Northeast Gardening forum: Why were my highbush blueberries sour this year?

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LAS14
Nov 15, 2012 10:00 AM CST
Our garden is in southwestern Maine and we have a half dozen 30 year old blueberry bushes that have produced beautifully almost their whole lives (exceptions from weird spring weather). This year, though, the berries were sour. This was true for early and late varieties. Does anyone know what might cause this?

Also, I posted this here, because the Northeast is blueberry land. But also because I didn't see any other forum that looked appropriate. Did I miss one?

TIA
LAS
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
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Onewish1
Nov 16, 2012 7:42 PM CST

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I will pass the question along to the appropriate person
Name: Celeste
Northernmost and largest state (Zone 5a)
The Vacation Land!
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pixie62560
Nov 17, 2012 5:35 AM CST
LAS do you feed your blueberry bushes? They love ash from a fire pit/place and pine needles these help to give a good acidic soil. The only other thing I can think of that would make them sour is a lack of rain.
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Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

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PollyK
Nov 21, 2012 11:41 AM CST
Silly question, but did you let them ripen well before picking?

Another answer could be that they 'over berried'. Too many berries can cause them to be sour.

And, if they are that old have you trimmed them to open them up to sunlight?

And of course, good advice as always from Pix.
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
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Onewish1
Nov 21, 2012 8:00 PM CST

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you are teaching me new things.. thanks!

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LAS14
Nov 25, 2012 3:47 PM CST
Yep, let them ripen. And yes, we've pruned them "open" over the years. Interesting thought about over-berrying. I'd never heard that before, but it might explain it. Can anything be done?

Onewish1, I'm not sure I understand when you say "I will pass this on to the appropriate person."

Pixie62560, lack of rain couldn't be the problem. Not this summer in western Maine when our stream ran ALL THE TIME (use to dry up in July/August). We mulch with pine needles. But my understanding is that wood ashes help to create a more alkaline soil. I use them on my delphinium and dianthus.

Thanks to all.
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
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Onewish1
Nov 25, 2012 5:41 PM CST

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I didn't have the info for you.. and passed it along to Pixie
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
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Joannabanana
Nov 25, 2012 6:28 PM CST
I would guess bad timing of moisture, couple with less than ideal temperatures (hot or cold) is the cause
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
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PollyK
Nov 25, 2012 6:28 PM CST
When you see they are over berrying, you just need to do some thinning. Be tough.

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