Blueberry Plant DYING...

scuzzynuttyAugust 24, 2012

Hi, I bought a new Southern HighBush Blueberry plant about 2 months ago. I already had 2 other blueberry plants that I've had for about 2.5 years and repotted this new one just as I did with the first two.

I used EB Stone Azalea Soil and mixed it about 50/50 with native soil. When I first bought the blueberry plant, the leaves were so nice and green and large and lush, and now all the leaves are drying up, turning brown and dying and I have no clue why.

I water it the same as the other two, about every 3rd or 4th day, but every day, more and more leaves are dying and it's looking terrible. The picture I took of the green leaves look like they're diseased or shriveling up....

Any help or advice/explanation would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Even though I'm not convinced it's in the best container mix, the fact that you've had others living in the same mix makes me think it's not the mix that's the major problem. The only thing I can come up with at first glance is that it's not getting enough water. Even looking at the mix in the picture it looks dry. Not sure how much sun yours gets, but in the hot summer sun, I have to water mine almost every day, and my mix of pine park and peat drains so well, I'm not afraid to over water. The mix HAS to be kept moist. Do you notice any wilting? Did you bare root it? What's the pH of the water you use? Not sure if this helps, but I'm sure you'll get other responses from more experienced growers than me.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 8:25AM
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Blueberry shrubs need several months to transition from greenhouse conditions, to full sun conditions. For this reason, they are often transplanted in the early spring, March 15 to April 15, or in the fall, September 15 to October 15. I am guessing that the root system on your shrub is not able to keep up with the amount of water that the leaves are demanding. If the shrub had been kept in partial shade, this would not have happened. Also, many of us do not apply fertilizer to blueberry shrubs when they are transplanted, and during the first year, for the same reason. Fertilizer tends to increase the growth of leaves, and too many leaves, too soon, overwhelms the root system. For whatever reason, roots seem to grow more slowly than leaves.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 10:39AM
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Hmm...I've been watering the same as the other two plants, pretty much every other day since it's been quite hot here in CA. I water it till the water is coming out the bottom too.

I bought it the size it's at - it came in a 2 gallon Pot from Lowes and I didn't fertilize it, just put it in a bigger pot with the Azalea Mix.

Is it salvageable, I think it continues to die more every day. It looked so nice and green when i got's sad.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 5:49PM
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I haven't ever seen a potting mix that recommends top soil of any kind? There are quite a few recent blueberry posts on hear that explain good potting mixes for blues. I would repot all your plants with the right mix. It looks like overwatering to me and if you are watering every 2 days then that means your mix is holding to much water. The top soil in your mix is probably the problem. I'm pretty sure the ph isn't right either because I can see leaf chlorosis on all your plants although your mix holding too much water can cause chloolrosis also.

Were the roots pot bound? Almost all the potted blueberry plants I've got from nurseries are in way too small of pots for their root system. If you repot be sure to rough up the outside of the rootball. I would prune out all those skinny branches and leave 2 or 3 of the thickest canes and then cut them back 1/3. With the right soil mix and a good prune, your plant will explode next spring.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 8:48PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

I have a couple of blue berries that did the exact same thing. I checked for watering, gophers etc.

But, what I noticed first is that the same thing happened to two of our bushes at the same time. One blueberry section has a variety (oops which is which I forgot to note) that has been planted for a few years.

The other bed is a long distance and in very different soil and conditions and only in the ground under a year. (also one of 2 varieties)

I tried to think of every reason for what was killing my blueberries, only thing I can figure is the heat spiked about the same time as the dying leaves showed up.

And guess what, after a couple of weeks with some extra water, they are pumping out new leaves on both plants.

Best I can guess is one variety is less happy with temp (heat) changes than the other.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 9:23PM
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