Something wrong with Blueberry leaves

AmericanchestnutJuly 8, 2013

Hello, I planted these blueberries in one gallon pots to grow them bigger. I got them from Hartman's in the spring. They were very small. I put them in a mix of compost and pine bark and added elemental sulfur at the time of potting. They leafed out with pale leaves so I added iron sulfate. Now some of the leaves are pale, but not chlorotic, just pink and mottled. I am not sure if this is a sign of something other than pH being wrong. Or maybe the pH is too low. The pH meter I have doesn't seem to be accurate, since it says the same thing every time, everywhere. I was hoping that the color of the leaves could tell me what was wrong. Can anyone help?

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Here's the picture.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 6:06PM
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and one more picture, thanks.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 6:10PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

A lot of what is in the picture is a PH issue. If your PH meter is a probe type try cleaning it with one of the brown or green scotch brite pads then test again and see if you get movement in the meter.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 6:24PM
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The only time Ive seen pink on my plants leaves is when the Ph dropped below 3.8-3.5 and lower. Had to flush about 18 plants last year due to too much sulfer. In a pot that big 1/4 teaspoon or less would probably be more than enough sulfer. Its very easy to add too much to a pot.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 7:21PM
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I take that back, just pinch in a pot that big. Didnt realize how small they really are.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 7:40PM
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Thanks for the replies, what is the best way to go about flushing out the excess sulfur?, does it make sense to add something that would raise the pH like wood ashes or lime?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 7:07AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

To do so is like a dog chasing it's is one of the problems with using sulfur i'm afraid. You put in ash and the PH spikes the other don't even know for a fact that to low PH is the issue. Sulfur breaks down slowly so maybe it hasn't kicked in and it is high PH and some fungus.

Buy a decent PH meter. Kelway not terribly expensive maybe $80. Then you will know what is going on. If that is not an option and you are sure it is too low a PH you can bareroot the plants flushing off as much potting mix as you can and replant them in to a good acidic mix and then only use rainwater on them or use acidified water. If you go that route put them in some decent shade as this is a bad time of the year to be uprooting blueberries.

A lot depends on how hard your water is.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 8:05AM
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I personally don't have much faith in your potting soil. Hard to say for sure. I used the mix over at DWN and I've been happy with it. For the most part, I don't get too concerned over a few discolored leaves. It's amazing how quickly BB can bounce back from drought or other conditions. It's still something to keep an eye on though.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 11:12AM
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In your situation I would keep the shrubs watered, and give them a chance to grow and recover. They should be ready for transplant in the fall, around mid September. You will have to find out the pH of your irrigation water. If you are on a city water supply, there should be an annual report with this information provided. If you have a well, then a pH check will be needed. If the water is alkaline, then the pH will slowly rise in your potted blueberry plants, despite the sulfur that was added. I use dye indicator solutions to check soil and water pH. They are available from HMS Beagle, and they are not expensive. A one ounce bottle might do 100 tests.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 12:27PM
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