low grow blueberry problem

Asked July 10, 2019, 8:20 AM EDT

This spring I planted three: Vaccinium angustifolium - low grow blueberry bush in a morning shade/afternoon sun garden Initially they did well. However now as we have moved into summer, the sun afternoon sun is more intense, and they have lost leaves and they are turning color. The soil pH is 6.5 -7. What do I need to do to improve their health

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

Hi- for a variety of reasons, lowbush blueberry will not grow as well or yield as well (in MD) as either Northern highbush or Southern highbush.

The foliage color change is a stress symptom. The root systems need to be consistently moist so installing a soaker hose or drip system would be beneficial. Blueberry does best in high organic matter soils. Incorporating a 4-8 inch layer of compost and peat moss is recommended prior to planting. If you keep these plants in their current location you can top-dress the area with 1-2 inches of compost yearly. You should also apply sulfur at the rate of 2.5 lbs. of elemental sulfur per 100 sq. ft. of growing area.

Your plants will do better if they can be moved this fall to a location that receives morning sun and late afternoon shade. If you are most interested in fruit production and can accommodate plants that will get 4-6 ft. high and wide, we recommend you try Northern or Southern highbush cultivars: