Blueberry Leaves Turning Brown: Causes, Prevention, and Care Tips

Blueberry leaves turn brown due to various reasons such as nutrient deficiency, diseases, pests, overwatering, or environmental stress. It is important to identify and address the underlying cause to revive the plant’s health and prevent further damage.

A healthier plant with green foliage indicates optimal growth and a higher chance of a fruitful harvest. We will explore the common reasons behind blueberry leaves turning brown and provide effective solutions to restore the plant’s vitality. By understanding the possible causes and implementing the appropriate remedies, you can ensure vibrant and healthy blueberry plants in your garden.

Blueberry Leaves Turning Brown: Causes, Prevention, and Care Tips


Understanding Blueberry Plants

Blueberry Leaves Turning Brown

Blueberries are delightful fruits that thrive in many gardens and are enjoyed by both humans and wildlife. However, if you notice your blueberry leaves turning brown, it can be a cause for concern. In this section, we will delve deeper into understanding blueberry plants and the difference between healthy and unhealthy blueberry leaves.

Differentiating Between Healthy And Unhealthy Blueberry Leaves

Blueberry leaves provide valuable clues about the overall health and well-being of the plant. It is important to be able to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy leaves to address any issues promptly. Here are some key points to consider:

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  • Healthy blueberry leaves are typically bright green with a glossy appearance, indicating proper photosynthesis and nutrient absorption.
  • Unhealthy blueberry leaves, on the other hand, may exhibit brown discoloration, which can be a sign of various problems ranging from nutrient deficiencies to pest infestations or diseases.

To better understand what might be causing the brown leaves, let’s delve into some common issues associated with blueberry plants:

Nutrient Deficiencies And Imbalances

Blueberry plants have specific nutrient requirements, and deficiencies or imbalances can result in brown or discolored leaves. Some nutrients that are vital for blueberries include:

  • Nitrogen: Lack of nitrogen can lead to pale green leaves and slow growth.
  • Iron: Insufficient iron can cause leaves to develop interveinal chlorosis, with yellowing between the veins while the veins remain green.
  • Phosphorus: Inadequate phosphorus levels can cause purple or reddish discoloration on the leaves.

Pest Infestations

Pests such as aphids, mites, or blueberry maggot flies can cause significant damage to blueberry plants, leading to browning of the leaves. These pests may feed on the foliage, causing stress to the plant and affecting its overall health.


Several diseases can affect blueberry plants, causing leaves to turn brown. Some common diseases include:

  • Fungal diseases: Botrytis blight, powdery mildew, and anthracnose can all lead to browning of the leaves.
  • Bacterial diseases: Bacterial leaf scorch or bacterial canker can cause foliage discoloration.

Environmental Factors

Various environmental factors can contribute to brown leaves in blueberry plants. Here are a few to consider:

  • Overwatering or inadequate drainage: Poor water management can lead to root rot, impacting the overall health of the plant and manifesting as brown leaves.
  • Extreme temperatures: Blueberry plants are sensitive to extreme cold or heat, which can result in leaf browning or wilting.

By understanding these factors and evaluating the condition of your blueberry plants, you can identify potential causes of brown leaves and take appropriate actions to rectify the issue. Remember, maintaining proper care practices, including regular watering, appropriate nutrient supplementation, and monitoring for pests and diseases, can help keep your blueberry plants healthy and vibrant.

Common Causes Of Blueberry Leaves Turning Brown

Blueberry Leaves Turning Brown

Are you seeing brown leaves on your blueberry plants and wondering what might be causing it? Blueberry leaves turning brown can be a sign of various issues, such as a lack of nutrients in the soil, pest infestation, or environmental stressors.

In this section, we will discuss the common causes of blueberry leaves turning brown and what you can do to address them.

Lack Of Nutrients In The Soil

  • Nutrient deficiency, particularly in micronutrients like zinc and iron, can cause blueberry leaves to turn brown.
  • Insufficient levels of these essential nutrients can impede the plant’s metabolic processes and lead to leaf discoloration.
  • Poor soil conditions, such as excessively alkaline or acidic soil, can also hinder nutrient absorption by the plants.

Pest Infestation

  • Certain insects like blueberry flea beetles and mites can infest blueberry plants and cause damage to the leaves.
  • These pests feed on the foliage, causing it to turn brown and develop spots or holes.
  • Regular monitoring of your plants for any signs of pest infestation is crucial to prevent further damage.

Environmental Stressors

  • Blueberry plants can be affected by various environmental stressors, such as extreme temperatures and inadequate sunlight.
  • Excessive heat or cold can cause leaf scorching or browning.
  • Lack of sufficient sunlight can hinder the photosynthesis process, leading to leaf discoloration.
  • Inconsistent watering practices can also contribute to stress and result in browning of the leaves.

To address the issue of blueberry leaves turning brown, consider the following measures:

  • Conduct a soil test to determine if there are any nutrient deficiencies and make necessary amendments.
  • Ensure your blueberry plants receive an adequate supply of water, especially during dry periods.
  • Implement proper pest management strategies to protect your plants from damage.
  • Provide your blueberries with the appropriate amount of sunlight based on their specific requirements.

Remember that prevention is key when it comes to maintaining the health of your blueberry plants. Regularly inspecting your plants, addressing any issues promptly, and providing optimal growing conditions will help minimize the risk of blueberry leaves turning brown.

By understanding the common causes and taking appropriate actions, you can ensure that your blueberry plants thrive and produce an abundance of delicious berries for years to come. So don’t let those brown leaves get you down – take action and help your blueberry plants regain their vibrant green color!

Nutritional Deficiencies

Blueberry Leaves Turning Brown

Blueberry plants are known for their vibrant green leaves, but it can be concerning when those leaves start to turn brown. One of the possible reasons for this change in color could be nutritional deficiencies. Understanding the key nutrients that blueberry plants need and the symptoms of these deficiencies can help you take the necessary steps to address the issue and ensure the health and productivity of your plants.

Lack Of Iron

Iron is an essential nutrient for blueberry plants, and a lack of it can lead to browning of the leaves. Here are some key points to keep in mind regarding iron deficiency:

  • Iron deficiency can result in yellowing of the leaves, followed by browning of the leaf edges and veins.
  • Blueberry plants require a slightly acidic soil ph for optimal iron absorption.
  • Excessively high soil ph can hinder iron uptake by the plants, even if there is an adequate amount of iron present in the soil.
  • In order to combat iron deficiency, you can administer iron chelates or apply iron sulfate to the soil around the plants. Be sure to follow the recommended dosage and application instructions.

Nitrogen Deficiency

Nitrogen is another vital nutrient that plays a crucial role in the growth and development of blueberry plants. Here are some key points to consider when it comes to nitrogen deficiency:

  • Nitrogen deficiency is characterized by the yellowing of older leaves, while the veins remain green.
  • Lack of nitrogen can also lead to stunted growth and reduced fruit production.
  • To rectify nitrogen deficiency, you can apply a balanced nitrogen-rich fertilizer according to the specific requirements of your blueberry plants. Be cautious not to overfertilize, as this can have negative effects on the plants.

Imbalance In Ph Levels

The ph level of the soil can greatly influence the nutrient availability and uptake by blueberry plants. Here are some important points to note about ph level imbalances:

  • Blueberry plants thrive in acidic soil with a ph range of 4.0 to 5.2.
  • Alkaline soil with a higher ph can restrict the availability and absorption of essential nutrients, leading to leaf discoloration and browning.
  • Regular soil testing is crucial to identify and rectify ph level imbalances.
  • To decrease soil ph and restore acidity, you can incorporate organic matter, such as compost, pine needles, or elemental sulfur.

Addressing nutritional deficiencies promptly is key to maintaining the overall health and vigor of blueberry plants. By monitoring the iron levels, ensuring an adequate nitrogen supply, and maintaining the right ph balance, you can prevent leaf browning and promote thriving blueberry plants in your garden.

Pest Infestation

Common Pests Affecting Blueberry Plants

Blueberry plants are susceptible to various pests that can cause damage to the leaves and affect the overall health of the plant. Understanding the common pests that infest blueberry plants is crucial in effectively managing and controlling infestations. Here are some of the most common pests that can be a nuisance to your blueberry plants:

  • Aphids: These tiny insects feed on the sap of blueberry leaves, causing them to curl and turn brown. Aphids can also transmit viruses to the plants, further compromising their health.
  • Blueberry maggot: The larvae of this fly species feeds on the berries, causing them to become discolored and unpalatable. Infested berries may have small exit holes where the maggots emerge.
  • Spider mites: These microscopic pests feed on the underside of blueberry leaves, causing yellowing, stippling, and ultimately browning of the foliage. They thrive in dry and dusty conditions.
  • Cranberry fruitworm: The larvae of this pest burrow into the developing blueberry fruit, causing it to become disfigured and unfit for consumption. Infested berries may contain webbing or holes.
  • Blueberry flea beetle: These small beetles feed on the leaves, leaving behind shot holes that eventually turn brown. Heavy infestations can result in defoliation and reduced plant vigor.

Identifying Signs Of Pest Infestation

Early detection of pest infestations is crucial for effective pest management. Keep an eye out for the following signs that indicate your blueberry plants may be experiencing a pest problem:

  • Curling or browning of leaves: This may be a sign of aphid or spider mite infestation. Check the undersides of leaves for the presence of these pests.
  • Discolored or damaged berries: If you notice berries turning brown, developing holes, or displaying unusual deformities, there may be fruitworm or blueberry maggot infestation.
  • Shot holes on leaves: Tiny holes on blueberry leaves can indicate the presence of blueberry flea beetles. Check for the presence of beetles on the plants.
  • Silk webbing or larvae on berries: The presence of silk webbing or small larvae on your blueberry fruits can be a sign of cranberry fruitworm infestation.

Effective Pest Control Methods

To keep your blueberry plants healthy and free from pests, it’s important to implement effective pest control methods. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Cultural practices: Proper sanitation, such as removing fallen leaves and debris, can help reduce pest populations. Prune and thin branches to improve airflow and create unfavorable conditions for pests.
  • Natural predators: Encourage beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings that feed on pests. You can introduce these predators to your blueberry garden or provide suitable habitat to attract them.
  • Insecticidal soaps and oils: Organic insecticidal soaps and oils can be effective in controlling aphids, spider mites, and other soft-bodied pests. Follow the instructions carefully when applying these products.
  • Biological control: Certain nematodes and bacteria can be used as biological control agents to target specific pests. Consult with a professional or extension service to determine the appropriate species for your pest problem.
  • Chemical pesticides: As a last resort, if pest populations are severe and other methods have failed, you may consider using chemical pesticides. However, exercise caution and follow the recommended dosage and safety guidelines.

By recognizing the common pests that affect blueberry plants, identifying signs of infestation, and employing effective pest control methods, you can ensure the health and productivity of your blueberry garden. Regular monitoring and proactive management practices are the key to preventing pest damage and enjoying a bountiful harvest.

Environmental Stressors

Blueberry Leaves Turning Brown: Environmental Stressors

Blueberry plants are susceptible to a variety of environmental stressors that can cause their leaves to turn brown. These stressors include extreme temperatures, inadequate watering, sunburn, and wind damage. Understanding these factors can help blueberry growers take necessary precautions to ensure the health and vitality of their plants.

Extreme Temperatures

Extreme temperatures can have a negative impact on blueberry plants, leading to browning of the leaves. Here are some key points to consider:

  • High temperatures above 90°f (32°c) can cause stress to blueberry plants, resulting in leaf discoloration.
  • Conversely, sudden drops in temperature during the growing season can also lead to leaf browning.
  • Providing shade to protect the plants from excessive heat and avoiding planting in areas prone to extreme temperature fluctuations can help mitigate this stressor.

Inadequate Watering

Improper watering practices can be a major cause of brown leaves in blueberry plants. Here are some important things to note:

  • Blueberries require consistent moisture to thrive, especially during the fruiting season.
  • Insufficient watering can result in leaf dehydration and subsequent browning.
  • On the other hand, overwatering can lead to root rot and fungal diseases, which also contribute to leaf discoloration.

To prevent inadequate watering as a stressor:

  • Ensure that the soil is consistently moist but not waterlogged.
  • Use mulch to help retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.
  • Regularly monitor soil moisture levels and adjust watering accordingly.


Excessive exposure to sunlight can cause blueberry leaves to turn brown. Consider the following:

  • Blueberry plants are susceptible to sunburn, especially when they are young or have been recently transplanted.
  • Sunburned leaves develop brown patches or may turn entirely brown and crispy.
  • Providing shade cloth or planting blueberries in areas with partial shade can help protect against sunburn.

Wind Damage

Strong winds can damage blueberry plants and result in browning of the leaves. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Wind can cause physical stress on plants, leading to tattered leaves and browning.
  • Wind damage is more likely in open, exposed areas, without natural windbreaks.
  • Planting blueberries near natural windbreaks or using artificial wind barriers can help reduce wind damage.

By understanding and taking measures to address these environmental stressors, blueberry growers can promote healthy growth and prevent the browning of leaves in their plants. Remember to regularly monitor the plants and provide appropriate care to ensure the longevity and productivity of blueberry bushes.

Prevention And Care Tips

Blueberry plants are susceptible to various conditions that can cause their leaves to turn brown. To keep your blueberry plants healthy and vibrant, it’s important to implement preventive measures and follow proper care techniques. By maintaining proper soil conditions, regular fertilization, controlled watering techniques, protecting plants from extreme weather conditions, and appropriate pruning techniques, you can help prevent your blueberry leaves from turning brown.

Maintaining Proper Soil Conditions

Ensuring that your blueberry plants have the right soil conditions is crucial for their overall health and leaf color. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Blueberries prefer acidic soil with a ph level between 4.0 and 5.5. Test your soil regularly and adjust the ph if needed.
  • Incorporate organic matter such as compost or pine needles into the soil to improve its acidity and drainage.
  • Avoid overcompacting the soil, as this can impede proper root growth and nutrient absorption.
  • Monitor the soil’s moisture levels to prevent both under-watering and over-watering, as extremes can negatively affect the health of your plants.

Regular Fertilization

Providing your blueberry plants with regular fertilization ensures they receive the necessary nutrients for healthy leaf growth. Consider the following tips:

  • Use a slow-release, acidic fertilizer specifically formulated for blueberries.
  • Apply the fertilizer according to the package instructions, typically during the early spring and late summer.
  • Avoid overfertilizing, as this can lead to excessive leaf growth and nutrient imbalances.

Controlled Watering Techniques

Watering your blueberry plants correctly is essential to prevent browning leaves and promote overall plant health. Consider the following guidelines:

  • Blueberries require consistent moisture, especially during hot and dry periods.
  • Water deeply and thoroughly, saturating the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches.
  • Avoid over-watering, as this can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases.
  • Mulch around the base of the plants to help retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.

Protecting Plants From Extreme Weather Conditions

Extreme weather conditions can stress blueberry plants, causing their leaves to turn brown. Take these preventative measures:

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  • Provide shade or temporary coverings during periods of intense sunlight to prevent sunburn.
  • Protect plants from strong winds using windbreaks, such as fences or barriers.
  • During periods of frost or freezing temperatures, cover plants with frost blankets or row covers to prevent damage.

Appropriate Pruning Techniques

Proper pruning techniques contribute to healthier blueberry plants and vibrant foliage. Follow these tips:

  • Prune during the dormant season (late winter or early spring) to remove dead or diseased growth.
  • Thin out excessive branches to improve air circulation and light penetration.
  • Remove any crossing or rubbing branches to prevent injuries and disease.
  • Avoid excessive pruning, as it can inhibit fruit production and stress the plant.

By implementing these prevention and care tips, you can maintain healthy blueberry plants with lush, green leaves. Remember to regularly monitor your plants’ health, provide the appropriate care, and address any issues promptly to ensure optimal growth and productivity.

Frequently Asked Questions For Blueberry Leaves Turning Brown

Why Are My Blueberry Leaves Turning Brown?

Blueberry leaves turning brown could be due to various reasons such as fungal infections, nutrient deficiencies, improper watering, or excessive sunlight. It is important to identify the exact cause to address the issue effectively.

How Can I Prevent Blueberry Leaves From Turning Brown?

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To prevent blueberry leaves from turning brown, ensure they get enough sunlight but not excessive, maintain proper soil moisture, avoid over-fertilizing, and use organic fungicides if necessary. Regularly inspecting the plants for signs of disease or pests can also help prevent browning of the leaves.

Can Over-Watering Cause Blueberry Leaves To Turn Brown?

Yes, over-watering can cause blueberry leaves to turn brown. It can lead to root rot and deprive the plants of oxygen, resulting in browning of the leaves. It is important to have well-drained soil and water the plants appropriately to prevent over-watering.


To prevent blueberry leaves from turning brown, it is crucial to identify the underlying causes and take appropriate action. Brown leaves could be a sign of various issues, such as insufficient water, fungal infections, nutrient deficiencies, or pest infestations. To combat these problems, ensure that your blueberry bushes receive adequate watering, especially during dry spells.

Additionally, implementing good garden hygiene practices, like removing fallen leaves and rotating crops, can help prevent fungal infections. Regularly inspect your blueberry plants for signs of nutrient deficiencies and consider fertilizing them if necessary. Finally, be vigilant in monitoring for pests, and if an infestation occurs, employ organic pest control methods.

By addressing these potential issues promptly, you can maintain healthy blueberry plants and enjoy the bountiful harvest they can provide.

Amelia Clark

I'm Amelia Clark, a seasoned florist and gardening specialist with more than 15 years of practical expertise. Following the completion of my formal education, I dedicated myself to a flourishing career in floristry, acquiring extensive understanding of diverse flower species and their ideal cultivation requirements. Additionally, I possess exceptional skills as a writer and public speaker, having successfully published numerous works and delivered engaging presentations at various local garden clubs and conferences. Social Profile: LinkedIn  YouTube  Pinterest Facebook