Help with blueberry - leaves turning brown

vancouverwa(8)July 3, 2014

Hi! I am a new gardener. This is my first year really into the hobby and I need some help please. I live in Clark County, Washington about 4 miles from Portland, OR.

This is a Darrow blueberry that I planted in a raised bed. The soil is approx 25% sand, 50% loam and 25% compost. The bed is about 20 inches high. I put the raised bed soil in last fall and I added sulfur to drop the ph level. I planted the bush in Feb/Mar of this year (can't remember exactly). I fertilized three times (following Oregon State Univ extension advice for timing and amount) with a 16-0-0 fertilizer.

This plant was doing alright, but I noticed today that a bunch of leaves are turning brown. I have been watering it with a soaker hose - trying to water when it was about 3 inches dry from the top of the soil.

I noticed over a month ago that my blueberries (I have 4 in the raised bed) had small little cuts in the leaves. The other blues (Spartan and Blueray) have red veins and today I found some aphids on a Spartan that is about 12 feet away.

Today I noticed that the plant had a bunch of dry brown spots on it. What would cause this? What should I do? I have attached photos.

Any help would be appreciated. I am a newbie and I want these plants to last for many decades and I feel like I'm fumbling around here.

Thanks a bunch!

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vancouverwa(8)

Another photo (Is there a way to attach more than one photo to a post?)

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 8:51PM
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vancouverwa(8)

Another

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 8:52PM
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vancouverwa(8)

Another

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 8:53PM
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vancouverwa(8)

Another

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 8:54PM
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vancouverwa(8)

This is a photo of the red veins on a Blueray that is about 3 feet from the Darrow that is turning brown. Is this a problem? Do the red veins indicate anything?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 8:56PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

I'm about 15 miles east of Seattle and some of my Blueberry plants look like yours,more so with Darrow.It was after the temperature went over 90F a couple of days ago.
I think maybe with the sudden heat,the plants could not keep up with the rapid evaporation in the leaves.A number of my plants suffered minor damage or none at all.It could be due to variety,root size or possibly how big a container they are in.
I know the heat caused my Blueberry plant's leaves to burn.Was it first noticed about yours after the heat spike?
The last photo may be Chlorosis,having to do with alkalinity.It's a good idea to know the soil's pH.
To post more than one picture,using something like Photobucket is needed.Upload them on there and then click on the HTML by the photo and paste it to your GW message and then go back and do the same thing for any other ones.It's easier if two browser windows are opened to go back and forth.Brady

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 11:32PM
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pharmachad

How often are you watering? With temps in the
90s I water everyday. Could it be they are not
Getting enough water with the higher temps?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 12:58AM
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vancouverwa(8)

Thanks for the advice so far.

PharmaChad - I have watered about twice a week using a soaker hose. Last night I watered the raised bed enough that the ground around it was soggy. I pulled up the plant to look at the root ball an hour later and it seemed to me to be dry on the inside. Here's a photo.

Brady - I first noticed the browning yesterday (Thr) and I'm out in the garden every day. We had temps about 98 degrees down here on Tuesday. I watered on Monday evening, but maybe it wasn't enough. I have a ph test kit on the way from Amazon.com and I'll check as soon as it gets here.

I'm thinking that the water isn't penetrating the root ball enough. The raised bed soil in the bed is getting very wet, but the root ball isn't nearly as wet. That's probably a bad sign, right?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 10:40AM
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Fascist_Nation(9b)

Container soil from a pot? Nice diagnostic BTW. Do people surface mulch in that area?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 1:55PM
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vancouverwa(8)

Yes, it's the container soil from the pot from the nursery. The container soil looks much more like barkdust than loam or compost.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 2:13PM
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pharmachad

This my opinion. I would put the emitters closer
to the base of the plants and water everyday. I know
A lot of people say don't water everyday for fear of root rot
but I have been watering daily with my container
blueberries and have not had any problems. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 3:30PM
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vancouverwa(8)

Thanks for the tip Chad. I was worried about root rot, but I think that my raised bed might drain well. It's 50% compost, about 12.5% sand and 37.5% loam. I'll start watering daily and I will also move the root ball closer to the soil level. Right now it's about 5 inches higher than level with a slope on it, but I think that the roots would prefer to grow horizontal instead of diagonal.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 8:07PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Mine are in raised beds too, but unlike yours they are surrounded by other plants. I used peat moss and pine bark, just a slight amount of compost, none in some of the beds. I found a peat based compost I will use in the future. Anyway I monitor PH, add sulfur and use sulfuric acid to lower PH when needed.
Not only do your plants look dry, they probably are having a hard time if PH is above 5.5
Here's a photo, hard to see plant as raspberries, tomatoes, borage and strawberries are all around, it all looks green in the photo.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 9:18PM
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