Ask a Question forum: Blueberry bush looks like it's dying

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Charlottesville, Va
Jun 3, 2017 2:08 PM CST
I planted 4 blueberry bushes this spring in separate raised beds(maybe not the best idea). Three of them have a lot of berries but I just noticed that the other one looked great when I got it but now the leaves are turning brown and some are red. I'm confused why the other 3 would be doing great but the other one looks like it's about to die. I put the same soil composition in all of the beds which is equal parts of topsoil, compost, and peat. I would appreciate any help.
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Jun 5, 2017 12:24 PM CST
Locations of beds, ie : sun, trees, bushes, etc.
Depth of beds, and type of soil beneath beds.
And anything else you can think of.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Jun 5, 2017 12:36 PM CST
Also, have you tested the pH of the water you're using to irrigate? If you have hard water, it could raise the pH of the soil and blueberries really want a low pH. You can get your water tested at any pool store, just take in a ziploc bag of water. Or if you have one, or a friend with a swimming pool or large aquarium you can test your water with their test kit. If the pH is over about 7.5 you will need to water those blueberries by hand with a watering can. About 2 tablespoons of vinegar to a 2gal. can will usually lower the pH pretty well.

First go-to fix for that bush (and the others too) would be a chelated iron douse. You can get this at any garden center. Then you need to add acidic amendments to the soil constantly to keep the pH of the soil down.

The bush might be sending its new roots down into the soil underneath your raised bed soil, which might not be the low pH of the mixture you planted in. The amendments will gradually work their way down through that soil, but you will have to keep adding leaves, peat, compost, and other acidic stuff to keep your soil pH low enough for the blueberries.

In the fall, gather up all the leaves you can, and till them into the soil in those beds. Swipe the bags of leaves that your neighbors put out for the trash, even! (Yes, we gardeners do this!) It's almost impossible to make the soil too acidic for blueberries.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
Charlottesville, Va
Jun 5, 2017 5:04 PM CST
I have them in 3x3 beds that are 15" deep. For the soil I used about 60% peat, 15% compost, 15% topsoil, maybe 10% of the soil at my house which is mostly clay( which I know is bad for blueberries, and some soil acidifier. The beds get 6-7 hours of full sun mainly in the morning.

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