Blueberries are members of the heath family and many varieties grow throughout the United States. The bushes not only provide sweet fruit when ripe, but the shrubs themselves are attractive and hardy. If your blueberry bush is suffering, there are several factors to consider to make sure that the bush is receiving the proper care and maintenance. With a few adjustments to its care, you may be able to revive the bush.
Test the pH in the soil surrounding the blueberry bush. You can get a testing kit from a gardening store or from a local university extension. Blueberries require a low pH, lower than most other small fruits and if the pH is too high, you will need to make adjustments to the soil. Ideally, the pH should be around 4.8. If the pH test results are above that range, incorporate the recommended amount of elemental sulfur into the soil.
Evaluate the amount of water that your blueberries are receiving. Your bushes may be suffering from a lack of water, especially during times of drought. Blueberries need a lot of water and should be watered to 2 inches into the soil once every three days in the summer. But be cautious as well, because if you water more than once every three days, your blueberries might be getting too much water, which could cause root rot.
Prune the bush once each fall. You should cut off approximately two-thirds of the top growth on bare-root plants, but only remove half of the plant if you're growing it inside. Also, remove any of the remaining rounded buds and all but two or three of the sturdiest upright shoots.
Fertilize the blueberry bush only if the soil test results indicated that there is a lack of nutrients in the soil. If the soil is well-balanced and nutrient-rich, then don't ever add fertilizer, as fertilizer can damage and stunt blueberries. If you have been using fertilizer regularly, discontinue use, which could be enough to help revive the bush.
Add 3 inches of organic mulch around the bush. This will help the bush maintain moisture and discourage weed growth.
Transplant the bush if it is older than 2 years and if the planting location does not provide at least some afternoon shade. You also want to replant if the soil does not drain well. Amend with organics, such as peat moss, to allow better draining. Do not transplant unless the bush is at least 2 years old and keep its roots moist the entire time as you are moving it.