Northcountry Blueberry Help

steve_5aJuly 13, 2013

Hello all,

I have a potted Northcountry blueberry bush that has taken a turn for the worse in the last month, and I'm hoping someone can help me out with figuring out why.

The leaves on a single branch of the plant started to turn red (starting at the edges and moving inwards), and then drying up and going brown. It seemed to be just the one branch, but a few weeks later it turned into a plant-wide phenomenon. The first incident happened a couple days after I fertilized, but I fertilized very lightly so I would be surprised if I burned it.

I water with diluted vinegar periodically to try to keep the pH down. I also have a second blueberry bush (a Duke, Bluecrop, Elliot 3-in-1) that is thriving with the same treatment.

Healthy plant in mid-June:

Struggling plant today:

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shazaam(NC 7B)

I'm sure you'll get some good suggestions from others, but here are some questions that might help narrow down potential problems:

Fertilizer: What kind of fertilizer did you use and how much did you apply?

Potting Mix: What kind of potting mix are you using? Did you add an acidifier like sulfur at any point? Have you checked the pH?

Water: Has the soil been consistently moist (but not waterlogged)? You mentioned acidifying your water with vinegar. Have you checked your water pH?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 1:17PM
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What did you start doing differently after mid-June?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 2:05PM
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I haven't knowingly changed my watering/fertilizing habits since June. I bought both of these plants last spring and have been treating them more or less as I described ever since. I did add red cedar mulch on top in late June. Could that be it?

The potting mix is Miracle-gro Enriched Potting Mix (0.14/0.14/0.14) mixed with peat moss. I fertilized with an all-purpose 20/20/20 fertilizer. I believe in June I fertilized with an 8 L watering can with about 10-12 mL of the fertilizer, per the directions on the side of the bucket for potted plants.

In reading other posts, it sounds like I should be at a minimum switching to the acid-loving plant fertilizers.

The soil has been kept moist. We've had a fair amount of rain this year (on top of my watering) and the soil does drain nicely.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 2:28PM
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Cedar is really bad for blues. Dont know exactly whats in Cedar that effects them but its basicly poison for blueberries. Ive read about before but couldnt tell you where, just know its bad stuff for blues. Get Cedar out asap and put pinebark mulch instead. Hope its not too late!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 5:12PM
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Try some epsom salts in the water, like 1tsp/gallon. Blueberries can suffer from magnesium deficiency, Mine werent growing this year in a potted soilless mix till I added some and now they really took off.

On highbush blueberries, classic
magnesium deficiency is a green "Chirstmas tree" in the center of a chlorotic leaf. It usually
occurs on the older leaves. Based on our observations, on young rabbiteye plants the most
common symptom of magnesium deficiency is leaves that are pink on the edges and yellowish
between the veins.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 5:31PM
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