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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Japanese Blueberry Leaves Falling and Canopy Thinning

Q. My problem is with my Japanese Blueberry trees. Leaves seem to fall prematurely, browning and yellowish. One of the trees bark is peeling off and appeared to be dry. There are no visible insects but I do not know what to find anyway. I have spent so much money on them for them to die. Please help.
Not the readers but Japanese blueberries planted along a
block wall.
A. Japanese blueberries planted in a desert environment is like a square peg in a round hole; it will fit but you have to use a hammer. Japanese blueberries will require a soil heavily amended at the time of planting and organic mulch on the surface of the soil after planting.  It will do terribly in south or western exposures in full sun or in rock mulches. 
            If you planted this Japanese blueberry from a 15 gallon container then it will require about 15 gallons of water each time you water.  The amount of water must increase from this amount as the plant gets larger from year to year. 
            This can be accomplished by adding minutes to your existing irrigation schedule at each watering or adding additional emitters.  The frequency in the application of water, but not the number of gallons per application, will vary from season to season. 
            There is generally are a winter schedule, spring schedule, summer schedule, fall schedule and back to a winter schedule which means you should increase the number of times you irrigate per week about four times each year.  These schedules will coincide approximately with December 1, February 1, May 1, mid-June, mid-September and finally December 1 which completes the seasonal cycle. 
            Because your plant did not have the fullness that you would like, I would assume it is due to improper irrigation which may also lead to infestation with borers.  Pull off the loose bark at you see and look for damage in the wood do too boring insects.  This would include sawdust under the bark and perhaps elliptical exit holes from the trunk under the damaged area.  If the damage is more than half way around the trunk then I would replace the plant.


  1. Could someone tell me why there are so many leaves dropping constantly from these trees? Tim

  2. These trees do drop a lot of leaves...but, generally the problem is the soil...either not enough drainage or a lack of iron. Just putting iron down could work if the soil will allow it..it's better to amend the soil with some good compost and check the PH of the soil and then add some iron - maybe even some sulfur.