Relacement Blueberry Bushes Won't Grow - Knowledgebase Question

Belleville, NJ
Question by rceres543
March 7, 2000
I have a raised bed of 10 blueberry shubs that have thrived for the past 15 years. Three years ago 2 of the bushes died. Every year for the past 3 years I have replanted the replacements without success. I have tried different varities, added new soil,compost,peatmoss and checked the ph. The ph is ~5.2 and the entire raised bed is mulched with wood chippings from my fruit trees. I feed the bed just before bloom with an acid-based granular fertilizer and about a month later pick up with Miracle Gro for acid loving plants. I am at a complete loss since the whole bed gets the same amount of sun exposure (at least 8 hours/day and the same amount of regular watering).
I would appreciate any suggestions and advice you may provide.
Best Regards,
Ron Ceres


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Answer from NGA
March 7, 2000

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Ideally the soil pH would be slightly lower (4.4) and the humus content would be very high, near 8%, but it sounds like you have done what you need to in order to accommodate the plants. This leads me to question a few other basic points which could be easily overlooked. If you are using a watering system, is it functioning properly so that those plants are receiving adequate water? Is it possible the neighboring plants have usurped the root run area for the new plants and are simply outcompeting them? Finally, did you determine what caused the original plants to die? It is possible that a disease or fungal infection is present and reinfecting the new plants. You might find the following discussion of blueberry diseases interesting. http://www.canr.uconn.edu/ces/... and
http://www.canr.uconn.edu/ces/... and
http://ssfruit.cas.psu.edu/cha...

If you try again and still have problems, you might wish to contact your local county extension (678-7807) for a more specific identification of the cause of the problem. Once you have identified the cause you can begin to consider how to treat it and they should also have the most up to date recommendations on that.

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