En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Friday - July 25, 2008

From: Berlin, NH
Region: Northeast
Topic: Soils, Edible Plants, Shrubs
Title: Failure of highbush blueberry plant to produce in New Hampshire
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

One of my highbush blueberry plants completely stopped producing. What can I do to revive it?

ANSWER:

Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) is native to New Hampshire and most cultivated blueberries are varieties or hybrids of the highbush blueberry. They are accustomed to wet to dry acid, rocky soils, and are extremely susceptible to chlorosis due to alkalinity in the soil.

Proper fertilizing of blueberries can be a little tricky. They evolved with shallow roots in low-nutrient acidic environments, and roots are easily burned by fertilizer. Yet, to get good fruit production demands fertilizer in late winter or early spring and again in late spring. One recommendation is for slow-release acid fertilizers such as those for rhododendrons and evergrees. Avoid concentrated fertilizers near the blueberries, and do not fertilize later than June. Another possibility is to use shredded hardwood bark or composted bark to mulch and shelter the roots from the cold and also to continue to add acidity to the soil, without disturbing the shallow roots for fertilizers.

Some of the stresses on blueberries that can cause reduction in production are insufficient sun, insufficient water or poor soil drainage. Young bushes need minimal trimming. Fruit is produced on second-year wood, so excessive pruning should be avoided. Most cultivars require cross-pollination with another cultivar. They are pollinated by bees, so avoid insecticides to encourage the natural bee population.

That's about all we could find that might be affecting the production of your highbush blueberry. Compare the conditions in which they are growing in your New Hampshire garden (approx. Zone 5a) and see what is wrong that you can fix.


Vaccinium corymbosum

Vaccinium corymbosum

Vaccinium corymbosum

Vaccinium corymbosum

 

 

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Native trees and shrubs for Austin
June 11, 2008 - Hello, I'm searching for a small or medium-sized endemic or native tree (or tree-like shrub) to feature in the front yard of my South Austin bungalow. I want something that provides dappled shade so...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Eugenia in Scottsdale AZ
June 02, 2012 - I have 5 eugenia topiaries in my courtyard in pots..I notice as the days here in Phoenix get hotter and dry (as usual) they are starting to look bad, even though they are under a shelter out of the di...
view the full question and answer

Small area native plant gardening for an apartment
November 14, 2008 - Mr.Smarty, We live in an apartment and are fortunate to have a small area, 5'x5', and so want color! Here in Houston the winters don't freeze much and the summers are HOT. Luckily, we are in the ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native dwarf palm leaves yellowing in Katy TX
March 30, 2013 - 1 month ago we planted dwarf palms, the leaves are turning yellow, does this mean we are over watering them? If so how much water do they require? Is there anything we can give them? We also have a fa...
view the full question and answer

What's attacking my Nellie Stevens Holly plants in Iredell, TX?
June 27, 2011 - I just bought 10 Nellie R. Stevens holly bushes and planted them as a screen. The leaves on some of the plants are at least half white - not yellow but white. Apparently they were like that when I b...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center