Blueberry – Yellow Leaves

Q: I have four blueberry bushes that are six years old. This year the leaves on two of the bushes are turning yellow but not falling off. Do they need more water or are they missing a mineral? I don’t want to lose any of them!

A: When leaves are yellow with green veins, the condition is called chlorosis. It is usually caused by a lack of iron in the leaves. There is plenty of iron in Georgia soil….so why is your blueberry not getting enough?

My guess is that the pH of your soil is too high. When soil pH is 4.8 to 5.5 iron is chemically able to be absorbed by the blueberry roots. As the pH approaches 6.0, iron becomes less and less available. Blueberries, like azaleas, thrive in acid soil but become chlorotic when the soil pH is above 6.0.

To know your exact soil pH you need to have a soil test done by your local Extension service (call 404-897-6261). If you don’t want to wait for the results, try sprinkling .5 pounds of sulfur per 100 square feet of area around your blueberries. Sulfur acidifies the soil, making iron more available. For a temporary solution, spray the foliage with iron-containing nutrient solution, such as Ironite(tm).

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