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Blueberry leaf tips & bees

Posted by Sugi_C none (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 2, 13 at 16:12

This morning, during my obligatory morning glanceover of all things growing, I noticed about 5 leaf tips on my blueberry plant (only Misty -- not Southmoon) were browning. They looked sort of burnt (?) and it was only on the newest growth.

Leaf burn?

apr2 (4)

Then about an hour later, a bee came by. No idea what kind of bee - very dark, so I presume it's not a bumble bee. Anyway -- I let it be and it sat and "sucked" (or whatever it is a bee does) on one of these burnt leaves for about 30-40 seconds, and then went to another one (also burnt) and did it again, then left. I get why the bees come to the blossoms; why on earth is the bee attracted to this? Or did the bees cause it, whatever this is?

Perhaps I am worrying about nothing -- but maybe not. So I thought I'd ask here to see what the blueberry gurus can tell me about it.

The plants look quite healthy and happy otherwise. :-)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Blueberry leaf tips & bees

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 2, 13 at 16:29

I have seen similar burnt leaf tips on blueberry shrubs in my yard that were started as bare-root stock in the spring. The burnt tips might show up in July. I think they are a sign of poor water uptake by the roots, and since I keep the shrubs watered, I think it is the roots themselves that are not quite developed and fully functional. It helps to limit the amount of sunlight the shrubs receives, which reduces the metabolism going on in the leaves, and reduces the demand for water. A few weeks of partial shade has worked, giving the plant more time to adapt to summer sunlight conditions.

RE: Blueberry leaf tips & bees


The reason your shrubs do that is you place them in a bowl of isn't too little water it is TOO MUCH. Roots need O2 to work correctly.


The bee is innocent:)

1. What type of soil do you have them planted in?

2. how often are you watering?

3.Have you fertilized lately? If yes with what?

Brown tips of new growth are caused by salt damage (fertilizer or tap water) too much water or too little. If you answer those questions we can narrow it down.

RE: Blueberry leaf tips & bees

I've also seen high winds, like with cold fronts, cause the new weak shoots to rub on other leafs which cause blackend leaf tips. The last couple cold fronts did this to my new growth on a bunch of them.

RE: Blueberry leaf tips & bees

  • Posted by Sugi_C 10a - SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 2, 13 at 17:57

Hi, Bamboo �"

The soil is one that a really great nursery close to me makes onsite with potting soil, peat, sulfur, etc. added in �" and sells specifically for blueberries. It is quite loose, crumbly and has a good amount of bark in it. OVERALL, aside from these brown tips, the two plants seem to be doing well in it. Lots of blossoms (that are now browning/dropping and have been for a few weeks) and if anything, the soil seems to dry out too quickly. I used to water once a week, then it was every five days, and these days, every three days, the soil feels dry and crumbly (but cool) even if I put my whole hand in. It's been really nice here lately -- around mid 70s -- and I did think that was a bit too quick to dry. But for that reason, I have been watering every 3-4 days these days.

Lightbulb moment:
That does remind me of one thing I've done differently as of late. I bought this nifty indoor hose and attachment thingie -- and I've been using tap water rather than the tap + vinegar concoction I normally use to hand water.... could that be it?

Fertilizer: for these blueberries, I've generally used MG Acid for Azaleas, etc. Once in awhile, I'll use Foliage Pro that I use for all the other plants when I get lazy to make a new batch, but generally speaking (95% of the time), the blueberries, gardenias and azalea receive the Miracid in about 1/4-1/2 dosage (+ about a tbsp of vinegar / gallon).

Eric, the bushes have been planted since about the end of January. To date, I didn't really notice any root uptake symptoms but I suppose anything is possible. Both bushes are putting out a lot of new growth very quickly instead of just blossoms now as it warms up.

Blueboy, so eventually, once the winds stopped, the browning stopped?

RE: Blueberry leaf tips & bees

Yes, it grows out of it. If it was wind that caused the damage!

RE: Blueberry leaf tips & bees


It sounds to me like you have been doing everything right. If your water has chlorine that is probably not ideal but if applied in a spray almost all of the chlorine dissipates to the air anyway. Continue to use the vinegar though. My bet is they got too dry at some point and that caused the issue.

RE: Blueberry leaf tips & bees

I agree with B.....It is most likely a water issue. The wind-related problems stated above probably are a drying out issue. I are doing a lot of things correctly. Consider an inexpensive moisture meter from your hardware store. Mine costed around $10-$12 and works fine. It allows you to stick the probe down to the center of the rootball and see what is really the moisture situation.

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