succes rate of 60 percent or so. Once the bush is two to three feet tall I havent lost them. Im getting some leaf scorch issues as well. I have tried foliar iron, and using vinegar in my water. Im also considering using shade cloth to prevent them from the leaf scorch.

I have also decided however many replacement plants that I need for next year Im going to pot them up for the first year rather than plant them in ground. They are so much easier to grow and maintain potted. This way I can get them up to size before tranplanting. They are just so vulvnerable as one year old growth. Feedback is appeciated.

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Noogy(6 sw mi)

Ammonium sulfate seems to do the trick and might work for you. 1 tbsp per plant/ water in well,or 1/2tsp to a gallon solution for localized application. Takes a while for the granulated to do it's thing. make sure the root zone is humid and that when you water any solution is penetrating into the rootzone
do some searches as there is a lot more on the subject already posted
good luck

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 8:14AM
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What kind of water are you using? Municiple, well, rain?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 11:09AM
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I use rainwater when I can harvest it. Its rained a total of maybe 1 in over the last 5 weeks. So mostly well water is being used. OH and are water is hard,lost of calcium.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 12:16PM
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Sounds like your water could be the problem. They are very picky about what they drink!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 2:24PM
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Ya it could sure be. I dont have a choice though since its hasnt rained. I would think all the plants would do poorly if that was the case rather than a few doing poorly.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 3:03PM
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Have you actually been measuring the pH of both your ground and your water? Symptoms seem to point to pH, and from what Ive seen, younger plants are less tolerant of pH imbalances then more established plants. Peat and bark vary a lot in pH, and sulfur can take a long time to convert to acidic form which is dependent on microorganisms to convert. Test your soil and water. Rainwwater usually doesn't need to be adjusted, but tapwater usually does, and can leave calcium behind that can buffer your pH making it higher then intended.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 3:18PM
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You could always adjust your water with Sulfuric Acid. I did it when I first started. I was using municiple city water though. Bamboo uses it for his well water aswell.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 4:38PM
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Get some iron sulfate. This will help with the iron deficiency and also lower the pH. It is more expensive to use than sulfur, so I only use it for trouble spots, but I have seen bushes respond in a week or two.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 8:41AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


When you say you amended the soil with pine peat ......what % of those did you use as opposed to the native soil?

What is the PH of your native soil and what is it's makeup?

What are you fertilizing with? Make sure what you are using as fertilizer does not have the nitrogen coming from a nitrate source and that the fertilizer does not contain muriate of potash.

Mulch the bushes to keep the soil moist.....or in my case just get 14" of rain in the past 2 days which is keeping everything moist lol.

I have 142 BB here in Central Florida in full sun so I doubt your bushes are getting too much sun.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 9:05AM
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I fertilize with amonium sulfate,fish emulsion,and irone sulfate,depending on the plant needs and time of year. The native soil ph is around 7. When I amended the planting holes back in February and used pine bark chips,sta green tree and shrub planting mix and probably one cup of granular sulfur per plant. I do irrigate with well water when no rainwater is captured in my rain barrel system. I do treat the water with vinegar,not every time but every second or third watering. I have also used iron chelate at one teaspoon per gallon to try and accomodate iron needs. In struggling trying to find the right mix with these first year plants. Like I said earlier the potted ones are thriving. Its so much easier to meet their needs than the ones planted on raised berms. Im hoping to have success with my softwood cuttings so I will have something to try and replant after this year. Thanks for all the great advice

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 9:34AM
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sta green tree and shrub planting mix contains potassium nitrate and ground dolomitic limestone.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 11:23AM
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Yes it does contain that stuff in it,however I thought i used so little of it in the mix and then countering it with the sulfur. Maybe thats the problemm. I found somewhere that indicated that it was an acidic amendment, since it had peat sedge,and pine bark fines in it.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 12:20PM
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You need to measure the pH of your soil. That's the only way you'll know for sure what to do. Dolomitic limestone is a pH stabilizer, and has very strong buffering capabilities, even in small amounts. Because of this, you definitely need to measure your pH. I agree with iron sulphate being a good thing to use if you find that your soil pH is high.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 12:31PM
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