Blueberry Leaves Curling ( Top 5 Reasons )

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Blueberry plants are considered to be relatively disease and pest-resistant plants, although it mostly depends on the local climate and the type of blueberries you are actually growing. Way too many people jump on the bandwagon of starting to plant hundreds of blueberry bushes only to find that they can be challenging to grow. Blueberry bushes have very specific needs and if these needs are not met the plant will struggle.

One of the primary causes of blueberry leaves curling is incorrect watering practices. Insufficient water can deprive the blueberry plant of essential nutrients, resulting in leaf dehydration and curling. On the other hand, overwatering can lead to root rot, which can ultimately cause leaf death. It is crucial to strike a balance and provide the blueberry plant with adequate but not excessive water to maintain healthy foliage.

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If you have already researched in-depth how to plant the blueberry bushes, and how to take care of them, some plants will still struggle. You will need to hit a balance with the blueberry bushes, especially when it comes to soil PH, fertilizers, amount of sunlight, watering, and so on. The first sign that your blueberry bush isn’t doing great will be noticed on their leaves, if the leaves struggle then the entire plant also struggles.

There are a couple of reasons why blueberry leaves are curling, but you have to take a close look at the leaves and see if the leaves are curling up or curling down. This way you will be able to narrow the possible causes for it. If you are growing blueberries then you should definitely mulch them, for more information check out my recent article Grass Clippings As Mulch Pros And Cons ( Top 16 Pros and Cons ).

Blueberry Leaves Curling

One common cause of curling leaves is a fungal infection called blueberry leaf rust. This disease causes the leaves to curl, turn yellow or red, and develop orange or yellow spots on the undersides. To address this, I promptly remove and destroy the infected leaves to prevent further spread. Another potential cause of curling leaves is blueberry leafminer, a small insect that lays its eggs on the underside of leaves. The larvae feed on the leaf tissue, causing curling and blister-like bumps.

To combat this pest, I closely monitor my blueberry plants and apply organic insecticidal soap or neem oil to control the leafminer population. Environmental factors such as excessive heat, drought stress, or inadequate soil moisture can also lead to leaf curling. Therefore, ensuring proper watering, mulching, and providing shade during hot periods can help mitigate these issues.

Blueberry Leaves Curling Up

A lot of people when planting young blueberry bushes will plant them in a shaded area in order to protect their leaves for the first couple of weeks, as direct sunlight can actually damage them if they are freshly planted. If you see that the blueberry bush leaves are curling up then this is a tell-tale sign of them not getting enough direct sunlight. A lot of plants thrive with indirect sunlight but blueberry bushes really need direct sunlight in order to thrive.

In addition to this, some pests can also make the leaves of the blueberry bush curl up, such as caterpillars, so make sure to check the bottom side of the leaves as well, there might be a caterpillar pupating. If slugs and snails are eating away at the blueberry leaves then you might have a slug or snail problem, for more information check out my recent article How To Get Rid Of Slugs And Snails ( Top 19 Methods ).

Blueberry Leaves Curling Down 

Blueberry bushes need well-draining soil, and most of the time when you see their leaves curling down it is a sign that the soil is retaining way too much water. On the other hand, it might be a sign of either under or overwatering. If you tend to frequently water your blueberry bushes, then stop watering them for a week, and see if the leaves bounce back up. On the other hand, if you rarely water the blueberry bushes and the climate is relatively hot in your area then you might want to increase the frequency of watering.

If the blueberry leaves are curling down due to not enough water then you should definitely mulch them, as this retains moisture extremely well.

Blueberry Leaves Curling And Turning Red

If the leaves of your blueberry bush are both curling and turning red then the bush is definitely struggling. Usually, this tends to happen in the first couple of weeks after replanting, but sometimes it might start appearing on established blueberry bushes as well. One of the most possible causes for this is the lack of nutrients in the soil, blueberry bushes need Phosphorus, and Magnesium, without them, they will struggle.

Make sure to mix in the soil some fertilizer that is specially made for blueberry bushes, and observe it for a couple of weeks. If the problem still persists then it might be due to the incorrect PH level of the soil as blueberry bushes need a fairly acidic soil of around PH 4.5 – 4.8. If the leaves of your blueberry are curling due to pests then you should use garlic spray to keep them away, from more information check out my recent article How To Make Garlic Spray ( Extremely Potent ).

Blueberry Leaves Curling And Turning Yellow

When blueberry leaves curl and turn yellow then this is a telltale sign of iron deficiency in the plant. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the soil also lacks iron, usually what tends to happen is that the blueberry bush can not actually absorb the necessary iron which it needs. This tends to happen when the soil PH is way too high, the higher the PH level of the soil is the harder time the blueberry bush will have in absorbing the nutrients.

Make sure to check how acidic the soil actually is, once you amend the soil to be more acidic then you will see that the blueberry leaves will turn green again.

Blueberry Leaves Curling And Turning Brown

When the leaves of the blueberry bush are curling and turning brown then this is a sign of two things, either the plant is in constant sunlight which some varieties of blueberry bushes simply can not handle. On the other hand, this can also be a sign of the bush not getting enough water. If you are watering your blueberry bush relatively frequently and you still see that the leaves are turning brown then the most possible culprit is the amount of sunshine the plant gets every day.

Either try to replant the blueberry bush in an area where they will not be in direct sunlight all day long or make them some shade. On the other hand, this might also be caused by the soil not retaining water, especially as blueberry bushes tend to have shallow roots. To fix this simply add some green mulch like grass clippings as they are excellent at retaining water.

Key Takeaways

  • Curling of blueberry leaves can be caused by pests such as aphids or blueberry leafminers. Inspect the leaves for signs of small insects or leaf damage. Treat the infestation by using appropriate insecticides or insecticidal soaps as recommended for blueberries.
  • Leaf curling can also be a symptom of fungal or viral infections, such as blueberry mosaic virus or blueberry scorch virus. Check for other symptoms like discoloration, spots, or stunted growth. If you suspect a disease, consult with a local plant disease specialist or extension service to identify the problem and take appropriate measures for control.
  • Curling of blueberry leaves can be a response to environmental stress factors such as extreme temperatures, drought, or excessive sunlight. Ensure that your blueberry plants are receiving adequate water, especially during dry periods, and provide shade or protection from intense sunlight if necessary. Mulching around the base of the plants can also help regulate soil moisture levels and protect the roots from temperature fluctuations.