Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blueberry bushes

Dear Anne,

I have three to four blueberry bushes in my yard in Matthews NC. I have
just realized that they are all dead! One side of one is still green but
is being taken over by all the dead leaves. I have never seen it this

Usually it turns colors and then the leaves fall, I think. I do not
recall it ever being dead. What do I do now? Prune it? Dig it up? Will
it come back in the spring?

Two of the bushes are over 10 feet tall and needs to be cut back either
way! Any information would be greatly appreciated!

Erin G.
Matthews, NC

Anne's response:

The heat and drought of the summer have been hard on blueberries and azaleas. If the plants were not heavily mulched the roots may have dried to the point that the plants are permanently damaged. If the plants were mulched and the plants were generally healthy until late August they may have gone into early dormancy. I would not do anything until the time they break dormancy in the spring. If stems of the plants are really dead you should know it by April and you can prune or remove as needed.

You do need to prune the very tall plants. I prune my own by removing the oldest and tallest trunks at ground level so the plant will produce new growth from the roots.

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