“My blueberry plants have yellow leaves. Why is this happening and what can I do?” -Question from Emily of Columbus, Ohio
ANSWER: Your blueberries have chlorosis. This is caused by a soil pH problem. Blueberries like acid soils between 4.5 and 5.5. When soils are too alkaline (have a higher pH) blueberry plants cannot access necessary nutrients, and their leaves start to turn yellow. Thankfully, this problem is easy to fix.
First, it helps to determine the pH of your soil. Take a soil sample to your local Ohio State University Extension Service (click here for instructions). Once you get the results, you will know how much you need to lower your soil’s pH for your berries.
You can lower soil pH by amending with Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss and adding a soil acidifying fertilizer around the base of the plants. Aluminum sulfate will quickly lower soil pH; there are also other brands of soil acidifiers and acid fertilizers specialized for crops like blueberries. Follow the instructions on the packaging to adjust the pH around your blueberries, and they should bounce back in no time!
Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.
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