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Author Topic: What's wrong with my blueberries?  (Read 4261 times)
amayzment
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Posts: 38


Austin, TX Zone 8b


« on: July 20, 2013, 12:07:41 PM »

I've had happy, healthy blueberry plants in the same EB for two years - although I probably have only gotten a 1/2 pint of blueberries total from them, so totally worth the investment, eh?

One plant seems to be browning, shriveling up and dying while the other is developing yellow leaves. The pH of the mix was 6.0 so I added some some soil acidifier and lifted up the cover and turned off the AWS today to try to dry out the mix a bit. It seemed really water logged, too, this morning.

Anything else I can / should do to try to save my blueberries? My husband is still teasing me about how much I spent on these plants (not to mention the prime EB real estate), so for more reasons than one, I must save these plants to save face!

Thanks!
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LeggoLamb
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Posts: 246


Sarasota, FL 9b


« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2013, 05:52:57 PM »

Do you know what variety of blueberry they are?  Hopefully one "designed" for the south.  Could also be result of a disease, some varieties do not tolerate the constant moisture levels found when using mulch covers.   I have lost several blueberry plants in Earthboxes using the mulch cover, since then I have moved all of mine to using only open boxes (and large pots) filled with crushed pine bark and a little potting mix.  Others have had success using the mulch cover system, just my preference. Did any limestone get into the box? Instant death sentence for blueberries. Keep in mind I am not diagnosing your predicament, just offering a suggestion.
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Without Genesis 1:1 there can be no John 3:16
mjb8743
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Posts: 6824


Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State


« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2013, 07:09:16 PM »

In addition...

Using nitrate fertilizers (the most common) is also a death sentence. Blueberries need fertilizers designed for acid-loving plants such as azaleas.
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111 EBs and growing... so how come there are never enough boxes??
Becca08
Full Member
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Posts: 53


First season EBs, in Zone 5A


« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2013, 07:40:43 PM »

I have top hat blueberries in a larger wicking style pot and they love it! These pots work roughly the same as the EB system, but I do not cover the planting medium with a mulch cover. I water my blueberries with a mild vinegar solution to keep the soil near the right pH and I have had some lovely growth this year.

I use an old 2liter soda bottle and I put in 2 oz. distilled white vinegar and dilute to volume with tap water. That has been enough to keep my blueberries happy. My blueberry bush is now four times the size it was when I planted it.

I planted my blueberry bush this spring, too late in the season for it to have a chance to bloom (my rookie mistake, as I found out while doing my homework on keeping these bushes happy). I am going to have to be patient and see if I get berries next year. Of course, these do bear fruit in August, so I could get a few stray berries this year.
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"Plant Food, not Lawns"
A child who helps grow his vegetables and harvests them, will eat them too.
potatohead
Hero Member
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Posts: 334

9A Desert Southwest


« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2013, 09:40:31 PM »

Are you having very hot weather right now in your area? The blueberry gurus in my area tell us to give the plants shade in the afternoon (so just a half day of sun, in the morning) during the summer months. And I agree with the comment about the variety. We can only grow Southern Highbush varieties here. I hope your babies will be ok.
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amayzment
Jr. Member
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Posts: 38


Austin, TX Zone 8b


« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2013, 09:27:43 AM »

Thanks everyone. They are tiflblue, so they *should* be more adapted to southern heart. I use azalea fertilizer, so it's not the fertilizer.

I will try taking off the mulch cover and watering with a vinegar solution as well as moving the box to get afternoon shade, and then see what happens.

I was warned at the nursery that blueberries are hard to grow in Austin, but I thought that had more to do with our limestone-full soil. I thought in a container, surely I could do it! The strange thing is that they did fine for two years with little fussing.
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LeggoLamb
Hero Member
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Posts: 246


Sarasota, FL 9b


« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2013, 10:18:43 PM »

As I recall, Tifblue is a rabbiteye blueberry for the south, but think I remember reading somewhere that rabbiteyes are "vulnerable" to water soluble fertilizer whatever that means.  I have southern highbush and rabbiteyes and have not run into problems with either Miracle-Gro for acidic plants, or granules for azaleas. 
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Without Genesis 1:1 there can be no John 3:16
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