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Blueberry growers

Posted by prestons_garden 9B SZ 22 HZ 6 SoC (rpreston1000@yahoo.com) on
Thu, Jan 10, 13 at 20:23

I'm not sure if this is normal bud growth or mine are on steroids. I will hope for the latter, but if not, back to work I go. Maybe fruitnut will drop some helpful information or better yet contact me through my e-mail. All other suggestions are welcomed as I know there's a lot of growers that do very well with blueberry varieties.
Thanks,

Ron

Sharpblue Southern Highbush.

Photobucket


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Blueberry growers

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 10, 13 at 21:22

Ron:

Nothing wrong with your plants. Those look like overly vigorous shoots/flower buds. They sometimes send up these shoots that have few leaves and mostly over size fruit. It might be caused by excellent growing conditions, heavy fertilizer, and/or pruning.


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RE: Blueberry growers

friutnut,

"It might be caused by excellent growing conditions, heavy fertilizer, and/or pruning."

Most of that observation is correct. This year's experiment is focused on maximum production of fruit with a high brix and complex flavors. I would have to admit, if I didn't see your yields, I would never try to accomplish what I thought was impossible.

fruitnut, thanks for being a part of this forum and sharing your experiences with some great pics.


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RE: Blueberry growers

A full picture of the plant would be nice. I do see a lot of leaf shoot buds in there and it never hurts to have as many leafs as possible if your letting it fruit this spring. If so just prune it after its done fruiting and remove a few of the flower buds if you need to thin the load. If it was my plant, those really skinny shoots would get pruned out pretty quick though!


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RE: Blueberry growers

blueboy1977,
What shoot size do you determine to be skinny, 1/8", 1/4" etc.? I don't believe most of those are leaf shoot buds. Although you may be right, other parts of the plant that had very similar growth turned out to be all flowering buds. I am no expert on growing blueberries, such as other growers on this forum. Though this process didn't happen over night, success finally seems to be in sight.

Thanks for the feedback guys,

Ron


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RE: Blueberry growers

Preston,

If that is a young plant maximizing the yield is a good way to kill the plant. Getting huge flower production on a BB is quite easy.....they will bear themselves to death. Makes them a lot more susceptible to disease. It also hurts fruit quality.

Preston I agree most of those are fruit buds....some are skinny fruit buds though and will create smaller clusters of fruit.

I also 100% agree with Blueboy that they are skinny branches and it sure would be nice to see a shot of the entire plant.

This post was edited by bamboo_rabbit on Fri, Jan 11, 13 at 7:53


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RE: Blueberry growers

After this pic was taken yesterday, I loaned my camera out for a project. The thinnest branch is 1/8" and the thickest being 1/4". I don't believe this blueberry has too many branches less than 1/8" as I was the one doing the pruning. If pruning a 1/8" branch with these buds are necessary, please explain the reasoning behind it so I can understand.

The plant is 5 years old and is a great producer, my wife’s
favorite in taste.

All three responses are greatly appreciated, as I have read many of your posts and learned from them.

I do apologize as the scale of the plant branches are very difficult to read.

Ron

This post was edited by prestons_garden on Fri, Jan 11, 13 at 12:19


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RE: Blueberry growers

Ron,

BB tend to over produce flowers. It takes so much energy from the plant it weakens them. The commercial folks here prune to 6 fruit clusters per branch. Personally I prune to 5 max and on small branches 2. It will give you better quality fruit, better size fruit and is MUCH better for the plant. It is one of the reasons I like the sweetcrisps so much...they produce only a moderate # of fruit buds so I don't have to thin. I have 130+ BB bushes so thinning takes time. Of course last year old man winter pruned them for me and it looks like this year may be worse though we shall see.


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RE: Blueberry growers

bamboo_rabbit,

That is some helpful information and it makes sense. I hope you have success with your crop this year. I may look into the sweet crisp as it will replace a rabbiteye.


Ron


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RE: Blueberry growers

I couldn't have said it any better. When you get your camera back I would like to see a pic of your 5 year old sharp blue. I have a sharp blue also but it's only a year old and from what I've read it's a great variety. If you keep it alive five years your doing the right stuff so keep it up. I see alot of those shoots aswell and they do come on in the fall. I compair them to water sprouts on citrus. You can cut them off altogether or just trim them back. I have 2 young boys so i like to have some low fruit for them to pick and those shoots fit the bill. The thicker ones atleast. Bam, I'm noticing that Windsor doesn't seem to produce too many flower buds also. Is this your experience also with Windsor?


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RE: Blueberry growers

Blueboy,

Windsor I would say is middle of the road. Some like sweetcrisp produce less and some like Emerald are just nuts. I never have to prune the windsors much especially when they are 5+ years old. Speaking of pruning....as you know I have always pruned my SHB BB tall, some are over 6 feet tall. I did it to keep the fruit away from the ducks and chickens. I have rethought that strategy because the low BB are much less likley to be damaged by the cold. So......I have fenced in 2 of the 3 BB beds and will do the third one soon. But that means this summer I am going to have to do some serious pruning to move my branches lower. I am still debating at what height to hedge them off for the flush.


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RE: Blueberry growers

There are so many different opinions on where, if not exactly, should the pH be? I've seen a wide range of the pH with different plant responses, some good and some not so good.

Ron


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RE: Blueberry growers

Updated pic of the Sharpblue Southern Highbush, behind it is a Southmoon.

 photo DSC06711_zps5e528ca6.jpg


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RE: Blueberry growers

Nice! Thats a lot of flower buds!!! I believe you said the sharp blue is 4 years old? Have you ever thinned fruit buds on either of those plants?


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RE: Blueberry growers

blueboy1977,

No, I have never thinned any of the fruit. I will see if it's possible to have an overbearing bush with a high brix and complex flavors. I will post some pics of a sunshine blueberry which also seams to be doing ok.


Sunshine Blueberry
 photo DSC06712_zps7f8368ce.jpg

 photo DSC06716_zps5877edfe.jpg


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Mulberry:?

What would be a good Mulberry, to plant in my yard in southern IA? Rather heavy soil,, though I would add some good black Iowa dirt,,,Usually Hot, Humid summers. Thanks.


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RE: Blueberry growers

Prestons_Garden,

Are you sure that is a Sunshine Blue Blueberry? The Sunshine has pink blossoms. Forgive the crappy cell phone picture but here is a cluster on one of mine.


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RE: Blueberry growers

loneranger_grow,

Red mulberry or black mulberry will produce great tasting berries. I think the red is hardier than the black, but I'm not positive about that. Perhaps someone with more experience with mulberries will make a suggestion.

bamboo_rabbit,

Yes, it's a sunshine. I still have the id tag on the bush when it was purchased. I really don't have an explanation about the flower color, it's peculiar.


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RE: Blueberry growers

loneranger,
Illinois Everbearing is one that is very popular.I think it's a cross between a red and white Mulberry.
Black Mulberry (Morus nigra)may not survive in Iowa. Brady


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RE: Blueberry growers

Preston,

Tags don't mean much sometimes. Where did you buy it from? We have gone through this with sweetcrisps as well. I have 4 citrus trees in my yard that have tags that say they are XXXXXX but are, in reality YYYYYY.


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RE: Blueberry growers

bamboo_rabbit,

It was purchased from Monrovia. Sweetcrips verification was with another member but I did remember reading some of the posts that you are refering to. I highly doubt it's not a sunshine, but stranger things has happened.


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RE: Blueberry growers

Your blueberries look great, Ron. From another thread, I know that you grow your bushes in a pumice/peat blend topped with compost, and I gathered that you rely on organics for fertilization. If you don't mind my asking, what fertilizers do you use and what's your application schedule?


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RE: Blueberry growers

Newbie question: are blueberry bushes slow-growing? I bought one in spring of last year in a #2, and potted it in a #7 (Home depot 5 gal bucket with drain holes). The scrawny low growth didn't grow any bigger, but I got two new long canes (2' long) which are fruiting this season. Should I prune out the scrawny old growth? Several thin canes only 4" long with branching, but no new growth at all.


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RE: Blueberry growers

i hope i'm not derailing the thread too much, but speaking of sunshine blueberries, i've got one in my yard, in zone 10b, and, after having its leaves turn red, it has lost most of them. In the last couple of weeks though, it has developed flower buds at the ends of its stems, but no sign of leaf growth.

I probably had too high of a ph up until late fall, and have since fixed that with soil acidifier, but it still seems like the plant isn't doing that well. Is it normal for the sunshine blue variety to lose its leaves even in zones where it never reaches freezing at night?

Meanwhile, my 2 other blueberry plants are growing new leaves and and flower buds in seemingly healthy proportions, though none of them seem to be getting much large than when I planted them six months ago.

What do you guys think?

Here is a link that might be useful: Web link Pic of Sunshine Blue


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RE: Blueberry growers

Your sunshine blue is right on schedual and perfectly normal. Sunshine will tolerate higher ph soils than any other blueberry that Im aware of. Mine is exactly where yours is and Im in 9A/B where the two zones meet but on the Gulf Coast in Texas. It will probably retain the last few leafs at the tips of the branches. Atleast thats been my experience with sunshine blue. After the buds open and it flowers out then it will send out leaf shoots. No worries!!! With enough good quality water and fert your plants will take off this spring. Just be patient, growing blueberries is not a sprint, its a marathon;D


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RE: Blueberry growers

thanks blueboy1977!

exactly what i was hoping to hear- none of the guides i've read online mention in what order a blueberry bush flowers and grows new leaves, so i was a bit worried until now.

odd though, one of my other bushes with thicker, darker green leaves only lost a couple leaves on its newest branch. i guess different varieties have different schedules for when they lose their leaves, or don't lose them at all in mild weather?


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RE: Blueberry growers

That is correct! Ive got over 20 varieties of Southern High Bush and Rabbiteyes and all seem to have there own personalities when it comes to leaf retention, flowering, new shoot growth etc. Some like Emerald and Misty retain most all there leaf growth unless cold winters or leaf diease takes it toll. My Southmoon has lost most of its leafs but seems to be retaining the last few on the tips of the branches just like Sunshine Blue does. There all alittle different and thats what I like about them! They are so addicting to grow. I started out with 6 and with in 2 years had over 50. Now Im thing the heard alittle bit. 30 sounds like a good even number;D


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RE: Blueberry growers

Tehol,

The best scenario is leaves and flowers at the same time or leaves first though that never happens. What you don't want is a ton of fruit and no leaves. Your plants look fine and yours is definitely a Sunshine. While you said your PH was wrong you can tell by the leaves that the plant is happy.

Preston,

Your plant looks great, very well taken care of but isn't a Sunshine. Look on Tehols photo of the unopened flower buds see that deep dark pink? That is what the plant should look like. Unlike the sweetcrisp incident Monrovia would not mislabel on purpose but it does happen. Most blueberries are hard to tell apart but Sweetcrisp and Sunshine blue are a couple that are pretty easy.

This post was edited by bamboo_rabbit on Fri, Feb 1, 13 at 8:45


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RE: Blueberry growers

shazaam,

Unfortunately I can't tell you exactly what I'm using due to a contract. What I can tell you is the blueberries like a low pH and I would recommend a fertilizer for acid loving plants.

bamboo_rabbit,

I would have to disagree with your observation. I can post pics of the same plant 12/2012 that have the darker pink in the flowers that you mention. One of the main reasons it lacks the color in the pic above is due to a research project I'm doing. I am really pushing this bush to do what I thought was impossible. If you notice in the pic above, it has a lot of new leaves and buds in a short period.


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RE: Blueberry growers

Hmmmm...well, if at some point you'll able to share the details without breaking your contract, I'd be interested. I've relied exclusively on Miracid in previous years, but I'm going to begin integrating organic fertilizers this year. Keith at Backyard Berry Plants, a certified organic grower in Indiana, has been very helpful, but I've been trying to gather info about what works (or doesn't) from other blueberry growers, as well.


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RE: Blueberry growers

Shazaam, if you can find Micro Life Fertilizer 6-2-4 it's all organic and that's all I use on my plants. It's a Houston based company and I think they only sell here locally in Houston but that may have changed since the last time I checked. They have an Azalea fert also that has 14% sulfer already add. I don't use it cause my ph is already low enough so I use the regular Micro Life. Check out there web site, it's defiantly worth a shot. It's the best stuff around as far as I'm concerned.


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Thanks for the info, blueboy. I haven't encountered Micro Life before, but their website makes a very good first impression...


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RE: Blueberry growers

Preston,

You are in socal I would expect your plants to be a bit ahead of mine especially since they are potted. I would be interested in the pictures. So you are saying because you are pushing the plant it has lost it's natural bloom color???


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RE: Blueberry growers

Tue, 25 December 2012 10:28:25 AM

 photo DSC06395adjust_zps2a0fb672.jpg

Yes, that is one of my theories. This shot already shows the bright pink buds fading away.


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RE: Blueberry growers

Preston,

Many BB have pink immature blossoms. I have only seen one variety though that has vibrant almost neon pinkish red unopened flowers and that is Sunshineblue. Your plant lacks this coloration. While the mature flowers on sunshine do loose the pink the preblooms are always brightly colored, yours are not.

The leaf shape on your plant is also far more oblate than I have seen on the sunshine. Sunshine leaf shape is much less rounded, has a much greater length to width ratio than most blueberries.

In the last picture you posted it shows new growth that is chlorotic....I have never seen that on any of my nine sunshines. Other varieties of blueberries show it though even when the PH is near ideal when the plants are young or when it is a new bed or just for no good reason at all. Sometimes the new growth in the cold start of the season will cause it but not on sunshineblue.

Do a google image search on the sunshine blue and compare those pictures of bloom color in all stages of development to yours and compare the characteristic "shoestring" leaves of sunshine to your leaves. See what you think. Hope you don't take any of this personally......and you have not so far:) I commend you on that as some do.

If you are doing something culturally to make the plant change it's appearance so drastically I am intrigued...but I don't think it is possible.


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RE: Blueberry growers

bamboo_rabbit,

The new growth is chlorotic due to a high pH. I do actually appreciate you taking the time to respond and sharing your knowledge. I do believe the large leaves are something to due with giving it some snake oil. For know, I will call this bush, X-blueberry.


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RE: Blueberry growers

I have one bush that gets brilliant deep pink blossoms. I am not sure which variety it is, but I think it might be Patriot. I don't have any Sunshine Blue. Northwoodswis


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RE: Blueberry growers

Preston,

Glad you are taking it for what it is, simply a discussion. Sometimes online things get difficult. I don't help my case as I am of Greek lineage and we tend to lack the sugar coating or PC gene:)

Have you tested the PH with a meter? Reason I ask is sometimes cool weather will cause the coloration when the PH is ok.

Have you had fruit from the plant yet, last year? It will be another way to tell if it is a sunshine as the fruit that just turns blue is by far the worst tasting fully blue blueberries I have ever had. Generally no blueberries are good just when they first turn fully blue (except sweetcrisp) but sunshines are just terrible. After 10 days or so blue they get quite good. Most varieties at the just fully blue stage are bland but ok.

Look forward to hearing about the snake oil, how long is your experiment?


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RE: Blueberry growers

The pH is tested frequently with a Kelway pH meter and logged. This is the second year of the experiment and it has come a long ways. I really got tired of being so confused about what worked and why. So many different opinions but no one could ever explain any more than what was told by the rep for a particular product. Come to find out there is a lot of snake oil's on the market today because most of the public is sold by a well packaged product.

I am not trying to bash any company and or any rep, I have relationships with a lot of people in the industry and they all are great people. We all have to make a living, and so be it.

Back to the subject, the x-bush did produce last year and the flavors were very good. I will check for prior years of this plant and if I see anything worth discussing, I will post it.


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RE: Blueberry growers

I have been following this thread because there has been Lots of BB knowledge posted. I have a question for you guys. I dug up a piece of one of my blueberry plants last spring and potted it. It took off well so I left it in out in my greenhouse. Well I didn't think far ahead because it never seen any cold weather. How much damage have I caused? Should I plant it this spring? Should I put it out for the remainder of this winter, or just leave it in the greenhouse another year? It has been blooming all winter.

I thought about fertilizing it and just make it a resident of the greenhouse.


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RE: Blueberry growers

Krazy,

You didn't hurt it any. Just plant it out and it will go and get it's chill next winter.

Preston,

I didn't mean that the sunshine tasted bad just that when they first turn fully blue they are terrible. They have to sit on the bush blue for quite a few days before the flavor and sweetness develop.

I have never grown in a pot so not sure what products you mean. All I ever use is peat, pinefines and woodchips from the local utility. Add acid to the water, some ammonium sulfate and chem fert and that is it.

This post was edited by bamboo_rabbit on Sun, Feb 3, 13 at 9:01


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RE: Blueberry growers

Well, luckily I have pics from a few years back. I was getting ready to take a trip back to the nursery where the mysterious bluberry bush, (x-blueberry) was purchased. But hold on there, buy 2 x-blueberries for $9.99 while supplies last. lol

So will the real sunshine blueberry please stand up.....

 photo DSC03020name_zpsf377d69f.jpg

Later, I will look into the matter why the buds faded.

This was definitely an interesting thread.


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RE: Blueberry growers

I would say that is definitely a sunshineblue.


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RE: Blueberry growers

what a difference a month makes!

the first (bad quality) pic is my sunshine blueberry plant with new leaves on every branch. the second pic is of another bb plant (i can't remember the variety) which never lost its leaves over winter- it's doing even better, already putting out new shoots from the branches.

the plants are only on their 2nd years - i haven't pinched any of the flowers, or pruned any of the spindly branches near the base touching the ground- i get the feeling like i should I have, but is it too late to do so?

This post was edited by tehol on Mon, Mar 4, 13 at 19:13


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sorry, 2nd bb plant is here


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RE: Blueberry growers

tehol,
No,it's not too late.


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RE: Blueberry growers

Thanks Bradybb!


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RE: Blueberry growers

Does anyone know where I might find a Sweetcrisp near Austin?
I have a few plants in containers. You have convinced me that I'm missing out.
The online places I've found don't offer one or two plants.
Also, is it common for a plant to have a couple of berries ripen this early?


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RE: Blueberry growers

Just Fruits and Exotics will ship them to you. They are in Florida and Ive never had a problem with them or there plants. Southern High Bush Blueberries ripen early comapired to Rabbiteyes. Ive been picking SHB for 3 or 4 weeks now and Im in Houston.


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RE: Blueberry growers

Here's one other option...

Island Grove Ag Products


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