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18 messages
01/09/2014 at 14:15

For her birthday in the spring I bought my aged ma a blueberry bush.  It's about 2 - 3' tall, with about 5 main stems, in a pot (too small for it) of ericaceous compost.  It's  produced a little fruit.   Last week it lost all its leaves and is looking a bit sorry for itself.  Is this likely to be early autumnal leaf fall or is something wrong?  She's been watering it assiduously all summer - possibly too much at times?

Any ideas?  Apart from potting it on, how do I prune it?

01/09/2014 at 14:44

Leaf Drop is  always caused by stress of some kind.

Usually by Under/Over watering. My blueberry bush is still in full leaf.

01/09/2014 at 14:55

Apparently the leaves started to go brown shortly after that very wet week we had, so I suspect over-watering - not sure the pot is too well drained....but don't they like wet soil??   It's in a very sunny spot.

01/09/2014 at 15:18

Drainage issues kill a lot of plants, learned this mistake. I always make sure theres a good size hole at the bottom of the pot, and I only put 1 crock over this hole.

This stops a build up of soil around the hole and means the water can drain away easily.

01/09/2014 at 15:19

Yes.  When I repot it I'll do that.

01/09/2014 at 19:15

Have a feeling it's UNDER watering Steve.  

I will prune during winter......I tip shoots,remove  weak shoots and dead stuff.  Every winter I try to keep plants compact by spurring side branches.

01/09/2014 at 20:46

I did read that you should only water blueberries with rain water e.g. from a but, not from the tap

01/09/2014 at 21:05

Yes - Mum knows that.  It's cos (hard) tap water is alkaline and blueberries need acidic conditions.  Could well be underwatering too - or more likely, inconsistent watering.   A much bigger pot will help this too I s'pose.

02/09/2014 at 17:59

Bluebs don't like tap water. Get her to try giving them rainwater 

02/09/2014 at 21:08

She is.  Do keep up.

Actually since it now has nary a leaf it won't need watering till spring anyway.

03/09/2014 at 08:48

Hi Steve If your Mothers Blueberry leaves turned red and orange and fell off that would suggest early autumnal fall, if the leaves went limp on the plant and then fell off suggests too dry,  leaves dropping as you describe can suggest it is too wet, Blueberries like it moist not wet

When repoting check that there is no vine weevil grubs in the soil they will be smaller at this time of year and get them out before they do serious damage
also check for root rot which some times can get mixed up with vineweevil damage and is caused by overwatering and can be lethal

As for the fruit although the plant could be self fertile it is always better to have a different variety next to it for pollination, you will find you will get a bigger crop

As for pruning, use the RHS website on pruning Blueberries

 

 

03/09/2014 at 09:55

My blueberry in a pot had done really well this year, gave 3 kg of fruit, and looks very healthy. I have, dare I say it, watered it with tap water, but have fed it regularly with ericaceous feed. It needs some pruning, so will look at the RHS site. Thanks Buddyboy.

Hope your Mum's blueberry bush gets better, Steve.

03/09/2014 at 12:12

Thanks, Buddyboy - I'll try this when I get back there next week, and thanks for the good wishes Snowy.

03/09/2014 at 12:18

Agree with Verdun. I think it more likely too dry soil.

 

03/09/2014 at 18:36

I had one shuffle off it's mortal coil in that way Steve.  It was one of about 10 all in the same sized large pots and treated the same.  It turned out to be root rot and caused by a clump of ericaceous compost in the mix which was preventing good drainage (I later discovered this when I tipped-out the pot looking for vine-weevil.)

03/09/2014 at 18:45

I'll do that next week and have a good ferret around underneath.  The remaining stems are green (some of them ripening to brown), flexible and look healthy.

03/09/2014 at 19:06

Regular pruning is important if only to keep shoots compact and fruit inclined 

03/09/2014 at 19:53

Yeah, sorry, I clearly misread your post 

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