Blueberry bushes produce but don't grow.


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I planted 10 one to 3 year old blueberry bushes in 2015. Almost all produced ok in 2016 and very well in 2017/18.
The problem is, I think it's a problem, is that the bushes themselves haven't gotten very big. I have 5 different types.
Almost 5 years in the ground and most are under 3 feet tall. Last year I had one Patriot bush shoot a single cane 18" above the rest of the bush. I thought "that's more like it", but that was it. I have 2 Jersey bushes that are at the 3 foot mark and very full. But even those, I believe, should be taller.

I fertilize in the spring with ammonium sulfate. They look full, healthy and green. And produce fairly well. Not sure why the are stunted. Maybe not enough water. Maybe too much water, though I doubt that. Any ideas?

Oh, I did have my soil tested in 2017 and the ph in that area ranged 5.1 - 5.4. I will have it tested again this week.

Thanks....
 
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Try a broader spectrum of micro nutrients including seaweed for the hormone load, and Rhodendron or Azealea fertilizer. Your pH is low enough as it is, you probably do not need to drive it lower. Ammonium sulfate or acid lover fert will do it. You might consider some composted manure as well. Pine bark composted manure would be an idea. Cattle manure tends to the higher pH so chicken or horse or others would do. The hormone for cell elongation is called auxin. Products like superthrive and rooting compounds are auxins. The seaweed is a safe way to apply all the hormones and mineral goodies in case there is a reason they are not there. Low auxin makes for dwarf plants. Your test will be insightful. Let us know?
 
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It sounds to me as if your NPK is out of balance. Ammonium sulfate alone is not good. As @DirtMechanic stated, liquid seaweed or kelp is full of needed trace minerals, that, and a good organic fertilizer is probably all you will need.
 
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Thanks for the replies. It seems as if you are both on the same page, which is good because I find the whole fertilizing thing confusing at times. So, this is what I intend to do using the products I have easiest access to. Fertilize with Espoma Organic Azalea-Tone (4-3-4) along with Superthrive and liquid seaweed.

If I am wrong please let me know. As far as application I am guessing the Azalea-Tone would be twice in the spring. As for the other two the directions state how much, but I am not sure as to how often or even if I should use both. All the bushes are mulched with pine bark. I do rake it out of the way when I fertilize and add a little more mulch in the fall.

Here’s a strange question. When applying any fertilizers and such, do I treat the bushes as to their size or age? I ask because they are about 6 – 7 years old but look like they are 3 – 4. Some directions mention the plants age when determining the application amount. Just curious.

Thanks again…………….
 
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Thanks for the replies. It seems as if you are both on the same page, which is good because I find the whole fertilizing thing confusing at times. So, this is what I intend to do using the products I have easiest access to. Fertilize with Espoma Organic Azalea-Tone (4-3-4) along with Superthrive and liquid seaweed.

If I am wrong please let me know. As far as application I am guessing the Azalea-Tone would be twice in the spring. As for the other two the directions state how much, but I am not sure as to how often or even if I should use both. All the bushes are mulched with pine bark. I do rake it out of the way when I fertilize and add a little more mulch in the fall.

Here’s a strange question. When applying any fertilizers and such, do I treat the bushes as to their size or age? I ask because they are about 6 – 7 years old but look like they are 3 – 4. Some directions mention the plants age when determining the application amount. Just curious.

Thanks again…………….
There is no specified time to use organic fertilizers. Unlike chemical/oil based fertilizers you can use them whenever you want and it is hard to use too much, again unlike chemical fertilizers. SuperThrive is good stuff although it is not organic. I have not used it in the manner in which you will but it certainly won't hurt anything. I use liquid seaweed all year long on everything as I mix it into my compost tea. As far as the size or age of a plant when using organics it doesn't matter. I am an old believer in the theory of too much is just right when using organic fertilizers. In your case I would fertilize about every month until you can see plant growth. After that I would slow down to ever 3 or 4 months. After the 2nd year twice a year.
 
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Okay Chuck, will do. Any specific liquid seaweed you find better than others? Also, I noticed that the ingredients for Azalea-Tone are exactly the same as Holly-Tone which I know my wife buys a lot of. I will reply if there is any change or no change.

Just a quick note. Last year I made 5 bird netting boxes out of PVC. I covered 5 bushes and left the 5 lest productive for the birds. A rabbit
got into one of the covered blueberry bushes and chewed every cane down to about a foot off the ground. It was one of my best bushes. I can't understand why he/she didn't go for one of the uncovered bushes. I have used PLANTSKYDD Repellent since. Will see what happens.

Much appreciated. Thanks, Rich
 
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Okay Chuck, will do. Any specific liquid seaweed you find better than others? Also, I noticed that the ingredients for Azalea-Tone are exactly the same as Holly-Tone which I know my wife buys a lot of. I will reply if there is any change or no change.

Just a quick note. Last year I made 5 bird netting boxes out of PVC. I covered 5 bushes and left the 5 lest productive for the birds. A rabbit
got into one of the covered blueberry bushes and chewed every cane down to about a foot off the ground. It was one of my best bushes. I can't understand why he/she didn't go for one of the uncovered bushes. I have used PLANTSKYDD Repellent since. Will see what happens.

Much appreciated. Thanks, Rich
I haven't noticed that any particular brand is better than others. I may be wrong but I don't think there is much difference in the fertilizers when they are named Azalea Tone, Tomato Tone or any other name. It is the NPK amounts/ratio that actually matters and all organic fertilizers have low numbers so I think that the naming of them is just a marketing gimmick. As far as rabbits go I am a firm believer that the ONLY remedy for them is to use a HVLP product. It works every time it is used if applied properly. :D
 
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HVLP ...... I'll be up all night trying to figure that one out. I believe I know what it pertains to and I did try it twice.....though I didn't apply it properly/accurately. They are always out there especially at night.... so shows the trail cam. And not once in 4 years did they bother those bushes. Yes, The NPK is the same as are all the calcium, potash etc. amounts. Must be a gimmick. ............ HaveVeryLittlePatience? I'll keep trying.
 
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HVLP ...... I'll be up all night trying to figure that one out. I believe I know what it pertains to and I did try it twice.....though I didn't apply it properly/accurately. They are always out there especially at night.... so shows the trail cam. And not once in 4 years did they bother those bushes. Yes, The NPK is the same as are all the calcium, potash etc. amounts. Must be a gimmick. ............ HaveVeryLittlePatience? I'll keep trying.
Nope, High Velocity Lead Projectile. Many folks on this forum get a tad upset when it comes to eliminating rodents.
 
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I had not measured in a while. I went out and checked the pH on the blueberries and ours is about 4 pH. The blackberries about 4.5 pH. That is amazingly low to me. Its probably easier here because our clay soil is 5-5.5 pH on its own. Also a female kitten will handle a lot of nocturnal hunting needs.
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I had not measured in a while. I went out and checked the pH on the blueberries and ours is about 4 pH. The blackberries about 4.5 pH. That is amazingly low to me.
That is really low. What are you testing with? I think I'd try different tests and see if they are all the same.
 
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That is really low. What are you testing with? I think I'd try different tests and see if they are all the same.
Not really. Think about a natural soil state of 5 to 5.5 where we have been putting ammonium nitrates and even sulphur and pinestraw for 15 years or more. If anything I am going to move to raise it a bit but the berries produce in scads. We have two types.
 
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Not really. Think about a natural soil state of 5 to 5.5 where we have been putting ammonium sulphate and even sulphur and pinestraw for 15 years or more. If anything I am going to move to raise it a bit but the berries produce in scads. We have two types.
You're probably right. I guess I am a little jaded because I have been trying to lower mine for years. Mine stays about 7.8-8.4
 
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There are cats on the trail cam all the time. But the rabbits have the numbers. There is even the occasional coyote, but again, the rabbits have the numbers.

I would love it if my blueberry bushes were half that height... even a third would be nice. I did plant 2 blackberries in 2017 and got some nice berries last year. They don't seem to have a problem growing at all. I will takes some photos tomorrow when I go out and get some soil samples. I send the samples in to the state and they send me a nice Free report.
 
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