"Blue" Berry Frustration #348233 - Ask Extension


"Blue" Berry Frustration #348233

Asked July 30, 2016, 12:39 PM EDT

I live in NE Berks County and have had no success trying to establish blueberry plants. Keep them mulched with wood chips from pine with needles. Use Holly Tone Organic in spring. I am attaching pictures for some help. Have not tested soil ph but the raspberries 20 feet away do awesome (I use a different organic feed for them). I can send more pics if you need them or answer any questions. First two are my older (about 3 years) bushes. Last one is from this year. All are high bush varieties and their are two or three varieties of them for cross pollination. I planted a total of 4 this year and don't want them to go the same way the other two are headed. Thanks Eric Bubbenmoyer

Berks County Pennsylvania

Expert Response

I'm going to point you toward a publication on growing blueberries in the home garden. This will give you an overview. Blueberries require a different pH than raspberries, so you should get a soil test from your local Penn State Extension. Here is a link to their website. Also, the extension staff and Master Gardeners can answer specific questions and help you over the rough patch of getting them started.
Blueberries also require a particular set of pollinators that specialize in blueberries. Here is a link to a publication on pollinators for blueberries.
Eileen East Replied July 31, 2016, 9:58 AM EDT
Any thoughts on the leaves or branches and what is causing it? Mold? Aphids? Thanks! Eric 
The Question Asker Replied July 31, 2016, 11:12 AM EDT
I think it's the pH of your soil. Blueberries are fussy about the pH of the soil. Your leaves are chlorotic, meaning a deficiency of chlorophyll, usually caused by nutrient deficiency. The sign of chlorosis is the yellow leaves with green veins.Chlorosis can be caused by several factors: incorrect pH, soil compaction, low oxygen in the soil. I also see some healthy grass in and around the bushes. Grass likes a pH around 7 where blueberries like 4-5.

Here is a quote about blueberry soil.
"Many times, if a blueberry bush is not doing well in a home garden, it is the soil that is to blame. If the blueberry soil pH is too high, the blueberry bush will not grow well. Taking steps to test your blueberry pH soil level and, if it is too high, lowering blueberry soil pH will make a huge difference in how well you blueberries grow. Keep reading to learn about proper soil prep for blueberry plants and how you can lower soil pH for blueberries. Testing Blueberry pH Soil Level Regardless of whether you are planting a new blueberry bush or trying to improve the performance of established blueberry bushes, it is essential that you have your soil tested. In all but a few places, your blueberry soil pH will be too high and testing the soil can tell how high the pH is. Soil testing will allow you to see how much work your soil will need in order to grow blueberries well. The proper blueberry pH soil level is between 4 and 5. If your blueberry bush’s soil is higher than this, then you need to take steps to lower the soil pH for blueberries.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Soil Prep For Blueberry Plant: Lower Soil pH For Blueberries http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/blueberries/lower-soil-ph-blueberries.htm
Eileen East Replied July 31, 2016, 8:03 PM EDT

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