red leaves on blueberry shrubs

bluewaterersDecember 14, 2010

I bought 2 new bluebeey shrubs from the local nursury and One has beutiful red leaves all over and the other was green but turning redish brown and has some yellow leaves on it. My question is are my plants ok as it is winter time. what ist the best soil ph digital device I can buy for cheap. I have another more mature blueberry plant that is roughly 3 1/2 feet high and it now is getting brown rust in the middle of many leaves. do you think the new plants infected the old more mature one. I cant be happy unless my prized plants are happy too. i use plain tap here in san diego ca.

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It looks like you are from California so I may not be able to help you. If you are growing the Southern Blueberries I have no knowledge. If you are growing the northern high or low bush blueberries maybe I can.
There are several varieties of BB that have beatiful fall foilage. It is a blend of rust color and brilliant slightly purplish red. Some varieties more than others.Where i am at in michigan this color would have started around the end of september and lasted about 6 weeks. this depends some what on weather conditions but is mostly tied to day lengths.I used a ph tester called Rapid Test.
I would not presume to diagnose what might be your problem or lack of a problem.There are many possibilities.Poor drainage , causing a fungus commonly known as root rot is one among many. Hope this helps. Johnny

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 7:48PM
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Blueberry shrubs do best in soil that is high in vegetable fiber. Some growers use peat moss as a growing medium, and apply fertilizers as needed. Here in Wisconsin, I amend our clay soil with about 50% by volume composted tree leaves, at the time of planting. Others have had success with composted pine needles added to the soil. When you get the soil right, and the pH down between 4.5 and 5.5, there are certain species of fungi that will take up residence, and they actually increase the supply of nutrients to the blueberry shrub. If your tap water has dissolved limestone, or calcium carbonate, it will raise soil pH over time. I use several dye indicators to measure soil and water pH, bromocresol green is the most useful for blueberries, because it works over the range 3.8 to 5.4. With regard to leaf color, our shrubs turn red in the fall. I have seen evidence of rust, a fungal disease that shows up in the leaves. The leaves are not smooth or normal looking, they actually look like they have a layer of rust, almost identical to the appearance of rusty iron. In the past I have been able to control this by pruning off the affected branches and leaves. I can't comment on what color the leaves of your shrubs should be in December, because our weather is so different here in Wisconsin, and our varieties of blueberry are also different.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 11:12PM
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Like many deciduous plants, blueberries change color in fall with cooler temps and shorter days - there's nothing wrong with your plants :-) Some blueberries are noted for their wonderful fall color and are grown as much for ornamental purposes as they are for fruit. Even the mostly evergreen variety, 'Sunshine Blue', gets some color on it in fall and winter.

Most of SoCal has rather basic to quite alkaline soil so adjusting pH will be critical, unless you grow these in containers. The home test kits work as well as the more expensive meters and are pretty inexpensive. Just make sure you are using distilled water for the soil test - testing your irrigation water will be easier :-) Other growers of acid-loving plants in your area generally temper tap water (also quite alkaline) to make it more suitable to these types of plants. A couple of tablespoons of vinegar in the watering can should do the trick.

Blueberries are prone to a number of fungal diseases, rust being just one. Overhead watering can spread the problem, so avoid that when possible. Rust is pretty darn hard to control, more so if one stands fast on only organic methods. Removing the affected foliage, as noted above, is a good way to start.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 10:21AM
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The leaves on blueberries around here turn red, and then drop off the shrub in response to the change in daylight like all the other deciduous trees and shrubs do. Whether that would happen in California I'm not sure. The leaves might also turn red in response to a lack of some nutrients which might be caused by soil temperture as well as that nutrient not being present.
This link might be of some help and you might think about talking with the people at your local office of the University of California Cooperative Extension Service.

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing blueberries

    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 7:13AM
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