Tuesday 2 July 2013

Making a fruit cage for my Blueberries

Last year I left it too late to make proper arrangements to protect my Blueberry crop - and paid the penalty. This year I am a bit better organised.

Since my plastic "seedling greenhouse" is no longer required to protect tender seedlings from frost (I hope), I have removed its plastic cover and used the tubing and connectors as the basis of a temporary fruit-cage, along with elements of the ever-flexible Build-a-Ball kit. At present I just have the frame, but in a week or two, when the fruit begins to ripen, I will drape a net over it and weigh the edges down with bricks.

One of my Blueberry plants is not looking very happy. Some of the branches are laden with swelling fruit:

But the leaves on about half of the stems already look Autumn-ey. The have gone red and are drying out.

Significantly, there are very few fruits on these stems, and even those few are dessicated and of no use whatever:

What's going on here? Can anyone offer an explanation?

As a matter of fact, I don't think I'm going to get a very good Blueberry crop this year. This photo shows a typical fruit cluster. You can see that some of the flowers have set fruit, but certainly not all of them.

I draw comfort from the fact that the severe pruning I did last year has produced a decent amount of new growth. Blueberries fruit on older wood though, not on new shoots, so things ought to be better next year.

How is your Blueberry crop looking this year?


  1. Touch wood mine are looking good so far. I'm looking forward to blueberry muffins. I had a similar experience last year with your wizened berries. I could find no reason for it so I pruned out the affected area.

  2. There are several reasons why your blueberry plants leaves are turning red.
    1. The PH balance is off - too much or not enough fertilizer.
    2. Over watering - soggy feet.
    3. Plant was exposed to more cold then the others.

    Very hard to say just what is happening. But hopefully you'll have plenty of berries from the other plants.
    Good luck & like your blog.

  3. I've just started picking blueberries. We don't have enough for a really big crop, but so far enough to put on my cereal in the morning.

    No clue what is going on with the plants. I hope you can figure it out.

  4. We have just the one plant, and it has been dropping a sad number of forming fruits recently. I topdressed it with fresh ericaceous compost this year as usual, but suspect that I have just not kept on top of watering it enough to keep it happy. Still, we shall enjoy what does make it to fruition!

  5. Our plants are looking better than they ever have but as for cropping - one plant doesn't seem to have any fruit at all. We've never really had lots of berries.

    As for netting - I have covered our redcurrants and somehow in spite of me not being able to find a possible entry point a female blackbird manages to get in. Then she can't get out and needs help!

  6. I've got more blueberries on my plants than I first though, though still not a huge amount. I don't know what the problem with your plant could be, I hope someone has an answer for you.

  7. I've had a very similar experience with my blueberry this year. My problems were down to scale insects, I tried taking a closer look at your photos but couldn't see any myself so maybe that's something to rule out. Hope you get some answers.

  8. Thanks for the ideas concerning the my Blueberry "issues". Lots of different things to consider! Such was ever the eay with gardening, eh? Nothing is ever as straightforward as we might wish. I reckon that the problem is probably a combination of drought (or erratic water supply) and frost damage. Trouble is, all the plants have been treated in the same way, and all kept in the same location, yet only one is suffering. Strange.

  9. No blueberries but just netted off my strawbs before they fully ripen and the birds get them. I'm expecting a bumper crop this year. Very excited!

  10. Those build a balls sure are handy. Perhaps this link will help sort things out? http://www.fruit.cornell.edu/berrytool/blueberry/BBparts.htm

  11. Have the same issues with mine this year too. Not much fruit at all. I think it was a bit chilly when they flowered, maybe they didn't get fertilized by the bees.


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