I live in Sunset zone 17. I purchased a pair of blueberries in February. I transplanted them into five gallon pots, and used a mix of potting soil and coconut coir that drains pretty well. I also amended with sulfur to make the soil more acidic, and have given them an E.B. Stone fruit tree/bush fertilizer once every couple of months.

One, a sunshine blue, has been doing great the whole time. It is still producing nice healthy growth. The other is an earliblue, and it has been getting steadily sicker. Initially, the leaves curled down, but were mostly still a nice green. They started browning (and becoming brittle) from the center of the leaves. Some of the newer growth is also looking chlorotic.

I thought the bush might be getting root bound, so I transplanted both blueberries into a single large oak barrel with roughly the same soil mix. The sunshine blue is still looking happy, but the earliblue symptoms continue to get worse. The picture shows some of the worst leaves on the bush (I've been removed leaves as I notice them).

I think my watering is not the problem. I have not let the soil dry out completely, but it is never soggy either. I would appreciate any help figuring out what is going on.

damaged blueberry leaves

  • 1
    Have you tested the soil to see what the pH levels are?
    – The Flash
    Oct 5, 2014 at 23:46
  • Not yet. I had looked around to see if this was a symptom of acidity issues. I didn't see anything that indicated it was, so I haven't purchased a soil pH tester yet. If the problem seems likely due to soil that is too neutral, I will get a pH tester.
    – jdmcbr
    Oct 6, 2014 at 3:22
  • It may be too acidic - the browning visible in the pics is all in between leaf veins, indicating a problem with nutrients - magnesium shortage could be the issue, specially if the soil is overly acid, though why only one plant is suffering is a bit of a mystery
    – Bamboo
    Oct 9, 2014 at 16:59

3 Answers 3


Two suggestions:

  • As it seems you are aware blueberries like acid soil, it may be a good idea to check the soil ph and make sure it's correct, the incorrect ph may be causing a nutrient deficiency.
  • It could also be a fungus (which may result indirectly from the incorrect ph).

I think the best place to start is by testing the soils ph.

These may be useful to read:

If your Blueberries are potted, the easiest way would be to buy acid potting soil from the nursery.

  • I've been using sulfur for acidity, as I said in my question. It looks like I'll just buy a pH kit, which was my plan if no one here had any specific ideas about the issue.
    – jdmcbr
    Oct 7, 2014 at 17:46

A couple things to check for, aside from the pH levels, would be the Nitrogen and the Nitrates. The Nitrogen content should be fairly high, and the Nitrate content low. It's possible that high nitrates could be causing the burn.

Another thing to watch out for, is when you water, don't water the leaves of the plant, as it increases the likeliness of fungus growth.

  • Okay, I'll take a look at whether there is high nitrate content in any fertilizer I've given them. I do not water the leaves.
    – jdmcbr
    Oct 7, 2014 at 17:43
  • @jdmcbr, You should check your soil, also. Soil can contain too many nitrates even when it isn't fertilized. It's uncommon, but it can happen.
    – J. Musser
    Oct 7, 2014 at 22:58

enter image description hereLooks like sunburn to me. My leaves looked the same and it was from full sun all day long in high heat dry climate we have in NM.i had to move to afternoon shade

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