Blueberries – Dying Due to Soggy Soil

Q: Blueberries are my all-time favorite food so I was very excited when my husband planted three bushes in the backyard this spring. Two of the three are holding their own, but not really growing, and the third looks absolutely pitiful.

We dug three holes, two feet in diameter and about a foot deep. We spaced them four feet apart. We filled the holes with moisture control garden soil and then put pine bark nuggets on top. We watered them in real good. The past couple of weeks my husband has given them a good soaking every five days or so.

Any thoughts?

A: I think you drowned them. The bagged “garden soil” should be mixed 50:50 with native soil (as it says on the label), which gives drainage. Without native soil, the “garden soil” holds too much water.

The mulch and the rain and irrigation added to the problem.

You MIGHT be able to save them by removing and replanting correctly. Or you could take them back to the nursery and ask for a refund.

Side Note: I’m distressed that the manufacturer calls this “garden soil”. You can be forgiven for assuming it is appropriate for planting the blueberries. Soil contains minerals, organic matter, water and air. I wish this product was labeled “soil amendment”, since that’s what it is.

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