Hi there. We moved into a new home in Jan 2021 and have learned that the previous owners had planted a blueberry plant in the garden. Our neighbours have said that the plant bloomed and have blueberries in the summer prior to our arrival.
Unfortunately, there were no flowers in our first summer and this summer, the plant is looking similar to how it looked last year. The leaves are more red than they are green — not sure if this is normal for June. We live in the east end of Toronto. The plant sits beside a large evergreen but gets lots of sun. We added compost to the existing soil and added topsoil and mulch to it.
The plant is about 14” high and has a spread of about 12”.
I’m wondering what we can/should be doing to support fruit growth in this plant. Thanks in advance for your advice!
I am very sorry to hear that your blueberry is not doing well. From the image, the foliage looks extremely chlorotic (yellowed) and very sparse. The leaves should definitely be a rich green at this time of year.
Blueberries do have some potential but infrequent diseases. Unfortunately, your image is not sufficiently clear to see if this is likely in your case. However, you may wish to visit our previous post on blueberry scale: https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/diseased-blueberry-plant-scale/. However, I strongly suspect that the most likely explanation is soil pH. Blueberries prefer an acidic soil (pH of 4.8 to 5.2) and Ontario soil is often quite alkaline. They will grow extremely poorly and may die when grown in alkaline soils. I would suggest as a first step that you check the soil pH. The City of Toronto’s Guide for Testing in Urban Gardens provides advice on finding qualified labs. If soil pH is indeed the culprit, it can be extremely difficult to amend it sufficiently to provide a proper growing environment for the blueberry. You may wish to try transferring it to a container with an acidic growing medium. Here is a useful article on growing blueberries in containers: https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/growing-blueberries-containers/
A final possibility to consider is soil moisture – blueberries have shallow, fibrous roots and need constant moisture and good drainage. They may become chlorotic and drop their leaves if the soil is too wet and poorly drained, or, conversely, if they are allowed to dry out. Your blueberry is fairly close to the cedar tree, which may be sucking up all the moisture. You may also wish to check planting depth (the rootball should be just below the surface), especially if you have topped up the soil with mulch and amendments.
I hope this helps and wish you the best of luck in saving your blueberry!
June 1, 2022