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

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Sunday - April 29, 2012

From: Kernersville, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Edible Plants, Shrubs
Title: Problems with blueberries from Kernersville NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My blueberry plants have no leaves or scrawny ones. I have 13 plants, 5 of them are like this.

ANSWER:

There are 19 species of the genus Vaccinium (blueberry) in our Native Plant Database; we tried to narrow it down by selecting those native to North Carolina, which gave us 3: Vaccinium corymbosum (Highbush blueberry), Vaccinium fuscatum (Black highbush blueberry) and Vaccinium pallidum (Blue ridge blueberry).

The first thing we usually think of when a plant is leggy or scrawny is whether there is enough sunlight for that plant. However, we checked all three webpages and determine that blueberries all can thrive in sun, part shade or shade. So that doesn't appear to be the issue.

Since we have no personal experience with blueberries, we went hunting for some information from people who do. The first we would refer you to is from About.com: Gardening Pruning Blueberries and Blueberry Pests and Diseases. The main thing we took away from that is the need for regular pruning, especially of damaged or scrawny branches.

The second article has more to do with large-scale industrial blueberry production, but does seem to have some good suggestions. From North Carolina State University Blueberry Pest Management.

And, finally How To Grow Blueberries from Dummies.com. Sorry.

 

From the Image Gallery


Highbush blueberry
Vaccinium corymbosum

Black highbush blueberry
Vaccinium fuscatum

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