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Blueberries dying.  RSS feed

 
Matt Dunn
Posts: 6
Location: Beebe, AR
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Hey guys, saw some helpful info on here earlier and had decided to register to get some advice. I bought 2 blueberry bushes about a month ago. They were doing well in the pots. I planted them about 2 weeks ago and seemed to be doing well up until about 3 days ago. I've been reading up you need well drained soil and between 4-5 PH level. My soil is a little slow on draining but still drains decent and my PH is at 6. I've read they will do ok at 6 but it's recommended 4-5. Now there are a few flowers on them still but the leaves are wilting and the flowers are wilting too. I believe the bush is dying. I'd say the plant is a year or 2 old. Since it's spring and the plant was already bloomed. What would be y'all recommendation for me to do to help save the plant or is it too late? Should I uproot it and put it back in a pot with peat moss? Add some sulfate/peat moss/sand all back in the hole and replant it? I feel I need to move fast on this before the plant dies.
 
Zach Muller
gardener
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Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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First things first.

Welcome to the forum!

Where are you? ( if you include your area in your signature everyone will know where your coming from)
More details in general would be nice, including pics.

Could it be a lack of water?
 
Matt Dunn
Posts: 6
Location: Beebe, AR
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Zach Muller wrote:First things first.

Welcome to the forum!

Where are you? ( if you include your area in your signature everyone will know where your coming from)
More details in general would be nice, including pics.

Could it be a lack of water?


Central Arkansas. And definitely not a lack of water. It's been raining quite a bit lately. I'm thinking the drainage is too slow for the blueberries liking with the amount of rain that we have been getting.
 
Robert Dobie
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Hey Matt the bushes may have gone into shock depending on what stage the Spring weather is in where your at. Here in Vancouver, Canada Spring is a whole month early this year. I plant my blueberry bushes in straight peat moss as they are a bog type plant and like acidic soil. You may have transplanted them a bit late where your at if they were already in flower. They don't like sitting in overly wet rich soil. The shock of transplanting late if it is quite warm out may have shocked them. I am sure they will survive but you may have lost your berries for this year. I have never had a blueberry bush die on me but if I am going to move them I always do it in the Fall when the bush goes dormant and drops it's leaves. Good luck with your blueberry bushes Matt !
 
Matt Dunn
Posts: 6
Location: Beebe, AR
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Yes we had a late winter this year so I was waiting on it to stop snowing/raining and for the ground to dry out a little but we went to a local nursery and bought 2 different varieties of blueberries. How would I know if they are in shock or if they are dying? And if they are in shock do they just lose leaves/bloom for the rest of spring/summer or what should I be looking for?
 
Robert Dobie
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Hi Matt the last 2 bushes I planted I picked up at my local Farmers Market in the summer time. They had already produced berries for that year. After I planted them in a raised bed of peat moss they wilted and dropped a few leaves but bounced back a couple weeks later. I got about 8 pounds of berries from each of the 2 new bushes the following year. I gave one of the bushes to a friend a couple years later and it dropped a few leaves after the move and replanting. I would think your bushes will be OK but you may not get any berries until next year. They don,t like to sit in real wet rich soil and prefer well drained peat moss. Good luck with them !
 
Matt Dunn
Posts: 6
Location: Beebe, AR
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I don't mind not getting blueberries this year. I just want my plants to be healthy. I didn't really expect to get many of any of the fruits I planted if any the first year of planting. Even though some of the plants are 1-3 years old. I appreciate all of y'all help. So y'all wouldn't dig them up and try to fix the soil drainage problem then replant?
 
Robert Dobie
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Hi Matt I would dig them up again and build a raised box or big pots and fill it with peat moss and replant them or move them to a much less wet area on your property and dig a couple big new holes filled with peat moss. Drainage is a must as blueberries do not like rich soil or soaking wet soil. I have all my blueberries planted in 16 inch or so high raised beds with straight peat moss with nothing added to the peat moss and no fertilizer at all for the past 7 years. I just built the raised beds with a few steaks to form the shape of the raised boxes and a few pieces of cedar 2"x8" I had laying around deck screwed to the steaks for the sides. My bushes are all over 5 feet tall now and are getting so bushy I have been taking cuttings from them to thin them and starting new bushes to gift to friends and neighbours the past couple years. Hopefully it will keep them from coming by to raid my blueberry patch. Cheers, Rob P.S. Not sure how cold your winters get but the couple bushes I have in cedar pots I wrap with big bags of leaves around the sides of the pots with a few small bags of leaves stuffed around the top of the pot to insulate over the winter and keep the soil from freezing up. The composting leaves in the bags also give of a bit of heat and those couple bushes seem to get a bit of a head start in the spring.
 
Matt Dunn
Posts: 6
Location: Beebe, AR
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I didn't have any peat moss on hand. But I did have 2 40 pound bags of sand. I didn't use both bags but I dug up both plants and poured have the bag in each hole. Then mixed it around with the soil with a shovel. I hope this solves the problem. I also did a little research yesterday and it was suggested to pour sugar water on top of a newly transplanted plant. So I did that as well. I hope the sand added to the soil will help the draining problem. I did raise them up about 8 inches as well. *fingers crossed* thanks for the help.
 
Robert Dobie
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Good Luck with the blueberry bushes Matt !
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Hi Matt, raising the bushes will help. The problem you are experiencing is "Wet Feet" our clay holds so much moisture it can literally drown blueberries.
Clay also doesn't let enough air get to roots, so what we Arkansans need to do is add air ability to soil where we want to grow blueberries.

The sand you added is a good start but without other amendments you may inadvertently create brick soil (hard as concrete).
Any time you are adding sand to clay type soils, it is a good idea to add humus at the same time, this lets the clay particles have something other than another hard surface to cling to.

I recommend getting a bag of peat moss and over the year(about 1" thick and 1' wide, all the way around each bush) dig this in lightly around the bushes, do not dig down more than six inches as you are working in the peat.
If you do it once a month you will be seeing good results soon and by this coming winter you will have added enough into the soil so that you can just use the rest as mulch on the bushes.
 
Matt Dunn
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Location: Beebe, AR
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heck yea man i'll definitely do that. I just picked up some peat moss the other day. I'll start doing that today.
 
leila hamaya
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Matt Dunn wrote:Yes we had a late winter this year so I was waiting on it to stop snowing/raining and for the ground to dry out a little but we went to a local nursery and bought 2 different varieties of blueberries. How would I know if they are in shock or if they are dying? And if they are in shock do they just lose leaves/bloom for the rest of spring/summer or what should I be looking for?


its rare when a plant DOESN'T experience shock when being transplanted. it almost always happens, and they almost always bounce back a month or three or twelve later. you have to give it time. i think blueberries need a couple of years before they really get their groove on.

and yeah i second or third the peat moss recommendation. that and pine /conifer needles...coffee grounds , acidifying fertilizer. i personally dont use a lot of ferts, but blueberry is kinda finicky, and as a infrequent treatment, could help get it established better. you can use a small amount of vinegar diluted, but i would be really careful with it, put it off the side and diluted a lot. it will temporarily shift the pH very quickly. it can also kill weeds, when sprayed directly on them, so yeah, off to the side.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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One trick to always reducing shock time is to water a new tree in with B-12 Water, just dissolve a B-12 or B-complex vitamin in 1 gal of water and pour on the plant, then finish watering in as normal.
The B vitamins are root stimulants and help get a transplant to producing new root tips quickly.
Which lessens the shock of transplanting.
It is also a good boost to use a multi vitamin dissolved the same way if you see micronutrient deficiency signs in leaves.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
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^^^interesting, i might try that out ^^^

i suppose i am lucky in that its easy to create good blueberry soil out here, theres sooo many conifers. i can hardly tell them apart, i am not very good with conifer identification, but they are obviously some dozens of kinds of conifers and therefore good for blueberry mulching.

we have some nice looking blueberry bushes, they are still young but starting to really get going now...
in a rare treat for myself i just bought some new blueberries =)
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
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I used to live in Sacramento, CA, we were 400 feet from the American River, our top soil was 100 feet Deep and I could grow anything there. The conifers in your area pine tree wise are; Lodge pole pine, ponderosa pine, western red wood, long leaf pine, well those are the main ones and they all have very tasty pine nuts!
I am very happy for you, you do have great soil in that part of the world.
 
William Bronson
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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I have a blueberry bush that's been struggling a long for years, only one year they produced much of anything, and still not even a pound much left the pounds I hear about.

I have built a couple of 55 gallon sub irrigated planters. They are both empty right now, I was considering digging up that poor little bush and giving it a brand new home to live in.

I have wood chips, coffee grounds, pine needles,compost etc.
I would just use peat but it costs money I ain't got.

I actually I'm surprised no one has said anything about peat being non sustainable.
 
leila hamaya
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:I used to live in Sacramento, CA, we were 400 feet from the American River, our top soil was 100 feet Deep and I could grow anything there. The conifers in your area pine tree wise are; Lodge pole pine, ponderosa pine, western red wood, long leaf pine, well those are the main ones and they all have very tasty pine nuts!
I am very happy for you, you do have great soil in that part of the world.


i have never figured out whats the deal with pine nuts =) like just basic stuff...like where exactly is this "nut" ? ah, like i said i know next to nothing about conifers, but now i live among tons of them. also i tend to think of pine whenever i see a conifer, so i will sometimes ask one of my friends who knows a lot about trees...what kind of pine is this, and they will say something like...o thats a spruce not pine, or a fir, not pine. but yeah theres tons of them, like twenty kinds of pines and dozens and dozens of others here in the mountains.

though actually dont have that great soil for many things....like to grow veggies and fussy stuff i have to make soil. but i am way out in the mountains, almost to the oregon border....so up here its all mostly clay- silt - rock, and (luckily for my blueberry friends =) - conifer duff, branches and needles.... and sometimes nice big mounds of oak leaves.....
 
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