The Q&A Archives: Blueberry/Lingonberry Care

Question: I've been given a blueberry bush and a lingonberry bush. Is there something I can add to the soil around them (like a mulch or something) to keep it acidic enough to keep them comfortable? Are these plants tolerant of the DIA sandy soil as long as huge quantities of compost are mixed in ahead of time? Blueberry = Northblue Midseason Blueberry and the Lingonberry = Red Pearl.
Thanks in advance for your time and advice!

Answer: Vaccinium corymbosum 'Northblue' is a self-fruitful blueberry so you won't need an additional cultivar for cross-pollination. Blueberries do best in well-draining (sandy) soils with a pH of 4.5 to 5.2. If the soil pH is too high, iron chlorosis symptoms develop on leaves (green veins, interveinal yellowing). If you don't know your soils' pH, you might want to have it tested prior to planting your blueberry plant. Soil pH values in the range of 5.2 to 5.5 can be partially lowered by incorporating elemental sulfur 6 months prior to planting. It is generally impractical to lower a soil of greater than 6.0 with sulfur. The use of acidifying fertilizers, such as ammonium sulfate, over a period of years can appreciably lower soil pH. and/or help maintain the correct pH for your plant.

Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idea) prefer growing in sandy soil with a high organic matter content and a pH between 4.5 and 5.5.

Both lingonberry and blueberry are shallow rooted so mulch over the soil surface after planting (I use peat moss) to keep weeds down so you don't have to cultivate near the roots, and also to moderate the soil moisture. Be sure to provide full sunshine and adequate water throughout the growing season.

Best wishes with your new plants!

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