Strawberries and Aluminum Sulfate - Knowledgebase Question

Des Moines, Io
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Question by mps1173scs
December 19, 2010
I just read an article that says aluminum sulfate is toxic and should not be used on edible plants. A farmer who sells strawberries recommended I put it on mine. My brother grows blueberries and uses aluminum sulfate. How toxic is it???

Answer from NGA
December 19, 2010
If large quantities are used, Aluminum toxicity can occur. However, you'll see plant stress if too much is used and the plants won't develop berries. Aluminum sulfate is used to acidify the soil. The optimum pH for strawberries is 5.0 to 6.5; however, most varieties will tolerate a pH as high as 7.5. If a soil test indicates a high pH, you can reduce the pH by incorporating peat moss or sulfur into the soil (about 6-8 inches) before planting. Or, if you use ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) as a nitrogen source it can also lower the pH. As a rule of thumb, add one-half pound of ammonium sulphate (21-0-0) for each 100 square feet of planting bed. Best wishes with your berries.

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