Blueberry

I have two blueberry bushes, two years old, in individual pots with ericaceous compost.  Both bushe started the seson well with plenty of flowers and leaf growth.  Bluecrop has now gone into "autumn mode", the leaves turning colour and falling off, with the fruit very small a wrinkled.  I scraped the bark and it is still green, so I don't think that it has completely idea. Earliblue, the other plant, is looking very lush.  Any ideas? 

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  • sms80sms80 Posts: 5

    Thanks for the reassurance!  I will just leave it and keep it well fed and keep fingers crossed.

  • If the leaves are going red and you have wrinkled fruit, it probably isn't getting enough water. It's been very hot here with a dry wind, and mine have suffered a little bit. Has it been hot where you are? They don't like drying out at all. I lost a blueberry plant this time last year due to the hot weather.

  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    I had mine in a large pot which was fine, but they are much better in my raised bed, i would guess that like most productive crops, they need far more food and water that we imagine image
  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    A lady i used to know from my allotment days used to have the mantra"it alswya does better in the ground"- she was right! image
  • sms80sms80 Posts: 5

    Thanks all:  The Earliblue which is fine, with plenty of fruit waiting to ripen, gets the same treatment.  I have watered them from the waterbutt, and not the tap, although this is a very soft water area.  It has not been as hot here as in the rest of the country, with very little rain but plenty of cloud cover.   I will give it a good soaking, though, and hope for the best.

  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Sounds like its time to take those slabs up buddy boy image



    Next year the bluberries are moving out of the raised bed and into the ground with the raspberries, as i believe they like the same or similar conditions, they are out growing the raised bed, and that means the strawbs can have it to themselves!

    (Wouldnt mind but i dont eat that many strawbs!) image
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 8,037

    Bekkie and anyone else considering this, test your soil pH before planting blueberries in the ground.  Blueberries require a low pH of about 4 to 4.5 to do well.  This is easily controlled in a container by using ericaceous compost but that compost doesn't work so well when added to the ground as the natural pH of your soil will always eventually dominate.  If your soil is alkaline, then it can even kill blueberries or at best the crop will fall dramatically.  Many growers (including myself) find that blueberries actually prefer to be grown in containers and the best advice I can offer is to use large ones.  Fill with a mixture consisting of 50% John Innes formula No 3 (or, alternatively, topsoil), 30% ericaceous compost and 20% well rotted farmyard manure (bagged stuff from garden centres is ideal) all mixed with a handful of fish, blood and bone.  After planting, mulch with a layer of ericaceous composted bark to help keep the roots damp at all times (blueberries have feeding roots very close to the surface and if these dry out, that's when you see problems.)  Feed regularly with a liquid feed which is designed for ericaceous plants.  For the first 2 years, also feed extra nitrogen (eg nettle 'tea') to encourage lots of long, leafy stems to develop - these will bear the fruit in future years.

    I do, however, agree that for the vast majority of fruit (well, plants in general) that in the ground is always preferable.  It's just that blueberries are fussy little b*99ers and do require special treatment. image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Ive never got round to testing the soil, ive always assumed tbe whole estate is on the acid side of neutral as almost everyone grows rhodos and azaleas with no care at all, also, my brassicas struggle if i dont lime, do you think its worth a try? I was just going to plant with ericacious and see what happens image
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 8,037

    Hi bekkie, in your case I think you would be OK as rhodos and azaleas also need acid soil so that looks like what you have.  No harm in adding some ericaceous compost to the hole and mulching beneath the bushes with ericaceous bark will be beneficial. image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
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