Blueberry Bushes - Red Leaves

Asked September 10, 2019, 9:56 AM EDT

Hello, I planted 6 bare root blueberry bushes in the spring, each a different variety. Four of them exhibit red / yellow leaves (Elliot, Blueray, O’Neal, Patriot); two are in excellent health (Sweetheart, Pink Lemonade), despite sharing the same conditions. Soil pH should be roughly appropriate, close to 5.0, with plenty of organic matter, peat moss, etc.. They have been watered with drip irrigation, soil generally damp but no standing water and adequate drainage. Can you please help me diagnose the problem? Rich Matheny

Montgomery County Maryland fruit abiotic issues

1 Response

Hi, red and purple leaf coloration in blueberry in spring and summer is a stress symptom (lack of water, crowding, low nitrogen, soil compaction, etc.) With shorter days and cooler nights we expect to begin to see the natural breakdown of chlorophyll exposing the plants' other color compounds.

You're taking great care of your plants. It' possible that the current leaf color differences between the six cultivars is due to plant genetics (the two that are still all green are the newest releases) and/or slight differences in environmental conditions.
Jon