Red leaves on new blueberry planting

I planted some new blueberry bushes on friday. one was potted and the rest were bare root. the leaves and buds have turned red. Any idea why? its been about 8 celcius over night

Usually,cool soil temperature will cause that and as things warm,they will change. Brady

Actually I think in this case the problem was the plant was potted and it was root bound. All the leaves turned red and I ended up having to dig it up and open up the root system a bit and replant it. After talking with a blueberry farmer in the area. The bareroot blueberries are doing fine in comparison, I think planted bareroot blueberries is much easier rather than potted plants that have already leafed out.

That’s interesting.The first Blueberries I ever planted,were done the same way and grew very slowly and it made me wonder why.It’s been too long a time to remember about the leaf color.
Now it’s automatic to tear at the roots of a potted planted,before placing in the ground.
I hope yours gets going. Brady

I know this is an old thread, but since my question is similar I figured I’d try posting here.

I have one blueberry (Northland) that has a few reddish leaves on the new growth. I have three other varieties growing in the same medium right next to the Northland and none show any red leaves. They are all growing in pots, full of pure peat moss with a bit of water absorbing gel mixed in. I have watered them a few times with well water, but most of the water has come in the form of timely rains. Do I need to further acidify the soil or is this variety just prone to reddish leaves? Some other problem I’m unaware of (first year growing blueberries)?

I had the same problem a few years back with a potted blueberry and after checking the pH it was way too low I flooded with freshwater and it came back.

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You wont know if you need to acidify unless you do a soil acidity test. But whatever you do don’t use those meters with prongs, they are horribly inaccurate. Here’s my process:

Get 1/4 cup of soil from 2-3" below surface (sample from a couple different areas around the plant), mix with 1/2 cup distilled water, stir / shake vigorously and let sit for 1 hour. Filter through coffee filter (optional) and measure pH with pH strips or similar.

While you’re at it you should test the acidity of your well water. Ideally, you want to water blueberries with pH 4.8 water.

FYI straight peat has pretty much no nutrients in it. You might want to add any kind of liquid fertilizer (at 1/2 strength) now and a slow release fertilizer (something like Espoma Holly-tone) to provide nutrients for the rest of the season.


Thanks for the info. Any particular type of ph strips I should look for or avoid?

These are great, Fruitnut pointed me to them
I like the 4.0-7.0 strips. So easy to read. Are on plastic, don’t bleed.
I stick the strips right in the soil after a good rain and leave 10 minutes, and I get good readings. Once was right at 4.0. My soil was way to acidic! Yikes!

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For the most part, they are all alike, you can only get so much accuracy out of pH test strips. If I were buying some I would get this one on Amazon, they cover a smaller pH range of 4.5 to 9 which is perfect because you really only need to know if you are in the 4.5 to 5.5 range.

EDIT: Or better yet get this one, its $10 for 16ft of pH tape that covers the 4-7 pH range

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Thanks, edit, I just ordered some. I also have one of those prong things, but seldom use it.

I like pH test strips, calibrating machines is such a hassle. Often needing corrections with every use. At least in the lab I worked in. I still prefer the ones I mentioned even though twice as much. Many commercial operations use Cholorphast strips, these are commercial grade. Plus the firm plastic strips make it easy to use. I don’t care for the pure paper indicators. I never liked them. They look excellent though, they will get the job done!

Thanks, I went ahead and ordered the stuff on the second link you provided. I had figured peat moss was pretty much nutrient deficient, but so far the blueberries appear to be growing pretty decently. They’ve put a bunch of new growth and to my untrained eye, appear healthy (except for the few reddish leaves on the Northland). Should I be fertilizing them this late in the year at my northern location? I don’t want to encourage new growth that doesn’t harden off in time for winter.

I would only fertilize the ones that seems to be struggling and try to use a lower nitrogen fertilizer like 3-4-4, 4-6-5, 9-12-14, etc… plants still need nutrients even when they are going dormant and the low nitrogen formula won’t encourage too much new growth.

When in doubt use it at 1/2 strength.

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