En Español

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 Diseases and Disorders Questions

Care for heritage roses
October 07, 2007 - Dear Mr. SmartyPlants, I took some cuttings from an antique rose my grandmother had.I had good luck , had some of them grow for me. Some of them have blooms and others are long and lanky stems but n...
view the full question and answer

Should I use wound paint when pruning my live oak tree?
February 04, 2010 - When trimming live oak branches, is it best to coat the wound on the tree? I have been doing this but have recently heard that it can actually be bad for the tree.
view the full question and answer

Black rot at center of Agave from Clovis CA
May 12, 2013 - We have some beautiful variegated "Green & Cream" Agave plants in our cactus garden. One in particular has done quite well for several years and is the largest, about 18" tall & across, it has neve...
view the full question and answer

Why is my Ash drooping?
June 22, 2009 - Last spring, I bought a house in Austin, TX with a large Ash tree in the front yard. It looked fine last year, but has been looking funny since it leafed out this spring. It's as if the leaves are we...
view the full question and answer

Will damage to live oak root make it more susceptible to oak wilt
December 24, 2012 - Hi. I knicked the root of a live oak when digging. Will this hurt the tree and make it more succeptible to wilt? Is there something I can use to protect the exposed part of the root and make it les...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center