acid for blueberries?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
What do you put on blueberries that counts as acid? My two little bushes are barely 6 inches tall. They have more leaves than when I planted them in June, and have branched out some. The leaves are reddish green and appear to be healthy (no spots), but the bushes just aren't growing. I have never planted blueberries before and I don't remember what kind they are. When you put rabbit doo on them, do you work it into the soil, or leave it on top? And how often to you put it on? They have full sun all day sun-up to sun-down.
-- Cathy N. (email@example.com), September 05, 2001
Cathy, according to your email addy, you are in canada. Lucky you. I planted blue berries about 10 years ago. They were producing fine until we had our 3rd summer in a row with temps of 110 for weeks. No amount of water will help. I lost most of my blue berries last year and replanted again this spring and lost them this summer. Also planted strawberries and raspberries and they died in the excessive heat also. BUT back when my blue berries were producing, I sprinkled sulfer around the plants once a year and fertilized with a top dressing of chicken manure. You can buy sulfer at any garden center. Or you can use muracid. that is not how your spell it but it is made by Miracle Grow.
-- Belle (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 05, 2001.
Where are you Belle, I live in Southeastern OK. and I have a Blueberry U-Pick that does wonderful. Of course, I have Southern varieties, Ozark and Bluejay. We have 110 temps here to but water does the trick. I also have a very low PH soil which helps alot, of course I have to spray lime on my fields for hay.
-- Debbie (email@example.com), September 05, 2001.
If you live in the south, grow rabbiteye varities. In the north, go with the highbush varities. Here in Virginia, we are just about able to raise rabbiteye, but it gets just a little too cold. North Carolina is about south enough. Michigan is where lots of highbush blueberries grow.
Also, keep in mind that it takes a few years to grow blueberries. the first year, you may get a pint or two, But it takes 5 years before they will produce up to their potential. And they can live 50 years. So look at them as a long-term investment. Monetarily, you can hardly find a better investment, as you can harvest thousands upon thousands of $ worth off a single acre. Labor intensive, of course.
Here in the east, the soil is naturally acidic enough for blueberries. Out west, it gets too alkaline. So if you live anywhere where you dont have to add lime to grow a garden, you probably should do something to acidify the soil for blueberries. To make sure, do a soil test.
I would put down a heavy dose of manure around the base of the plant with a foot of oak leaves on top every fall. That should do it.
-- daffodyllady (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 05, 2001.
A lot of people use pine needles as a mulch to acidify the soil for blureberries.
-- Don Armstrong (email@example.com), September 06, 2001.
The first year you plant blueberrys, they will spend most of their time developing roots. They have "very" shallow roots so never dig anything into the soil around them. If the pH is way off ( they like it in the 5 -5.5 range, use horticultural sulpher to acidify the soil. After that a good 2" layer of pine mulch will keep the soil in the range you want and keep the shallow roots moist. I have 8 plants that are about 7 years old and I get over 25 qts off them every year.
-- Paul (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 06, 2001.
I just read in the organic gardening website that Starbucks gives free used coffee grounds out. They contain sulphur and are acidic.
-- Ann Markson (email@example.com), September 06, 2001.
It takes time for the plants to establish their root systems so you shouldn't epxect a lot of above ground growth until they do.
Here in Florida we like to use oak leaves and pine straw for a nice thick mulch that'll eventually produce a more acid soil underneath. A bit of agricultural sulfur would probably help a lot in the first year until the mulch has a chance to do its thing. A soil test will tell you how much you need to apply.
-- Live Oak (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 06, 2001.
I'll agree with Ann. Here where I am in OH, I do not have acid soil. But I keep my blueberry soil acidic by putting on the coffee grounds. When I first planted them, I dug 2' wide by 2'deep, and used a mixture of peat and sand and added sulfur to the planting hole. From then on I use compost plus the coffee grounds. And make sure to water, because of the shallow root system. Also, use mulch, pine needles are good if you have them, but in this part of OH, they are not plentiful, so I try to find oak leaves and shred them as they are acidic also.
-- vicki in NW OH (email@example.com), September 06, 2001.
Either peat or coffee grounds work well to acidify the soil. Coffee grounds may temporarily tie up nitrogen, but will provide it later. Those of us in the North can put more N on our plants due to the shorter growing season and severe winters. Miracid is an easy way to help with minor nutrients if you don't object to chemical fertilizers, but is only a short-term remedy.
-- Don Hepler (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 08, 2001.