Iron Deficiency in Container Blueberry

shazaam(NC 7B)May 30, 2011

One of my potted blueberries is showing signs of iron deficiency (no more than a dozen leaves on one shoot at this point). I collect the water from my air conditioner's condensation drip and use that whenever possible, but I use tap water when the air conditioner isn't running. I have hard water, so I add a tbsp of white vinegar to every gallon, as well as a 1/4 tsp of Pro-Tekt and 1/4 tsp of Miracid. The tbsp of vinegar is just a guess, but it's seemed to have worked in the past. This year, though, it's obviously not up to the task. I can make an immediate change to the a/c condensation water (we'll be in the mid-90's for at least a week, so the a/c will definitely be running), but are there any other emergency measures that I can or should take in the short term?

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Depends on how much work you want to do. If you can get a hold of a good pH test kit from a hydroponics shop (the standard is a 2 inch vial of testing reagent, and a very small test tube) - then you can figure out how much vinegar you really need to add. You can also try pH testing kits from places that sell pool or aquarium supplies, but they usually don't have a large enough range for this application.

1 tbsp of vinegar / gallon is actually not a lot. If you have hard water, the common recommendation is 1 oz. vinegar / gallon of water. Even up to 2 oz. / gallon should be fine, especially for acid loving plants like blueberries.

If you want immediate results, you can also just use a mineral foliar feed. In big box stores, they're often labeled as for citrus, but as long as "iron" is on the bottle - you should be fine. I keep a fertilome iron product around for chlorosis emergencies, though its probably just for peace of mind more than anything - a plant can only respond so fast, and the conditions that cause the chlorosis have to be corrected anyway.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 12:29AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

I'm not an expert on blueberries. I'm growing two in containers this year. From everything I've read on this and in the Fruit forum, I only fertilize once per week, and I don't use the FP, which is nitrate based, on blueberries. It was suggested to use Miracle Grow (I also add epsom salts because my mix has gypsum in it) on the blueberries. They like urea based nitrogen better. I hope I made sense. I also add approx. 2 tablespoons of vinegar per gallon of water. My tap water has a pH of almost 8. My blueberries look good so far. I've only had them about a month, and there's already 6" of new growth.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 1:39PM
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And to add to both Edweather and Greentigers cooments which are very good, I would also ask myself if temps are playing a role too.

If your pots are in the sun and the temps are hovering well into the 90's while at night no lower than the 70's, the bush is not going to take nutrition reliably up no matter what you do for it until those temps come down a bit. One thing many fail to overlook is overheated pots which can cause overheated roots and then deficiencies..

Just about any acid loving plant I grow in pots turns a bit yellow in heat waves until the cooler weather returns or I take them out of the hot sun. I also try and keeps roots cooler by proving something white wrapped around the pots, or stick them in another bigger pot with mulch in-between to carry them through very hot weather.

Once your weather cools a bit, I'll bet they will return green again. I bet they starting turning yellow once the hot weather started and stuck around..Did they? I think you might have them in full sun which is a requirement for blueberries, but not HOT which can be a curse too. Like a two edged sword. But you can get around that.

I hope you bring them back to the green you want for them again. I hope to see pics of that tree once you get a bushel of fruit. Yum


    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 4:25PM
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littleluey(Zone 9)

someone had mentioned before to use reverse osmosis water, does anyone do this for blueberries? Seems like i will be catching the Ac water as well.
i just got one a few days a go and i like to do this right

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 5:46PM
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