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repotting bb bush

Posted by Suzy11 (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 27, 14 at 14:49

When repotting, what do you think about using any potting soil and soil acidifier?


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RE: repotting bb bush

  • Posted by Drew51 5b/6a SE MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 21:55

Soil acidifier takes 6 months to work. So plant will struggle for 6 months, and maybe longer if dose is low, or too high.
If you can find a Fafard mix, they work pretty well with blueberries. Or a mix of pine bark and peat moss. Say 3-1 pine bark to peat. Same size as in 5-1-1 mix.
You could use Jack's classic Acid fertilizer to quickly lower PH. it has Ammonium Sulfate. You could use straight Ammonium Sulfate too.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GM2BKWC/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1YTX0DDLN4DI4&coliid=INRXYGCUKE0BP

If you use the above you could use regular potting soil. Do not buy one with fertilizer. Blueberries cannot handle Nitrates, and most plant foods have nitrogen as a nitrate.
You need Ammonium form, or Urea form of nitrogen.
Those are not nitrates. I would also add the product in the attached link to the mix.

Here is a link that might be useful: CRF for blueberries

This post was edited by Drew51 on Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 22:27


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RE: repotting bb bush

So, how can I lower the ph in the soil? How about holly tone The soil that I was thinking of using contains no peat but pine bark and worm castings. Do you know of a acidic fertilizer?


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RE: repotting bb bush

  • Posted by Drew51 5b/6a SE MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 22:28

I edited my first post to help. Add the soil acidifer too! Follow directions on label. Pine bark and worm castings are good! It should work very well if you use an acidic fertilizer. Holly-tone is great too, but takes time to work like the soil acidifier. Also organics are slow to work in pots without help (adding bacteria and fungi yourself).
Holly-tone does have it's own bacteria.

Fungi for blueberries is hard to find and very expensive. I use MycoGrow with other plants, but it has the wrong fungi for blueberries. I also use Biota Max to add bacteria. Once a month I innoculate all pots with both products as many bacteria/fungi die from inconsistant watering or chemical fertilizers. The stuff is cheap!

Here is a link that might be useful: Fungi for blueberries.

This post was edited by Drew51 on Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 22:44


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RE: repotting bb bush

Sounds like terrific info. thank you very much and thanks for taking time to help. This is a first for me


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RE: repotting bb bush

  • Posted by Drew51 5b/6a SE MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 21:01

No problem! I myself have only been growing them 5 years. I have 7 plants all different. Liberty, Toro, Chandler, Sweet Crisp, Legacy, Southmoon, And Cara's Choice.
Chandler is about ready to harvest.
Only 2nd year plant. So harvest is small. Sometimes I remove 2nd year crop, but plant was well established and quite big. So I decided to let it fruit.


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RE: repotting bb bush

Drew are organic potting soils okay?


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RE: repotting bb bush

  • Posted by Drew51 5b/6a SE MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 14:49

Sure, but remember you are starting with a neutral soil, so you must acidify it. I like the organic soils a lot myself. Not for blueberries, but other things. Still you can make it work. The blueberry needs the acidity to absorb nutrients, why it is important. If you could mix it say 50-50 with peat moss, that would lower PH a lot. It will stay moist a long time so careful watering.
Also the Azalea soils, or soils for cacti are good too. The Azalea is acidic soil. Adding peat to any of these, or pine bark fines will help lower PH. Also using Ammonium Sulfate or Jack's Classic Acid fertilizer. Available on Amazon, a large enough order usually means free shipping. Private or independent nurseries, not the big box stores usually carry these specialty items also.
Adding peat to any soil mix will help lower PH.
Man I have been fighting the birds off. I built a cage today. I have one blueberry plant yet to harvest. The birds are starting to take berries, not anymore!

OH organic fertilizer in organic soils doesn't break down to nitrates, or very little does, so usually OK. Good luck!


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RE: repotting bb bush

Here are two very good potting mix recipes for blueberries:

Fall Creek Nursery Mix

Dave Wilson Nursery Mix

You won't go wrong with either, but I like to strike a middle ground and go with something like 60% to 65% pine bark fines (called "pathway bark" in the DWN mix), 20% to 25% peat, and 15% perlite. I don't add sulfur to this mix -- the pH is perfect without it. That combination holds a bit more water than the Fall Creek mix, but it will drain better and hold its structure longer than the Dave Wilson mix.


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RE: repotting bb bushy

Thank you very much for your terrific information and patients. I am thinking of using organic mechanic soil, the container blend. I love it. I use it for all my plants. No peat, it has pine fines, good drainage, 7 ph. With soil Acidifier I need 4,4 to 5,4. Does that sound ok for blueberries? The nusery said that the bush would be ok with ph of 7 but 4,4 to 5,4 is recommended.


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RE: repotting bb bush

I'm concerned that the folks at your local nursery aren't giving you very good advice (pH 7 is not OK for blueberries). While the Organics Mechanics mix might be a great choice for most container plants, the high pH makes it a poor choice for blueberries. Rather than try to correct that with a soil acidifier that's slow to act and somewhat unpredictable, you'd be much better off starting with a mix that's in the appropriate pH range from the get-go.


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RE: repotting bb bush

I agree but how do you find one? That's my main problem. I have never seen it on the bag. Did I miss it?


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My Bush came from Fallcreek


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That's why I linked to the recipes above -- you'll need to mix your own. Peat and perlite are easy to find at either Lowes or Home Depot, but pine or fir bark fines are sometimes a little harder to track down. Availability varies by region. Here in NC, for example, they're pretty easy to find. Where are you?


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RE: repotting bb bush

I live in central pa. If I make it do I still have to lower the ph? Are there no bag mixes that I can use?


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In answer to your first question, no, you won't need to add an acidifier if you make your own mix as long as you use predominantly pine bark fines and peat. Both have a pH that's usually just about perfect for blueberries (in the 4-5 range). As for the second question, I'm not aware of any commonly available bagged mixes that are suitable for blueberries (not to say that there aren't any, of course).

As an example of what to look for, I've linked to a landscape supply store in Eau Claire, PA that sells pine bark fines that are bagged and labeled as "soil conditioner." That's quite common, so you might want to check local garden centers and landscape supply stores for anything labeled as soil conditioner and then take a close look at the ingredients. Ideally, you want a product that's 100% aged pine bark fines. When you've found all of the ingredients, mix 60% to 80% bark fines, 10% to 25% peat (wet it thoroughly before mixing it in since it's hydrophobic when dry), and 10% to 15% perlite. It's quick and easy, and your blueberry will thank you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardenscape


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RE: repotting bb bush

I wil. Thank you very very much


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Here are a few more tips for keeping your blueberry happy and healthy...

  • I'd suggest waiting until late winter/early spring (before it breaks dormancy) to repot. At that point, carefully remove all of the old potting mix from the roots and put the plant in 100% new mix.
  • If at all possible, water with rain water only (which has none of the dissolved bicarbonates that raise pH). It that's not possible, test the pH of your irrigation water (I like the inexpensive dye indicators like General Hydroponics' pH Test Kit) and use an acid (vinegar, powdered citric acid, or sulfuric) to lower the pH to between 5 and 5.5. The acid will react with and bind the bicarbonates (calcium, for example) that are present in ground and municipal water so that they won't raise the pH of your potting mix.
  • When you make your potting mix, incorporate a controlled release fertilizer (CRF) that has most of its nitrogen in the form of ammonium or urea (as opposed to nitrate) at the rate of 1 tablespoon per gallon or, if you'd prefer, a balanced organic fertilizer at the rate recommended on the label.

This post was edited by shazaam on Sat, Aug 2, 14 at 11:46


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RE: repotting bb bush

I don't know if I should wait. I considered that. I water every night and was going to start twice a day. The root ball is dry but the soil around it is damp. Wasn't sure if it would last the winter. I have a friend in TX who waters every day. So I thought that i would try it. It seemed to have helped. I did it once but don't really like the ida.


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RE: repotting bb bush

I don't know if I should wait. I considered that. I water every night and was going to start twice a day. The root ball is dry but the soil around it is damp. Wasn't sure if it would last the winter. I have a friend in TX who waters every day. So I thought that i would try it. It seemed to have helped. I did it once but don't really like the ida.


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RE: repotting bb bush

if i make the soil, is there a way to figure out the percents?


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ok 1 last ? I may use Jacks with Organic Mech.. why is it not appropreate? Do i need to add bactiria?


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What do you think of using cactus and citrus soil?


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An acid fertilizer won't significantly lower soil pH, so it's not a substitute for a soil acidifier like sulfur, and cactus and citrus soil is no more suitable than any other bagged mix that I'm familiar with (the pH is almost certainly too high).


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Doesn't the acidifier take care of that, or isn't it enough?


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Given sufficient time, yes, a soil acidifier (i.e. elemental sulfur, not an acid fertilizer like Jack's Classic Acid Special) will lower the pH of any potting mix. How quickly that happens and how far the pH drops will be determined by a variety of factors, including the amount of acidifier that you add, how thoroughly it's mixed throughout the soil, soil temperature and moisture content, etc.


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RE: repotting bb bush

Suzy, using these few basic steps you will be just fine..

Pay attention to the fertilizer...They will thrive with it..Mine do..

Use a large pot. If you're growing blueberries, chances are you are in it for the long haul. Your plants can happily produce fruit for years with very little care, but you'll want to start them off right. That means putting them in the largest pot that you can - at least 18"

Use a potting soil designed for acid loving plants - When planting your blueberries, fill your pot 2/3 full of your regular potting mix and the top third with a potting mix designed for acid loving plants, like rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. You can probably find this in a nursery, even in the houseplants section. If you can't find a high acid potting soil, you can mix in a fertilizer for acid loving plants, into your potting soil. I use Holly-Tone, by Epsoma.

Make sure your blueberries get full sun. Blueberries need full sun - a full 6-8 hours. In my experience, people often will over estimate how much sun an area gets, so unless you are absolutely positive about it, take the time to really figure out if your plants will get enough sun. This means either using a sun calculator or taking your watch and timing through the day how much sun your plants will get.

Water well and wisely - For blueberries to thrive in containers, they need water - lots of it. That said, they don’t like to be sitting in water, so try to keep the soil consistently moist, not soggy. Even if it rains, don’t assume that you don’t have to water. The leaves of the blueberry plant can shed the water so that it misses the container completely. Always check the soil with your finger, to see if it’s wet below the surface. If you have to leave your blueberry plant for any amount of time, make sure to move it to the shade to conserve water. A layer of compost with a topdressing of pine bark can also help conserve water.

Fertilizing blueberries - Blueberries don’t like too much fertilizer. Twice a year in the early spring works well. For organic fertilizer try blood or cottonseed meal, or a fertilizer designed for acid loving plants.

Blueberries need friends.To get your blueberries to fruit, you will need at least two blueberry plants for pollination, three plants is even better and they need to be placed relatively close together. Also it’s a good idea to grow a couple of different varieties of blueberries, because they will produce fruit at different times and extending your blueberry season.

Protect your blueberrie. While growing blueberries you’ll have few pests to worry about other than birds. To protect your fruit from feathered poachers, you can cover your bushes with a light sheet or netting, a few weeks before the berries are ripe.

Overwintering your blueberries. While blueberries are tough plants, if you live in a cold area, and are overwintering them in their containers, move them against a building or into a protected area to keep them out of the wind. You can also mulch your plants with straw or wrap them in burlap. In the winter, while plants are dormant, they don’t need much water, but don’t let them completely dry out.

MIke


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