Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - June 28, 2007

From: Morgantown, WV
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Transplants, Shrubs
Title: Transplant shock in Vacccinum corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Answered by: Barbara Medford and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Blueberry plants - We planted Northland and Blue Crop, 2 of each. All 4 plants have some leaves that are turning brown. This starts at the tip of the leaf, eventually encompasses the entire leaf, and the leaf falls off. The soil pH is from 4.5 to 5. The plants get full sun. We make sure we water them regularly. What is happening to these beautiful shrubs?

ANSWER:

Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) is indeed a beautiful native plant and the cultivars you selected are among the best. Two possibilities occur to me regarding the leaf fall you are experiencing. The first is, it sounds like you just recently planted your bushes. Any plant, no matter how tough the plant nor how delicate the handling, will suffer some leaf fall from being transplanted. Many of the tiny little rootlets that bring moisture into the plant are damaged or lost, and the plant is expressing its displeasure by dropping some leaves. Transplant shock is exacerbated by full sun conditions. While your blueberry needs to be in full sun for maximum fruitset, it is a tough location for newly transplanted plants. A good mulch for the plant, some judicious pruning to reduce the plants' water demand and continued good irrigation should help your plants get over the transplant hump. Once established your blueberry bushes should bear fruit for decades. You and your neighborhood birds will enjoy them for years to come.

West Virginia University and Ohio State University have each published nice articles on growing blueberries. There are numerous other webpages online with similar information.

 

From the Image Gallery


Highbush blueberry
Vaccinium corymbosum

More Shrubs Questions

Soapberry suckers in Austin
July 23, 2011 - Western Soapberry. Cut it down many months ago. Now I have baby trees all over the lawn. Are these the berries or are they coming from roots even though some sprouts are quite a distance away. I pul...
view the full question and answer

Low water hedge for Sedona, AZ
August 19, 2009 - I'm looking for a shrub to plant along a 90' property line with my neighbor in Sedona, Arizona (high desert). Ideally, the shrub would grow to about 8' and would not require too much water. What wo...
view the full question and answer

Death of lantana in Bryan TX
March 28, 2013 - I would like to know what killed several new gold lantana in a single bed that died over the winter. They looked quite healthy last fall. I have several other new gold lantana that survived the wint...
view the full question and answer

Native small tree or shrub for container in San Angelo, Texas
July 01, 2010 - We live in San Angelo TX and are looking for some type of a bush/tree that will grow in a pot in a shaded area..we would like something that would grow to be about 5-6 feel tall and be rather narrow.....
view the full question and answer

Preservation of a Lantana Tree in New York
October 05, 2008 - I have a Lantana Tree that grew beautiful over the summer, now Winter is coming and I don't know what to do with this tree, I live in Monroe, New York. Could you please help me out. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.