Ask a Question forum: Need help in growing blueberries on low acidic soil

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2
Views: 617, Replies: 20 » Jump to the end
Name: Milan
(Zone 8a)
HOLD * FAST
Butterflies
Image
Makanudo
May 4, 2015 12:31 AM CST
I planted 10 blueberries last year, but they are making slow progress and two seem to have dried out. I would apreciate any Suggestions.
I tried with spreading pine wood sawdust but it didnt help.
"Keep a green tree in your hart, and perhaps a singing bird will come."
Chinese proverb
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
May 4, 2015 3:10 AM CST
Mulching with wood products won't have much, if any, effect on the soil pH where the roots are. You mentioned the pH there is 8 or over on another thread? That's very high for bluberries and it will be difficult to lower it enough. What kind of soil is it, clay, loam, sandy?
Name: Milan
(Zone 8a)
HOLD * FAST
Butterflies
Image
Makanudo
May 4, 2015 3:34 AM CST
I planted it on a border of my fathers orchard , alongside concrete posts. Soil there is very fertile, it is mold(I do not know which class).
Altitude is low 43meters above sea level and I read the conditions that blueberries prefer, but I thought why not try because everything that is planted there lives.
"Keep a green tree in your hart, and perhaps a singing bird will come."
Chinese proverb
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
CarolineScott
May 4, 2015 4:37 AM CST
Adding peat moss or aluminum sulphate to the soil will make it more acidic.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
May 4, 2015 8:02 AM CST
If the concrete posts are fairly new, they may be leaching alkaline stuff into the soil, too. Painting or sealing them with a clear deck sealant might help.

You will have an ongoing battle to keep enough acidifying material around your blueberries. Compost and peat moss are excellent amendments, and fairly inexpensive. If you mulch them with a top dressing of a good amount each spring, and pile leaves around them as mulch in the fall you may keep up with them. The fall mulch might help to keep them from dessicating during the winter, too.

But the problem later becomes when the bushes get larger, and their roots go deeper and wider, they will eventually reach the native soil. Then you will be seeing the unhealthy results of growing an acid-loving plant in soil with a too high pH.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Milan
(Zone 8a)
HOLD * FAST
Butterflies
Image
Makanudo
May 4, 2015 9:13 AM CST
I am not sure I would be able to obtain peat moss here. Aluminium sulphate in wich form? Liquid and sprayed?
I am not sure I would want to eat anything that had aluminium treated on it.
"Keep a green tree in your hart, and perhaps a singing bird will come."
Chinese proverb
Name: Milan
(Zone 8a)
HOLD * FAST
Butterflies
Image
Makanudo
May 4, 2015 9:16 AM CST
Regarding compost, I have been told to avoid that because it has been known to introduce california worm...
"Keep a green tree in your hart, and perhaps a singing bird will come."
Chinese proverb
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
Image
greene
May 4, 2015 9:31 AM CST
From previous threads I know your location is Belgrade, Serbia.
Two questions please:

You mentioned mold...where is this "mold(I do not know which class)" located? Is it on the soil or on the plants? Do you have photos?

Do you know the scientific name of this "California worm" that you mentioned?
Thank You!

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Milan
(Zone 8a)
HOLD * FAST
Butterflies
Image
Makanudo
May 4, 2015 9:55 AM CST
Please understand that I am just trying to get into gardening and fruit and herb growing and I may not know all the right terms.
Mold has many meanings, one of them is for type of soil that is very black and very fertile as well as easily crushed something like humus.
"Keep a green tree in your hart, and perhaps a singing bird will come."
Chinese proverb
Name: Milan
(Zone 8a)
HOLD * FAST
Butterflies
Image
Makanudo
May 4, 2015 9:59 AM CST

Thumb of 2015-05-04/Makanudo/9bfce0

Lumbicus of oligochaeta class(more than 3000 of them).
This one was one of results from experiments at California state university in 1965, therefore Californian red worm.
It has great capacity of turning manure into humus
"Keep a green tree in your hart, and perhaps a singing bird will come."
Chinese proverb
Name: Milan
(Zone 8a)
HOLD * FAST
Butterflies
Image
Makanudo
May 4, 2015 10:09 AM CST
....and Blueberries are planted on the border with Hungary.
"Keep a green tree in your hart, and perhaps a singing bird will come."
Chinese proverb
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
Image
greene
May 4, 2015 1:14 PM CST
Ah, I understand. Thumbs up Thank You! When you say 'mold' it is like when the British say 'leaf mould'. Yes, that is good soil.
https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=478
And the earthworms are a good thing. They will aerate the soil and their castings will enrich the soil.

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Milan
(Zone 8a)
HOLD * FAST
Butterflies
Image
Makanudo
May 4, 2015 1:18 PM CST
Well regarding worms... I mentioned that b-berries are planted on an orchard and although they add some quality to the soil, they are not good for young fruit trees.
"Keep a green tree in your hart, and perhaps a singing bird will come."
Chinese proverb
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
May 4, 2015 2:07 PM CST
But real compost that has been well composted at high enough temperature should not introduce any worms, although it will attract earthworms, which is a good thing.

Have you had your soil tested to determine the pH (acidity) factor? It's really good to know exactly what you're dealing with, and also after you take steps to improve the soil, you can test again to see your progress.

If you have a good nursery (plant grower/seller) near you, they should have some fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants. They might even have some acidic soil amendments available too.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
May 5, 2015 4:59 AM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:
Have you had your soil tested to determine the pH (acidity) factor? .


Elaine, in the other thread Makanudo said: "I just checked and they said PH there in the soil is above 8 and the soil is rich in phosphor"

The thread "Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra); Pannonian Basin, central Europe" in Plant ID forum

Makanudo, does this pH also apply to where the blueberries are planted? If so, you're going to be trying to drop the soil pH by around 3 points on the pH scale. That's a lot when you consider that the scale is logarithmic and each point is ten times different from the next one. Two points apart would be a hundred times more alkaline or acidic depending which way you are going on the scale, and three points is a thousand times different. So a pH of 5 (blueberries prefer a pH of 4.5 to 5.5) is a thousand times more acidic than a pH of 8.

I don't wish to be pessimistic but that may be difficult and not practical to do. Compost pH can range from around pH 6 to 8 which isn't going to get the soil down to the pH you need. Not all peat products are equally low in pH so here we always use Canadian sphagnum peat moss (3.5 to 4.5) for plants that like acidic soil. Check for the analysis on the bag if you're going that route.

Elemental sulfur is the usual way to lower soil pH but the amount to use depends on whether your soil is sand, loam or clay. Aluminum sulfate also lowers pH but I've also read that in high amounts it maybe be toxic to blueberries. Iron sulfate also decreases soil pH but I expect it to be more expensive than sulfur, you'd need to use more. These are not quick fixes.

Was your soil test done by a laboratory? If you have access to agricultural advice and testing your best bet would be to ask them what you can do because they will be familiar with your soil type and how likely it is that you would be able to adjust the soil for blueberries.





Name: Milan
(Zone 8a)
HOLD * FAST
Butterflies
Image
Makanudo
May 5, 2015 5:11 AM CST
Sue,

I appreciate the effort. You follow me correctly, this is the same soil in question because there is 500 meters distance between elm position and the blueberries. I got informed before planting b-berries and I am aware of soil being inapropriate, but I want to go organic or fail. I do not want to produce it commercially. I want to be confident in consuming my eventual produce. I am however ready to go great lengths in providing my plants any natural support.
"Keep a green tree in your hart, and perhaps a singing bird will come."
Chinese proverb
Name: Milan
(Zone 8a)
HOLD * FAST
Butterflies
Image
Makanudo
May 5, 2015 5:12 AM CST
Sorry I didnt say tank you sooooo much Thank You! Hurray!
"Keep a green tree in your hart, and perhaps a singing bird will come."
Chinese proverb
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
May 5, 2015 5:22 PM CST
sooby said: ... Elemental sulfur is the usual way to lower soil pH but the amount to use depends on whether your soil is sand, loam or clay. ...

Was your soil test done by a laboratory? If you have access to agricultural advice and testing your best bet would be to ask them what you can do because they will be familiar with your soil type and how likely it is that you would be able to adjust the soil for blueberries.


I agree with both: acidify soil with pure sulfur, but expect it to take some years to change the pH that much, especially down deep. You need a BIG pH change, so you probably want a strong and cheap acidifier: elemental sulfur.

Pure sulfur ("elemental sulfur", "flowers of sulfur", "agricultural sulfur") is gradually consumed by aerobic soil microbes whose names I forget. They use the sulfur as FOOD (at least, as an energy source and electron acceptor).

Unless there are impurities in the ag sulfur, it doesn't release anything toxic, just acidity and sulfate ions. I assume it is approved by "green" and "organic" certifying authorities.

http://blueberries.msu.edu/uploads/files/Lowering_Soil_pH_wi...

http://ohioline.osu.edu/agf-fact/0507.html

http://ohioline.osu.edu/agf-fact/0507.html
"To convert the recommended rates from pounds per acre to pounds per 1000 ft2 divide the values in Table 1 by 43.56. "

I seem to see people suggesting sulfur or iron sulphate or other things based on what OTHER deficiencies your soil might have. Thus getting a good soil analysis, especially of the deep soil near your berry bushes, could help you pick the best acidifier.

The soil microbes oxidase sulfer the same way we oxidize sugar to CO2. They oxidize Sulfur to the acid form of sulfate (technically, sulfuric acid, but it never exists as pure sulfuric acid (H2SO4)). As each molecule is oxidized, inside the bacteria, it combines with water and ions near it to release its acidity and become simple sulfate ions: HSO4- or SO4--. And sulfate is a required plant nutrient.

Also, this article claims, cleaner air and purer fertilizers are making sulfur deficiencies more common in many soils:
http://www.agweb.com/article/the_secrets_of_sulfur/

Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
Weedwhacker
May 5, 2015 7:03 PM CST
Makanudo, I understand completely what you are experiencing!! I planted 5 blueberry plants a couple of years ago, and gave them a good dose of "blueberry food" (?? what was in that, it was sold by one of the seed companies here), thinking nothing could possibly go wrong because blueberries grow wild not all that far from where I live. Last year when the plants leafed out, they had bright-yellow leaves... not really the color one expects to see on a healthy plant. Blinking At that point I dug the plants up and replanted them after amending the soil with peat, soil sulfur and greensand.

This year I've decided to move the plants into large pots, with a mixture of peat, potting soil, coir and perlite, plus soil sulfur, and acid-lover fertilizer. If this doesn't work for me, I will admit defeat ... Shrug!
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
/ Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Name: Milan
(Zone 8a)
HOLD * FAST
Butterflies
Image
Makanudo
May 10, 2015 2:22 PM CST
I'm all ears!
I hear you...
I may not suceed but I shall be left with important conclusions and insight.
"Keep a green tree in your hart, and perhaps a singing bird will come."
Chinese proverb

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "Dianthus 'Nyewood Cream'"