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How to Tell if a Blueberry Plant is Dead

How to Tell if a Blueberry Plant is Dead

If you have a suspicion that your blueberry plant is dead or dying, there are many signs to look out for. Generally known to be hardy in United States zones five through eight, blueberry plants are likely to be free from diseases and pests.

Let’s look into some of the ways you can discern if there is trouble brewing from what was once a thriving blueberry plant. Then we can discuss some remedies to turn your blueberry plant from dying to alive and producing fruit once again.

Check to See if Your Blueberry Plant Is Hibernating

Blueberry plants go into hibernation during the cold, wintery months. During this time, the leaves will turn brown and fall off. You should expect them to return in the spring. With particularly harsh winters or temperatures as low as 23 degrees Fahrenheit, the tree or its buds can suffer damage. High heats can also scorch the plant.

Inspect Your Blueberry Plant’s Leaves

In the cycle of the seasons, you can keep an eye on the plant’s leaves. If it is well into spring or summertime and the blueberry leaves are nowhere to be seen, it’s a sign something is wrong. It may not be past saving yet, there are other things to consider.

On the other hand, if the leaves are browning way too soon, in early or mid-summer, then it should be a matter of concern. And if the old, brown leaves are not falling off the plant but instead sticking to it, this is a problem, too. It is either a problem of too much watering or not sufficient nutrients.

Consider Your Blueberry Plant’s Age

Like all life in nature, blueberry plants have a lifespan. They live many years, but eventually, their time runs out. If you only notice parts of the plant are dying, but the root is still healthy, it may just be time to prune away the dead areas to encourage new growth.

Determine Whether or Not Your Blueberry Plant Is Diseased

If the leaves are turning red, this is often caused by various diseases infecting the plant, from fungal to bacterial to viral. Often, you can take care of these problems with various sprays or insecticides or even checking on the nutrients in the soil.

Have You Been Improperly Watering Your Blueberry Plant?

A basic plant care task to consider is how frequently or thoroughly you’re watering. If you are underwater, there is a danger of the plant not getting proper nutrients. Overwatering causes issues such as root rot. Blueberry plants don’t do well sitting in a pool of water, so make sure there is good drainage wherever it is planted.

How Healthy are the Soil and Nutrients?

When planting your blueberries, make sure to loosen the soil. This alone helps a lot with drainage and the plant receiving nutrients. It is a good idea to add fertilizers to the plant when it is young and developing its roots. However, be careful not to overfeed. This may cause the plant to burn.

Assess the Sunlight Situation for Your Blueberry Plant

Blueberry plants need six hours of full sunlight at least. They can survive alright in partial shade, but they won’t grow or produce to their full potential. Sunlight means nutrients, so if you start to see the leaves yellow, then brown and fall off, check to see if it is receiving enough sun. Alternatively, too much sun in high heat can scorch the leaves, causing them to turn brown and fall off.

Does Your Blueberry Plant Have Enough Room?

Sometimes, blueberries are planted in areas where there isn’t sufficient space for the roots to spread and grow. If the plant is in a pot and you can see the roots congested in the bottom, it’s time to move to a bigger pot. Healthy roots should appear pale or yellow-white in color. Diseased roots will be dark and have an unpleasant odor.


Blueberry plants are rather hardy and a great option for any garden. However, if you feel something is wrong with the leaves, the time of year, or the plant’s age, think about how you’re caring for it. Check the water, sunlight, space, and soil that it is receiving. And check the plant for pests or diseases. In many cases, you can turn a dying or injured plant into a happy, healthy plant once again.