Blueberry fruiting issue

galinasJune 7, 2014

I have three blueberry bushes, that were giving me berries for at least last 4 years without any problem, even when they suffered from iron deficiency due to sweet soil. Since then, soil improved, and i expected this year to be exactly as previous. All three bushes flowered very well, the weather was reasonable for pollinators, and they've been working hard. Today I looked at the bushes and found that when 2 of them have green berries about a small pea size already, the third one has tiny, dry, hard half berry-half old flower. Some of them getting blue and just fell off. It doesn't look like I will get anything from this bush. The bush itself, however. looks great - young grows strong and green, no sign of general disease. What could be a reason for it?

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Fertilizing probably. You're not supposed to fertilize fruiting plants but use compost around them. I have to admit the quick growth of fertilizers is tempting but it makes for legginess and less fruit carrying branches.

Sorry. Collect leaf mold and fall leaves and compost as a thin layer of mulch around the tree for great results. No more than 2 - 3 inches of mulch.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 9:38PM
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I forgot to add my mom's 10 year old blueberry didn't bear for the 1st time in years and I when into the woods looking for wild low bush blueberries and hardly a plant had a berry.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 10:04PM
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I only fertilize in early spring with fertilizer for acid loving plants and then mulch with compost, and I never had excess grows before, I would say i would like to see more grows to be able to renew the bush. This year I also pruned couple old branches, that could be what promote the grows. But I do not see how it can affect the fruiting on other branches. The winter was tough, I would understand if it will not flower at all, like wild blueberry does. Do you know, if harsh winter can affect flower buds, not to kill them completely, but make non-fertile?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 10:19PM
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Without knowing the particular pattern of warmth & freezes I can't tell you if frost got you blueberry or not but I can tell you very cold air, enough to kill fruit blossoms can and does kill flowers and fruit on some trees while leaving the others untouched.

Is the effected Blueberry lower in elevation or in a 'sink' compared two the two fruiting ones?

Example 2 of my mom's 9 apples trees (including the only yellow delicious!) closest to the driveway (and deepest in her yard like a sink for cold air) had the blooms killed, the others have apples growing.

Her blueberry did have flowers I remember seeing them but they all disappeared after a cold snap.

You know, know that I think about it, without any fertilizer for years mom's blueberry suddenly shot up another 2 or 3 feet this year and I'm like that's weird (it's 10 to 15 year old bush). I'll have to ask her if she fertilized. I know she bought Miracle Grow fertilizer for Acid Loving Plants this Spring.

Maybe it was the fertilizer. :-(

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 10:52PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I always fertilize my bushes. Never stopped them from fruiting. I use organic and ammonium sulfate. Most guides say the older the plant, the more fertilizer. maybe the issue is not enough?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:13PM
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My mom had fertilized hers 2 in 10 - 15 years and supplies her all of June until this year. Fertilizer usually is a waste of money really.

But onto you problem...doh! I just reread your original post again and your blueberries are fine including the 3rd one. It's natural for some fruit to drop.

The third sounds like it will simply will have blueberries later than the other two if the berries are only beginning to form with some of the petals around the fruit still. Whether it's because it's a different variety or because it's more in the shade compared to the other two is OK.

I will add, I don't know the situation in your yard but the cooler weather and higher amount of rain in Kentucky for the past 5 years (more like it used to be really) has caused the trees in the forest surrounding my mom's yard to get really much taller much faster and much greener and leafier too. So changed sunlight availability, temperature, and rain plays a big role too.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:31PM
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lack of water during fruit formation

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 12:06AM
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What MoleX suggests is possible too but very unusual unless you moved that blueberry in the last year and the roots haven't recovered enough to support fruiting. Or is something nearby big enough to 'hog' all the water from the 3rd blueberry?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 12:23AM
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Thank you guys, for your responses!
All three bushes grow 5 feet apart in a row. They've been planted in 2007 and not moved since. And we had enough of rain this spring. I will add more pictures...

This post was edited by galinas on Sun, Jun 8, 14 at 6:08

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 5:57AM
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Bush on the left(you see only half of it on the group picture):

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 5:58AM
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Middle bush:

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 5:59AM
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Right one, bad cluster:

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 6:00AM
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another picture of a bad cluster

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 6:03AM
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All top branches are affected, but on low branches it has some good clusters too:

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 6:04AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

The bad cluster wasn't pollinated. At least that's what mine look like when not pollinated.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 7:10AM
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We are having similar issues with our blueberry shrubs, here in Madison, Wisconsin. It was an exceptionally long and cold winter, but our shrubs made it through OK, and they were covered in flowers in April and May. We had a few bumblebees, and also some digger bees, genus Andrena, plus a few honeybees when the weather warmed up. For some reason, pollination was incomplete. Not enough bees? Or maybe the bees lacked vigor? We will still get a crop, but not the 5 gallons of fruit that I was hoping for.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 8:35AM
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OK, it is comforting to know it is not only my problem. This mean it is most likely environmental, not a lack of nutrients or disease. Will wait for next year)
Thank you everybody for productive discussion!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 9:58AM
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