Growing Blueberries - Knowledgebase Question

Oxnard, CA
Question by ghaseg3112
November 20, 1999
I am in the process of preparing a planting location for a small, 1 acre blueberry plot. The pH of soil now registers at 6.5. I am aware that blueberries require a pH of about a 4.0- 5.5. What amendments or soil treatments could I utilize to fairly rapidly lower the soil pH. I am leery of using sulfuric acid and am afraid that the use of peat moss alone will not lower the pH to sufficient acidity levels.


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Answer from NGA
November 20, 1999

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Blueberries need very fertile, very well drained, acidic soil, with a pH of between 4 and 5.5. To make a soil more acidic, add partially decayed oak leaves, peat moss, or pine needles. Adding compost is always beneficial for any soil and will help improve your clay soil's drainage.

Blueberries require full sun during fruiting, probably daily water. It's best to plant more than one variety as cross pollination helps with the yield. Apply compost or slow acting general purpose fertilizer in the spring. (Manure tends to be alkaline, which will raise your soil pH level.)

The flowers on bluberries are perfect (male and female parts in the same flower), but fruit best with cross pollination from bees. They benefit from the mix of pollen from different varieties.

Blueberries can be fertilized lightly after fruiting and in late winter with an acid loving plant food, such as an azalea/camelia fertilizer, or cottonseed meal. All tend to be acidifying and provide plants with nutrition.

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