Out of my league

My blueberry bushes are sick and googling the symptoms only showed me that I have no idea. I found fantastic photos of nutrition deficiencies, chemical injuries and great basic info. I became a fan of Mark Longstroth at the University of Michigan Extension Service. But nothing looked like the strange red pattern on my plants.

The more I searched, the more I noticed different “extension services” so I looked that up and I am amazed! How have Extension Services existed, offered so much to the community, and I had no idea?

Lane County Extension Service

I contacted my local Lane County Extension Service yesterday and I love them! I gave them information over the phone and then emailed photos. Within hours they replied that they need to put my plants under the microscope, so today I dropped off clippings. Within an hour, they emailed with a diagnosis.

My plants need more water. Now I know. No charge. Relief!

Dear Brooke,

Our diagnosis is insufficient irrigation. The tips of leaves will be the first part of a leaf to die because it is the farthest from the roots. If you look at the berries them are also rather dessicated from lack of enough water.

We suggest that you either install drip irrigation with three to four drippers around each plant at the drip line. The drip line is the area where if watered  from above, which we do not recommend, water would not be obstructed by foliage.

If you do not wish to install drip irrigation you could get soaker hoses and put them at the drip line.

In either case they should be put under the landscape cloth mentioned in our plant problem diagnosis form. We recommend watering every other day for at least an hour and checking the soil 6” down to determine is this is too much or too little to adjust as needed. All soils are different so it is not possible to know what will be appropriate. Don’t let the soil dry, just keep it moist, not soggy.

We hope this is helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions on this or any other gardening problems or questions.

Master Gardener, Lane County

The area: in May vs today (August)

The left-side bush – Northland Northern Highbush Blueberry

The center bush – Blueray Northern Highbush

The right-side bush – Legacy Northern Highbush


How to irrigate?

Soaker Hose temporarily
Here’s the soaker hose in the blueberry patch – a temporary measure.

It was 100-degrees today so I’m in a flurry, between my full-time job, to learn irrigation. I’m looking up soaker hoses versus drip hoses and not finding good do’s/don’ts to help me pick which.

This video about soaker hoses has helped the most.

On my way home, I picked up a 50-foot soaker hose and looped it twice around the patch (supposed to loop once, keeping it around 18-inches apart) and on top of the landscape fabric (supposed to be under). I don’t have the time to install it correctly and want to get water there immediately, so I’m hoping the second loop makes up for being above the fabric.

Poor blueberry bushes. I feel terrible.