Brown Spots and Wilting Leaves on Blueberry Bushes

obs22July 9, 2012

I have been reading the forums here for awhile and have gleaned some excellent information from all of you. I am sure this topic has been discussed here in the past, but I couldn't find anything easily. I will preface my situation below.

Last year I bought 8 blueberry bushes off the internet and received them in early June. I planted them immediately, but wasn't invested enough to research soil types, PH, nutrients, etc... Since then, I have become very invested in the health of my blueberry bushes. I wish I could tell you which breeds they were, but past the two Jersey Premiums, I don't know. I do know that they are all high bush varieties. I live near the beach in Delaware, so my soil is quite sandy. Over the course of last summer, which was dry and hot, I lost two bushes and am now down to 6. The others seemed to be doing fairly well, but they lost their leaves in mid August. I thought I had lost the bushes. However, they quickly recovered this past spring.

In May, it began to get dry, so I began to water. Although the bushes seemed to be growing new shoots, some of them seemed healthy, but stunted. Additionally, many of the leaves began to show red spots, turned light yellow, and then turned entirely red. It looked like its fall foliage. After doing research, I tested the PH of my well water, and the soil, and found that it was high. I added vinegar to my water, and fertilized with acid loving plant fertilizer. I began this about 3 weeks ago, and since then the leaves have turned a much darker green, some of the red leaves that looked dead have slowly turned yellow, and now green, and the bushes seem to be growing healthy shoots, both from the ground and from last years stems and branches.

I also noticed in May, that some of my leaves were being eaten. After watching the plants, I realized that I had a chafer problem, and I treated it with nematodes, and haven't had a problem since.

With all that being said, my blueberry bushes are growing fantastically, and I am quite pleased to finally see that kind of growth. However, over the past couple days, I have noticed several leaves on several of my bushes getting dark brown lesions on them. They are larger than spots and not perfectly circular. I feared that it could be leaf rust, but it doesn't look like anything I have seen on pictures online. I am watering 2-3 times a week, maybe a gallon at a time, and the sandy soil drains quite well. Several of these leaves are also missing chunks out of them, but I have not found any bugs on them except for ants, and the area surrounding the missing section of leaf is brown, almost like it has been burnt. My bushes are in an area without too much shade, and with this heat wave we have been experiencing, the sun has also been quite hot. I have included three pictures below showing this effect.

Lastly, I have one bush, that is growing quite well, but for the past two weeks, the leaves have looked wrinkly and wilting. The bush still appears to be growing quite well, but it doesn't quite look as healthy as the others. I have posted a picture of it below. You can see some of the brown spots I have talked about on some of the leaves there too.

Thanks in advance for reading my novel and taking time to respond!!!

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I see sign of yellow leaves in your photos, & this is usually caused by high soil pH. There is leaf damage due to chewing insects, but this should not hurt the shrub too much. Our blueberry shrubs are mulched to a depth of around 4 inches with shredded tree leaves. This helps to keep the roots moist.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 7:09PM
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Try this link

Here is a link that might be useful: berry diagnostic tool

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 9:28PM
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Thanks for the responses. I'll take a look at the link tomorrow. In response to the yellow leaves, they are brand new growth. I constantly monitor the PH and am consistently around 4.5 to 5... As I stated above, I was having problems, but they have been solved... The old growth leaves are quite green. I'm more concerned with the apparent brown spots. Burns from the heat and sun?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 11:38PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

The brown areas sort of look like what is happening to a few of mine.I hope it's not.This stuff spreads like a plague.I'm leaning towards bacterial canker that is on my plants.
Has it been rainy in your location recently?I think it is distributed that way.
I had to cut away a lot from one plant and still don't know if it is going to survive.
Here is a link to some photos. Brady

Here is a link that might be useful: What the heck is doing this to my Blueberries?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 1:15AM
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The brown is only on the one plant that is displaying th withering leaves, and overnight, it got significantly worse... Several leaves seemed to have disappeared and the brown has started creeping onto the stem... Anyone have this problem?

Also, the "chewed" up leaves on the other plants look to be something other than chewing. The leaf is displaying brown and black around the "chewed" part that almost looks like burning. Anyone?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 4:20PM
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