Blueberry Problem

My blueberries are turning black/blue/brown at the tips on Duke, Emerald, Sharpblue, Tophat, Climax, Jersery, and maybe Razz.
Dwarf John blue and Pink are the only two not showing any blacking at the tips. Here are some pictures of the issue.
Disease? Soil? Seeking help/advice to solve the problem.

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Nothing looks seriously wrong. Much of that could be pruned out now or in winter. Everything is OK if you are getting enough growth and the new foliage looks dark green after the leaves mature.

Maybe someone else sees something I don’t.

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Wow, leaves look very pale, I would say a root problem. Hopefully something simple like too much fertilizer. You need to go over your routine. How do you care for them?
I have some winter dieback, but it was cold, and it all happens before they leave dormancy. All of mine are still dormant. Damage is minimal.

Soil: Peat, Perlite, A little other soil and regular soil from the ground mixed/washed in.

The older ones from a couple months ago have mulch, new ones do not yet. Light fertilizer on the older ones but none for the new ones.

Sun/Part Shade. Sprayed the older ones awhile back but not the new ones.

Mostly let them take care of themselves, I keep the branches from tangling in the wind, Make sure no bug problems/animals are nawing on them. Protective mesh around the smaller ones so a rabbit dosent take it in one go. Been raining often so i havent had to water myself.

You might have had a freeze this spring which hit those shoot tips after they had leafed out? The black stuff could be a freeze injury.

Its hard to tell the color of leaves, the light can play tricks. So I’m not sure if there is any problem there or not.


There has not been a freeze since I put in at least 3 of them, since they only came in the mail this month. Lowest has been 45? for the coldest so far this month, though will have that random 32 this week though to try to screw everything up.

I’ll take more photo’s today. All the other photo’s are on the phone instead of camera, will see if i got any decent one’s with those to compare to.

Currently either a root problem, or freeze problem. Thanks for input so far.

I was more worried I had a disease whipping them all out.

They can die back like that due to high or possibly too low pH. The pH issue shuts down new growth and tips die back.

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Are these in ground or pots? All showing symptoms? Old and new?

I placed 14 of them in the ground. Four about 6 months ago, and ten 1-2 weeks ago.
Was adding to the 10+ my mom had planted 20+ years ago in that area, to extend the season and add some new flavors/colors, So i’d of thought the soil would be fine. Its the part of the yard were all the lower PH plants go.

They are all in the ground now. Sources. Bareroot, Pre-potted, Potted myself, and plastic sleeve thing.

I still have to mulch around them and better mulch the others plus weed the area, which I was going to do this week unless it keeps raining.

Duke, With some growth from the bottom. These two climax with some new growth since I planted them, This one has been in 6 months and has the most Black tipping, Has new growth and blooms though. Bareroot one, The Razz, Probably the most/quickest growth in a week’sh but also brown tipping one 1-2 branches. One of the older blueberries, Hasn’t been pruned/care for in 4-5 years, 6+ feet for sure, no brown tips. Fig tree’s behind them at 12-16 feet. Overall view of the blueberries downhill.
Looks fairly bad actually now that I look at it from that angle, for mulch/weed needs. Planted this way so mower can still go between rows and room to spread.

Speaking of that, everything is downhill, so I don’t think flooding/waterlog would be an issue.

Weather wise, Native, Methley,Santa rosa plums are finished/ending of their flowering, Peaches are near the end of their flowering, Quinces been flowering since early late dec/earlyJan tlll now with more still opening, strawberries are starting the flower. Tulips are opening and all the daffoils are no longer blooming mostly. For my weather/season/climate currently.
No frost damage on anything that wasnt hurt/killed since nov.
Dunno if that helps any relating to the browning of blueberries. Overall my first year taking care of them. They were bottom on my list of fruit’s I was going to grow, only recently tasted one that was really good that made me want to grow some, not sure what kind.

Well maybe just the transplant damaged some roots, or they were unable to adapt quickly. I would think it would be a good time to transplant? Most of the time this would not happen. Even if PH is off, it is strange. When I had mine in a high PH environment they just sat there and did nothing. they didn’t dieback. Hopefully they will recover.

The tips are dying back the same way on my California huckleberry (closely related) which is in a pot, and there’s not much new growth on it either. We haven’t had any freeze at all this winter. Hmm.

Tips will die back if pH is way off. Growth stops and tips die. Firsthand experience here!

Is vinegar and water a good quick fix to lowering ph? If so what ratio? Thanks, Bill

My situation was not extreme ph was 6.5 and plants were stunted, but no dieback.
Well if you plant in the ground, you should know the PH. I had no luck in ground when ground was 6.5.
Way too difficult to keep PH below 5 Which is 15 times lower than 6.5 (I think?)
Vinegar is a quick fix, but it is not the solution. Ratio depends on the PH of your tap water. It varies, so no one ratio exists.
It’s tough to grow plants, I’m struggling trying to keep my seedlings alive until plant out. Looks like I lost one pepper. I hate losing any plants. I overwatered it. Hard to tell sometimes.

Thanks Drew

The first step is a soil test so you know the starting point. Vinegar and water is hopeless in soil if pH is high.

Drew, check your pH, it may not be that alkaline being in MI. Here in S. California, our soils are just too alkaline to grow blueberries in the ground without some very trick stuff (we do have some commercial blueberry growers actually having some really cool success with early blueberries, due to our earlier warm temps, but they have to acidify their irrigation water and the soils - not as each for us home gardeners to do). Your blueberries do show signs of too high a pH, with that bronzing appearance of the leaves. For us, we have to grow blueberries in pots. I acidify my soil with soil sulfur, which works very well, albeit a little slow. There is a nice article on DWN about how to successfully grow blueberries in pots:

DWN: Growing Container Blueberries

Could it be Canker Diseases,Blueberry Scorch,Blueberry Shock Virus? Looks like it, but even the non-flowered ones have it and from many sources.

It is, the west side is very acidic. All sandy soils. All our MI blueberries are grown there. I’m on the east side with alkaline clay loam. I built raised beds, and that has worked out well.

Ah, that explains it. I lived in the Middlebury, IN area for 10 years (N. Indiana about 5 miles from the IN/MI border, about mid-state). Our soils were sandy loam and on the acidic side and I had blueberries in the ground, there. Those look gorgeous.