Huckleberries

Asked June 20, 2016, 8:08 PM EDT

I purchased huckleberry plants through the U of I. Planted them and they came back this spring and were looking good. Leafed out and then all of a sudden, some of the leaves are turning red, no new leaves and I'm worried they are not doing well and maybe I did something wrong. I gave them Blueberry food from Garden's Alive, water them and take good care of them. Any suggestions as to what is going on?

Ada County Idaho trees and shrubs gardening fruit trees huckleberry horticulture

1 Response

Reddening of the leaves of huckleberries is often due to water stress. Huckleberries are sensitive to drought as well as over watering. Be sure that you are applying adequate water and that the plants are in well drained soil. Huckleberries are also salt sensitive, so elevated levels of fertilizer can be harmful. If you have applied too much fertilizer, avoid further applications and increase water to flush the salts out of the soil.
For best fruit set, be sure that the plants are in full sun and in acidic soils. If you can find a location where native plants are growing, take a shovel full of soil from around those plants and transfer that to your plants. Huckleberries have a symbiotic relationship with a unique soil mycorrhizae (fungus) that aids in water and nutrient absorption. Transferring native soil may introduce the soil mycorrhizae to your site.