Ask a Question forum→I thought it was an iron deficiency, but I was wrong. Boy, was I wrong.

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Huntsville, AL
Nullthumb
Aug 21, 2018 5:47 PM CST
Hey all,

These are my blueberries. I thought they were going through an iron deficiency, so I added chelated iron and ensured the soil was acidic enough for them.

It still seems they are having some issues. Can anyone identify the problem?

Thanks.
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 21, 2018 11:59 PM CST
Sometimes the problem isn't a lack of iron in the soil but rather, that the existing iron is inaccessible to the plant. Have you done a pH test? The pH should be between 4.5 and 5.5. Outside that range - too high or too low will cause chlorosis.

How long have you been growing blueberries? Are these new plantings? Is this a new problem in an old planting?

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Huntsville, AL
Nullthumb
Aug 22, 2018 2:32 AM CST
Soil is around 5 - 5.2 ph.

I've had these for about one year, purchased and repotted as smaller bushes, so they are about 2 years old total if I had to guess.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 22, 2018 1:42 PM CST
I just read a soil analysis for the Huntsville area. Do you have limestone deposits and clay soil?

You may have a problem similar to mine. Although the planting hole was prepared with the right pH soil, lime (calcium) is leaching in and causing the pH to be too high at root level. Clay soils keep the excess lime in the growing area. You may have to move your blueberries to pots.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Aug 22, 2018 2:44 PM CST
One thing you could do is mix up a small amount of the iron in water and pour or spray it on some of the leaves. In a few days the sprayed parts should be greening up if the problem is still iron deficiency. Applying it directly to the leaves by-passes the problem of soil pH (although so should the chelation but perhaps you didn't apply enough?).

You mentiolned they were repotted - does this mean they are still in pots?

Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
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Horntoad
Aug 22, 2018 3:48 PM CST
Low magnesium can also cause chlorosis. Try adding some Epsom salt.
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 22, 2018 7:11 PM CST
PLEASE do not add Epson Salts!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Horntoad
Aug 22, 2018 8:07 PM CST
DaisyI said:PLEASE do not add Epson Salts!


Why?
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Aug 23, 2018 3:28 AM CST
The symptoms don't suggest magnesium deficiency because the problem is on the newest leaves. Magnesium deficiency is typically on the older leaves because it's a more mobile nutrient within the plant and therefore it can be moved to where it's needed leaving the older leaves with the symptoms. Iron and manganese deficiencies (same symptoms - interveinal chlorosis) are less mobile in the plant and therefore the plant can't move them to the new growth so it is the newest leaves that show the symptoms first.

My suggestion would be to get a soil test if they are in the ground. That may be more difficult if they are in pots, which is what it looks like. It might be useful to know what general fertilizers have been applied, if any. Any nearby herbicide use etc. If you really want to rule out magnesium deficiency then do the same test as for iron, mix some in water and pour or spray it over some of the symptomatic leaves.

[Last edited by sooby - Aug 23, 2018 3:31 AM (+)]
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Huntsville, AL
Nullthumb
Aug 23, 2018 8:33 AM CST
They were potted with standard potting soil and a mix of hydrangea fertilizer. [still in pots].

On top of that, I've been adding a fair amount of iron chelate, mixed with water, sprayed directly on the leaves. That was several weeks ago, with no noticeable improvements.

Really scratching my head on this one.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 23, 2018 10:01 AM CST
What is in the Hydrangea fertilizer?

https://articles.extension.org...
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Huntsville, AL
Nullthumb
Aug 24, 2018 9:06 AM CST
It's this stuff [I meant acidifier, rather than fertilizer. On the fertilizer side, I've used a standard 20-6-16 mix I really like.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Esp...
[Last edited by Nullthumb - Aug 24, 2018 9:07 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Aug 24, 2018 10:11 AM CST
Does the 20-6-16 mix have micronutrients as well as NPK? How have you verified the potting mix pH, and are you continuing to use the acidifier even at pH 5.2?
Name: Christie
Central Ohio 43016 (Zone 6a)
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cwhitt
Aug 24, 2018 10:18 AM CST
Have you had much rain lately? Do those yellow spots go on to turn brown? If so, perhaps it is Leaf rust??
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 24, 2018 12:56 PM CST
Too high pH and/or excessive amounts of fertilizer can both cause the problems you are expeeriencing. In a closed system (a pot) you should be using half the recommended amounts. Blueberries only need fertilizer once a year (in early spring). I think you have way over-done the fertilizer and acidifier and you are seeing the results.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Huntsville, AL
Nullthumb
Aug 24, 2018 3:23 PM CST
in that scenario, should I be removing them from the pot and washing roots / replacing soil with less-fertilized soil?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Aug 24, 2018 4:01 PM CST
Yes, I suspect a transplant is in order. But wait until the plants are dormant sometime this winter. For azaleas (I have to grow them in pots because of our alkaline soil), which need the same pH as blueberries, I use half potting soil and half milled peat.


In the spring, just before the blueberries bloom, fertilize with a well balanced fertilizer (like 10-10-10) that contains ammonium sulfate. Make sure it doesn't contain anything that has calcium or chloride as the first word. Use at half strength. You can fertilize once more in late spring/early summer.

When you do transplant, you don't need to wash the roots, just shake off excess soil. For now, no more fertilizer or acidifier. When you water, let the soil flush for a few minutes to hopefully get rid of the excess acid and nutrients in the soil.

Keep us posted!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Huntsville, AL
Nullthumb
Aug 24, 2018 5:02 PM CST
Thanks, will provide updates. Until winter I'll just try to avoid mothering these :D
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Aug 24, 2018 7:42 PM CST
Thumbs up
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org

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