Advice on unhealthy Blueberry plant

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Diggman, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. Diggman

    Diggman Junior Member

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    Hi all,
    I have a garden centre grown Blueberry plant which is in a medium=ish pot, plant is about 40-50 cm tall excluding pot, about 30cm wide ... I cannot find the care information card and I seem to recall it saying you should only water with rainwater? This may have something to do with the acidic soil it is potted with?
    Quite a few stems / leaves died over the last couple of weeks for some reason, but it is coming back to life :)

    I have kept it in the same pot and left it outside, I have on a couple occasions, watered it with tap water, but rainwater the rest of the time, I have prepared a bunch of rotting english oak leaves and sieved them out so now I have a mulch like substance which fills another larger pot as the acid compost.
    Since this is more of a mulch, do I add some sand / garden soil to it to so I can plant in it ? Or can I just plant directly into this mulch as if like a compost ?

    I have so far pruned the dead stems / leaves - one observation is that due to the current climate in the UK (Almost summer but many cool / wet days at the moment) this plant may have never been outside or atleast not under cover .. this seems to be the first time it has properly been exposed to the elements, hence why it has flowered so early on (most of which died off) now I see fresh shoots coming from the nodes especially where older leaves have died ... would you trim back and hope to get more growth / fruit ?

    Thanks
     
  2. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    I think it is an acid thing when I lived in the UK I remember lots of lime scale around the taps.
     
  3. Diggman

    Diggman Junior Member

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    yea its bad. Im thinking of adding another 220ltr rain harvester barrel to my garden
     
  4. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    If you've got new growth that's a great sign. I wouldn't trim anything. Let the plant do what it wants to do. Blueberries have very shallow roots and don't like to sit in water. They do need acid, so coffee grounds, tea bags and rock powders (if you don't have a lot of minerals in your soil) with leaf mulch over the top. I wouldn't dig around their roots a lot, mulch is good to bring the worms up into the root zone. They do bloom early, so be sure to start feeding them after the crop of blueberries is finished, so they will continue to grow and be well fed when it's time for their next spring bloom. A lot of fruit need a certain number of chill hours in the winter to create fruit, which is why we choose the plants that suit the zones we are in, and which is probably why it is responding with new growth to being outside. :)
     
  5. Diggman

    Diggman Junior Member

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    Cool thanks sweetpea!

    for tea bags, do you mean cut them and throw the tea leaves into compost bin and use the bags only or use the bags with the tea still in them ?
    by rock powder do you mean Rock Dust? The volcanic rock stuff? I have a 20 kilo bag from Seer (UK) stuff works well :)
     
  6. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    Re; chill factor bluberries are pretty tolerant (certain varieties)
    Ive got my ones fruiting in the sub tropics in a pot on a sunny deck
    It is easier to control acidity in the pot. (Ive got a pine tree around the corner I raid for mulch for them and the strawbs)
     
  7. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Hi, Diggman, sorry for the slow reply. Email issues with this place. It's less unsightly to open the tea bags and spread the used leaves around the base of the plant out to the drip line, making sure they get watered in and mulched over to keep them wet. Although one tea bag clump of leaves is about how thickly it should be spread, so if I could line up tea bags around the base of my blueberries, that's how thickly I would put it. Sometimes in a hurry I put the whole bags there, better to have it working in some form, than sitting on the counter waiting for us to have time to do it perfectly. :) Worms ought to do the rest.

    Yes, rock powder, rock dust. I get granite sand locally, the volcanic basalt? or anything volcanic is great, it adds excellent flavor. The grape growers in California are always trying to grow their crops where there's volcanic soil. I have been adding it to the top, and it sinks into my clay all by itself. Not sure if it's the worms or what, but it always disappears, saves me work and better not to disturb the roots. And, obviously, thick hand-depth mulch, pressed (not fluffy) over the top of it.
     
  8. Diggman

    Diggman Junior Member

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    great thanks!!

    one final one, dont worry if you reply late, I probably wont be logging in for a while anyway .... if I plant it in the ground, will transferring it into a pot if i move be a problem? or can they handle the stress of transplanting?

    thanks
     
  9. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    you can transplant a blueberry after winter dormancy has set in. I did not notice how long you have had this blueberry in the same pot, becoming root bound could be the initial problem.

    I move my bushes at the end of every growing season, since I currently have them in pots. In my Arkansas Zone 7 climate, they fill a pot in one growing season and so need to move to more spacious quarters. I'm just now able to get some of our ground ready for the blueberries and they will get to move to their permanent home this next spring.
     
  10. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    Just noticed that I failed to mention that I adjust the soil PH to 6.0 for my blueberries, I do this with red cedar worked into the soil I either use chips or the foliage from pruned branches. This tree is sacred to us and it seems a fitting way to show honor to mother earth to make use of what parts that must be removed from the trees to re-nurture soil in a productive way. I also add a bit of tobacco and ground corn when I do any planting. For us this an offering and shows respect to mother earth.
     
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  11. Diggman

    Diggman Junior Member

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    Quick update for anyone interested,

    Sweetpea's Idea works GREAT!! this year I must have Easily had between 300 - 450 Blueberries on this plant! I had some oak leaves that had mulched whilst sitting in a black bag in my garden, I mixed this with some home made compost and included some of the used tea leaves, I transplanted it into a larger pot with this new compost mix, then spread as Sweetpea said, the rest of the tea leaves over the top of the rootball. the plant did come with some kind of woodchip from the garden centre so I kept this aside and placed it on top of the tea leaves :)

    Thanks everyone especially sweetpea!
     
  12. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Diggman, so glad to hear it!! Oak leaf mulch is a little acidic, too, so that also helped, I'm sure. Aren't they wonderful plants?. So if it's done with fruit, keep giving it some nitrogen via tea or coffee grounds, compost, get some nutrients into the soil before winter, you'll see new growth, and come spring it should start blooming happily again!
     
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  13. Diggman

    Diggman Junior Member

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    Ok sure I will do! thanks
    @ Byrant, that's very interesting info you put about giving back and respect for mother earth, nice to know
     
  14. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    Thanks Diggman, it is the way we are taught from the beginning, our earth mother gives us life so we have to always show our respect and be nurturers and care takers of her.
    I lost two berry bushes to voles this year, next time I will plant wire mesh around the bushes so the little buggers don't get to feast on them.
     

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