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Newly planted Blueberry plants browning, wilting

 
bill archer
Posts: 58
Location: Oregon Zone 8b
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Purchased these from Territorial, they looked great. I planted them in a raised bed I made from composted horse/goat manure, mixed with rotten apples (9 months composting), some starter mix, vermicompost and acid mix. On top of this concoction were cardboard, followed by more of this mix, along with some old hay. Looked good for a few weeks, but not the leaves are beginning to brown. They also got attacked by chickens.
My goji berry also appears to be wilting, and the huckleberry looks the same as when I planted it, however its not really growing. Did a search for this issue and the only thing I could find was that the soil may not be drainng well or may not be acidic enough. With the acid mix it seems that it would be fine, is there any way to tell? Also, soil seems to drain OK. We've had some heavy rain this past week but the browning of leaves started about 1 week ago. Any thoughts?
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Jen Shrock
pollinator
Posts: 363
Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
8
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Based on what I have a tendancy to do to things, could you be loving them to death by watering them too much?
 
bill archer
Posts: 58
Location: Oregon Zone 8b
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Every 3 days or so. Since its been raining though I haven't watered. Leaves are falling off.
 
David Hartley
Posts: 258
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Plants in the heath family form a relationship with a specific minor class of fungi: ".....ericoid mycorrhizae, so named because they are restricted to the Ericaceae, the heath family, and some closely related families. The Ericaceae are familiar to [us] in the form of blueberries, cranberries, sheep laurel, rhododendron, etc....."


Given you live in west Oregon; I'd suggest going out and getting some soil beneath a healthy wild huckleberry and inoculate your blueberries and other heath plants.


Speaking of huckleberry; they grow extreeeeeeamely slooooooow!



Also; probably should have some sand in your mix
 
Daniel Riggs
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If you incorporated a lot of organic matter close to the planting hole then it could be a transplant problem maybe. If the roots are pot bound and there's an air pocket next to a mat of roots then you'll get some necrosis on the leaves like that. If you think that this could be the issue just use a finer soil in the planting hole and make sure there is good compaction around the roots.

Air pockets are good normally just not right next to pot bound roots. Likelywise compaction is bad generally except when transplanting exposed roots.
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 660
Location: south central VA 7B
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Leaves will yellow, not brown from overwatering. From all of the organic matter you added, it may be too rich. Since they are newly planted, you may want to mix in some peat to loosen the dirt and calm down all of the compost.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1341
Location: northern California
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If that happens to a plant around here what I suspect first is a gopher tunneling up under it.... Important permanent plants all get planted in a basket of chicken wire down in the hole.....
 
David Hartley
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How acidic is the bag of soil mix that you used?... They do best with a pH between 4~5.
 
Jamie Heaney
Posts: 14
Location: Southern Maine
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I upvoted Cooper.

The acidity is probably screaming and the plant's roots are unable to uptake nutrients. The roots need soil, not rotting waste, to dig into.

With a raised bed, you should not have overwatering problems. Just use lots of water during berry time.

I would completely replant them in good soil with just a bit more peat than normal to account for acidity if you are not in an acidic area.

I would then pile compost(yard waste) around the base every fall to keep them nice and acidic through the year, especially if you are not in an acidic area.

edit. also, yes, chickens and ducks will eat anything on a blueberry bush 2 feet from the ground. We had to use light fencing around our new plants 2 years ago. Our old bush are constantly trimmed 2 feet off the ground by the ducks n chicks.
 
bill archer
Posts: 58
Location: Oregon Zone 8b
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Thanks for all your replies. The browning of leaves seemed to stop after adding a bunch of compost around the plants, along with a liquid fish/bat guano solution (dilluted 1 ounce to 1 gallon and watered daily). Could the increase in nitrogen have done the trick? Maybe the acidity was in fact too high and this balanced it out? The acid mix I used along with the composted apples, wood chips and composted sawdust/horse manure mix was Down to Earth 4-3-6. Now that I think about it, this does sound like an overkill of carbon lol. So does lots of carbon = higher acidity?
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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