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Blueberry planting

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  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,317
    How disappointing for you.
    It probably doesn't help to say I've had a good harvest from mine. Just a few handfuls left now. The berries weren't as big as usual and not quite as many as usual.
    Mine get the sun all day but are in a netted cage so get a little shade from that I suppose. I managed to give mine rainwater or RO (reverse osmosis) water throughout the summer.
    There were a few scorched leaves but no serious damage.

    Did they flower well and berries start to form but then dropped? If so, that's an indication of stress. The plant drops the fruit in order to survive itself.
    Maybe a combination of severely hot weather and the wrong type of water (which stops them from getting all the nutrients they need) stressed your plants this year.
    Hope for something a bit less extreme for next year.
    If it gets really hot next year you could move them somewhere where they will get some shade

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783
    Pete.8 said:


    Did they flower well and berries start to form but then dropped? 
    I cant recall.  Checking my pics they looked healthy mid June which I guess was before the heat really hit us(?)

    Blueberries are a bit of a gamble given my gardens clays soil and arid summers, they went in with lots of ericaceous compost but I was surprised at the fruit last year.    I’ve mulched them with ericaceous and evergreen cuttings and used rainwater when I can.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,317
    Ah! I forgot you had planted them in the ground.
    That's the most likely reason for the problems.
    Unless your soil is very acidic they won't survive as they're unable to access much in the way of nutrients in soil that is not very acid.
    The first year was OK as they had enough ommph to flower and fruit. Now your seeing the problem due to soil pH, they've not been fed so they can't perform.

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • I have been trying, for a few years, to grow blueberries with very poor results. I have put it down to poor, thin soil, despite putting several bags of ericaceous compost into the bed each year. I have decided to lift the bushes and try them in large pots to see if that works. The few berries I have had from them were so delicious it is frustrating not to be able to grow them. My soil is neutral edging towards slightly acidic, gritty, clay pit spoil heap ground. The bushes are growing in a raised bed in a fruit cage next to raspberries, and black and red currants, all of which grow and crop well which is even more frustrating.
    I thought blueberries were a woodland plant, mine are in dappled shade.  My daughter has a bush in a shady position in her garden only 2 miles away from me, that fruits prolifically, which doesn't help. I think her soil is much more acidic and damper than mine which might explain her success.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,317
    I have the same sort of soil Joyce - just slightly acidic and clay based.
    Blueberries need very acid soil or they are unable to access the nutrients they need in order to grow well and fruit.
    If you have an area filled with ericaceous compost in you garden it won't do much after a short while. The soil for several miles around is only slightly acidic and rain runoff will soon permeate your ericaceous compost and bring it up the the same level as the surrounding soil, thereby starving your blueberries.
    Grown in pots with ericaceous compost, watered with rainwater and fed once a month during the growing season with an ericaceous plant food (azalea feed) then you should be fine.
    My 3 are in 22L pots and I've been picking a small bowlful every day since mid June.
    They're just finishing now.

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • BigladBiglad Posts: 3,258
    I can vouch for the difference between planting in the ground and planters. Before I knew of their soil preference, I killed a couple of plants by planting direct into the ground (clay). Several years later (last year), helped by this forum, I've made a far better attempt and enjoyed a decent harvest this summer. I've updated my own thread so that it is visible at the top of the forum but, to summarise, my 3 plants are in decent-sized, homemade, wooden planters in the sunniest spot in the back garden (the 2 pictured are Bluecrop [left] and Draper [right]). They're in ericaceous compost and watered (when necessary) with rainwater. I give them an azalea feed occasionally during the growing season.


    East Lancs
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783
    Hmm. I had them
    in 40cm pots originally. I can move them back.

    I have two 43cm planters, maybe three.

    Not really keen on that though.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,317
    As you've seen they can't thrive in the soil you have, so pots, planters or something that isn't in direct contact with the soil you have is what's needed to preserve the pH of the acidic compost they need to grow.
    Get that right and they're really easy

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Thanks. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I have solved my problem. I'm guessing it will take a year or two before the bushes reach full fruiting stage again. They have become very spindly.
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783
    Pete.8 said:
    As you've seen they can't thrive in the soil you have, so pots, planters or something that isn't in direct contact with the soil you have is what's needed to preserve the pH of the acidic compost they need to grow.
    Get that right and they're really easy
    I’m going back to my original thought when I bought them - some kind of trough or raised bed I can replenish with ericaceous each year.  Really large planters or pots are just too expensive to justify.
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