Return to the Fruit & Orchards Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Posted by harvestman 6 (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 1, 14 at 16:42

I posted this on another thread but decided to start a new one because I thought a few would fine it interesting.

I just transplanted some 20 year old blueberries on my property that I originally planted for the birds. Initially I added sulfur but then ignored the soil for the next 19 years because the blueberries were extremely healthy and productive. I kept them mulched with wood chips and did nothing more.

I checked the pH after moving the plants expecting to need to add calcium to get the right pH for peaches. The pH was 6.6- once again I find thriving and productive blueberries in near neutral soil- this time on my own property!

There were 7 different varieties of typical highbush types in the mix besides a Tophat- you know, Bluecrop, Jersey, Duke, Patriot, etc. I'm guessing the soil was sweetened by the composting woodchips because my native, undisturbed soil on that hill runs about 5.6. The soil where the blueberries were is black and loaded with organic matter- the richest silt loam you'll ever see and drains perfectly without ever being soggy.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Bamboo, you need to be nice. I was over at harvestman's house the other day and he showed me his 20 year old beauty and it was amazing!

I just had to take pictures. Here is one of them:

Beautiful! Simply beautiful!


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Well they do appear to be stressed. But they have lived like this I assume for years, so it must look worse than it is. I have some tinge of red on new leaves sometimes, but mostly green. When i see the red, I lower the PH. When at the right PH leaves are a drak green.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

I find it interesting harvestman, would be interesting to see if they could indeed be grown in neutral ph soil with the addition of iron.

RM


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Here is what I wrote in another post as a possible explanation.

Blueberries need free iron and all their roots don't have to be in acidic soil to get it. As long as a portion of the soil provides this iron the plants will be fine. Carl Whitcomb has proven that plants that depend on acidic soil to obtain adequate iron can be cured of chlorosis with a surface application of pelletized sulfur when it's only changed the pH of the very surface of the soil and can't be measured by a soil test. Essentially, for all measurable reality, the soil would still be very alkaline but the plants completely recovered.

I don't think it's much of a reach to suggest that the humic acids released during the composting of mulch could free adequate iron on the soils surface to fulfill the needs of blueberry plants, although it is only a theory. However, I have no doubt that I've often seen healthy, productive blueberries in nearly neutral soil.

In every case where I've observed healthy plants in relatively sweet soil the plants were annually mulched with wood chips and the soil was very high in organic matter, which I doubt is coincidental.

I don't blame anyone for doubting my conclusions, however. If you search you will probably not find a single pedigreed expert that would suggest you can grow healthy blueberries in anything but highly acidic soil. When I install blueberries I continue to strive for a below 5.5 pH myself, adding peat and sulfur if needed, but I don't wait to achieve it before planting.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

In the defense of HM, I find it interesting to discuss various gardening methods. Most of us here know what it takes to grow blueberries and there is a thousand pages of old info for any new grower to search on so why not explore new ideas? Just saying, I like new ideas, I like new approaches to old problems. Instead of tearing the idea apart, lets discuss it, maybe someone could try it with one plant under controlled conditions.

RM


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

"Blueberries need free iron and all their roots don't have to be in acidic soil to get it. As long as a portion of the soil provides this iron the plants will be fine. Carl Whitcomb has proven that plants that depend on acidic soil to obtain adequate iron can be cured of chlorosis with a surface application of pelletized sulfur when it's only changed the pH of the very surface of the soil and can't be measured by a soil test. Essentially, for all measurable reality, the soil would still be very alkaline but the plants completely recovered."
I think it is valuable for the reader to understand, as you pointed out originally, that this is based on pin oaks. The observed effect very well may transfer to bbs (my personal unexperience opinion is it does), but there are some rather large differences between pin oaks and bbs that need to be included in the equation.

"I don't think it's much of a reach to suggest that the humic acids released during the composting of mulch could free adequate iron on the soils surface to fulfill the needs of blueberry plants, although it is only a theory. However, I have no doubt that I've often seen healthy, productive blueberries in nearly neutral soil."
Only recently understanding for the first time that your native soils are adequate for bbs is noteworthy. Many areas are just the opposite - reasonable ph at the surface (near neutral or slightly acidic), but just below that surface is highly alkaline. That is a fundamental difference that should be taken into account when considering if 6.6ph can be tolerated by bbs. Someone in the midwest trying to formulate their amendment plan based on your observations will likely fail miserably. The plants can't reach out to more suitable soils for fe, nor is it likely that their environment maintains wild populations of ericaceous mycorrhizae.

"In every case where I've observed healthy plants in relatively sweet soil the plants were annually mulched with wood chips and the soil was very high in organic matter, which I doubt is coincidental."
Yet, there are many other just as plausible explanations (the native soil ph being the most likely). Is it the humic acid? Or perhaps something is causing adequate levels of Fe2+ as opposed to Fe3+ that is more common? There are lots of possible reasons. I used to be skeptical of mycorrhizae as some touted it. But the peer-reviewed literature is there supporting it, verifying how beneficial it is. Given your native soil, this is a very likely reason for success there as ericaceous mycorrhizae are likely native. It will be interesting to see how your bbs respond to disruption of their mycorrhizae culture. It may take time to reestablish depending on how much cultivation you did to the spot where they were moved to. Hope you ph is better where they were moved to.

"I don't blame anyone for doubting my conclusions, however. If you search you will probably not find a single pedigreed expert that would suggest you can grow healthy blueberries in anything but highly acidic soil." [emphasis added]
And that is very telling in and of itself. It says to me your observations are an anomaly allowed by some local condition, and are not the norm applicable to other areas. I’d encourage experimentation to duplicate this elsewhere, but for the average ‘I want to try blueberry plants’ person, some doubt is in order.

Some other points:
Various soils provide for different levels of iron. This is not a very robust source, but it interesting for it’s graphical representation.

Bernadine C. Strik, Professor, Oregon State University

Many dicotyledonous plants respond to Fe deficiency by increasing the activity of the plasmamembrane-bound ferric chelate reductase (FCR) (Curie and Briat, 2003; Hell and Stephan, 2003), which cleaves and reduces Fe3+-chelates to free Fe2+. The free cation is then transported across the membrane by a channel transporter specific for Fe2+ (Zaharieva and Romheld, 2000). Once inside the root, Fe2+ can be used in root metabolic processes or it can be re-oxidized and chelated to form Fe3+-citrate, which is then transported in the xylem from root to shoot (Brown and Ambler, 1974; Marschner, 1991). The transport of Fe across the leaf plasman1embrane is a crucial step in utilization by the leaf and is regulated by Fe3+ reduction via the leafFCR (Kosegarten et al., 1999). In herbaceous crops, root FCR activity is considered to be the rate limiting step in Fe acquisition (Grusak et al., 1993). Darnell and Hiss

V. corymbosum is one such plant that does increase FCR in iron-deficient situations, however:

The activity of FCR is pH dependent, with optimum pH ranging from 4.0 to 6.0 (Moog and Bruggemann, 1994). Poonnachit and Darnell

I have read, but am not able to put my finger on the source right now, that FCR activity in bbs is lower than in most plants. Hence, pin oaks and other plants are not as dependent on soil ph to provide for optimal FCR activity to reduce Fe to a form that can be uptaken. In the typical situation, bbs need that optimal ph for reactions due to the limited FCR activity. In iron deficient lab conditions, FCR activity of V. corymbosum averaged 50nmol.g-1 FW per hour. If one wishes, they could look up and compare other species FCR rates in iron-deficient conditions.

I don't believe your bbs have a sweet tooth. I believe they have unique conditions present that allow them to continue (thrive?) despite the sub-adequate ph.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

While Poonnachit and Darnett, 2003 indicated that FCR activity of V. corymbosum averaged 50nmol.g-1 FW per hour in iron deficient conditions, as shown below, a certain grape rootsock had a baseline of 100 to 200, and increased 350 to 500 in iron deficient conditions. This little comparison puts in perspective why bbs don't adjust well outside of the ph zone that is optimal for reducing Fe3+ to Fe2+.
  • Strike 1 = root structure - "Blueberry roots lack root hairs that are used in other plants for mining the soil for water and nutrients" [Cornell].
  • Strike 2 = reduced amount of available Fe as the ph increases.
  • Strike 3 = reduced FCR production capabilities inherent in bbs.
  • Strike 4 = FCR becomes less effective as the ph rises above 6.0.



 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 2, 14 at 14:47

Since harvestman is able to grow northern highbush blueberries successfully, in soil with pH that tests higher than optimum pH, we might consider that the method of pH testing is suspect. Soil samples are taken with a small spoon, or something similar. To avoid damaging the shrub, we typically take a sample several inches from the plant. If it was possible to take a very small soil sample, perhaps one cubic mm, we might find that the pH is lower near the root, and significantly higher a few inches away. To my knowledge, there is no pH meter that will test such a tiny sample. I have other questions that might be answered if such a pH meter existed. I would like to know if the nucleus of an eukaryotic cell has a pH different from the surrounding plasma.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

My experience in the Midwest in soil with a PH of 6.5. No matter how much I amend, I cannot keep up and the plants suffer. I gave up. So my experience is quite different. I suspect what was pointed out that the surface is lower than the underlying soil, and I suspect that is the case where I live. If I were to measure PH deeper in soil I may come up with a much higher PH. Placing plants in raised beds, and in pots has worked for me. The plants rebounded tremendously once moved. The raised beds were prepared a year ahead of time to allow sulfur to work. Plus they are 90% filled with peat and pine bark fines. Some compost and garden soil.
In pots I use a 1-2-1 mix 1 part pine bark, 2 parts peat, and 1 part diatomaceous earth. With ericaceous mycorrhizae, trace elements, and organic acidic fertilizer.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

I didn't test my blueberry ground. I tested the soil from 1/2 the ground I plowed to plant row crops. It tested 6.1-6.3. I was planting corn and melons so I added lime @3000 lbs per ac.The test was done over 4 plots in a 15 ac site so I am just guessing (ass u and me) that it was site area equal.blueberries grow wild here when you clear land and burn it. I don't grow optimum berries (12000 lbs per ac) but I do get 4500 lbs with no amendments, fertilizer or care. bamboo can you say if I add $2000 in sulpher I will get $4000 more in berries?


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Thank you Charina for you elaborate presentation. I should mention that I've been seeing this in blueberry plants in several different locations around here and in a variety of native soils for about 20 years. I've posted it and had others reply that they've grown healthy blueberries in pH soil as high as 7. At least one of those reports came from someone whose competence I trust that lives in Kentucky. But those might have been rabbiteye.

I don't actually think it's that telling that the literature stands by a single version- just try to find the research- I doubt there's a heck of a lot that the echo chamber is based on.

Horticultural and even agricultural research is limited given the tremendous variability involved. Even in far more carefully studied scientific areas such as anything pertaining to human health and diet- research is continuously contradicting previous research.

I don't think pin oaks have a very fibrous root structure either, BTW.

Also, as I understand it, most important mychorizal relationships are not very species specific between various woodies. I don't recall iron as being one of the nutrients they make available- is it?

Drew, when I take a soil sample I try to make a fairly even composite of the top 18 inches or so to measure top soil. When I'm doing a thorough evaluations I also do a separate test of the subsoil- although I'm not sure how important it is. According to the "book" the subsoil becomes important during periods of drought.

In the end, I'm not suggesting that people go out and try to grow blueberries in 6.5 pH soil without amendments, but if you are in a hurry to put some plants in the ground you might stir in your peat and sulfur and just do it.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Raven, are you saying you have healthy blueberry plants growing in soil tested to be 6.1-6.3? Isn't this another example of a grower finding the literature to be false in their own real life experience? It isn't a question of volume of the harvest so much as whether the leaves are fully green and healthy. Yield can be related to many other issues including lack of irrigation or inadequate N.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

I have a clay loam, 2 feet down is pure clay, probably very basic. My plants didn't die, they just grew really slow, so i agree with what you are saying. At worst they will survive until the conditions improve.
Ironic on the west side of MI conditions are perfect. Most BB's are grown there in my state. When I bought my dog the breeder was on the west side. During the drive I saw thousands of blueberry plants. I never seen them before, awesome!


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

I was at a garden a couple of Saturdays ago when a girl I knew pointed out a plant and goes "Is that a blueberry?" It sure looked like it. I found the owner and asked. Yes, blueberries. They had been in the raised bed about 15 months. Growing in amongst the strawberries. Only 2 yrs at that point---no fruit. But wow. Not a problem tip to be seen on any leaf. Maybe neutral soil but not likely below 6.5. Just a 4 foot wide flower/vegetable garden bed around half the property exterior. There was a second blueberry bush next to it still green and red "bark" but no leaves; exactly how we might expect to find a blueberry in Mesa, AZ. Unfortunately the home owner didn't know the cultivars. No sulfur. No deliberate acidification. And the bed was growing just about any vegetable and flower you can imagine.

The observant girl snapped a photo with her cell phone and I cropped it.

Were I to guess I might imagine some mychorrhiza might be involved in allowing the nutrient exchange that would otherwise fail at near neutral pH. Obviously without testing the soil the best would be to say it obviously must be 5.5 or lower...but I really doubt it.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

sorry I did not see the zone 10, it must be a default.I will consider applying acid to 1/2 ac this spring. If the snow ever goes away. Boom sprayer tank mix how strong would you recomend?


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Harvestman, the blueberry picture posted above appears not to have been posted by Bamboo. It looks like ROFL is a recent member of gardenweb. Maybe he posted it as an April fool's joke and hasn't confessed. I've never seen leaves like that on my blueberries (or wild ones either). Anyone know what the pictured blueberries are suffering from?


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 3, 14 at 10:44

With regard to the question of amending irrigation water with sulfuric acid, and then applying same to a row of blueberry shrubs, the water should be pH tested before adding acid, and enough acid should be added to lower the pH to 5.0. Since the sulfuric acid will react with any lime residuals in the water, the exact amount of acid used depends on the volume of water, and the hardness of the water. Keep in mind that it is quite possible to kill a blueberry shrub with too much acid. We won't mention any names...You all know who you are.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

HMan wrote:
Also, as I understand it, most important mychorizal relationships are not very species specific between various woodies. I don't recall iron as being one of the nutrients they make available- is it?
From what I understand (which is not very thorough reading), mycorrhizae are not "species specific", but there is some adaptation and specialization in certain cases. Such as the ectomycorrhizae found as symbiotes to birch, willow, pines, etc (about 2% of plants). And of course, ercoid mycorrhizae which are symbiotes with ericaceous plants.

Iron regulation by ericoid mycorrhizae is rather amazing (to me anyway). Mycorrhizae secrete siderophores ("small, high-affinity iron chelating compounds"). "Siderophores are amongst the strongest soluble Fe3+ binding agents known." Apparently the ericoid mycorrhizae not only assist ericaceous plants by mining and transporting iron to the roots in iron deficient conditions, but they also protect the plant's roots from toxic levels of iron (and aluminum, perhpas other metals as well) by absorbing and storing the excess iron. Amazingly they act as a moderator in both deficient and excess conditions. In short, yes, they do mine and transport iron much like they are known for doing with phosphate in other plants.

The following is a nice concise explanation of non-ericaceous mycorrhizae and the phosphate effect (which is much more fully studied as it relates to primary food crops like corn). I haven’t seen a concise description like this in regards to iron in ericoid mycorrhizae, but I do see the parts and pieces in various papers and write-ups. I think (take with a grain of salt as I very well may be wrong) that it is analogous to the iron activity in ericoid mycorrhizae.

Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are known to stimulate host plant growth, mainly by enhancing soil nutrient uptake, particularly P, but also by increasing the resistance of host plants to biotic and abiotic stresses. The positive effect on P uptake has been attributed to: (i) an exploration of a larger soil volume by the extraradical mycelium (ERM); (ii) the small hyphal diameter leading to an increased P absorbing surface area and, compared to nonmycorrhizal roots, higher P influx rates per surface unit; (iii) the formation of polyphosphates (polyP) by mycorrhizal fungi and thus lower internal inorganic P (Pi) concentrations; and (iv) the production of organic acids and phosphatases that catalyse the release of P from organic complexes (Marschner & Dell, 1994). Bücking and Shachar-Hill, 2004

This post was edited by charina on Thu, Apr 3, 14 at 10:59


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Although an old paper, this is a worthwile read in relation to ericoid mycorrhizae and iron. In part because it is old, it provides more background information rather than specialized focus on the mechanisims more recent papers generally have.

The role of mycorrhizal infection in the regulation
of iron uptake by ericaceous plants


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 3, 14 at 11:40

ericwi, measuring pH and acidifying your water is something that you do, correct? It's not something that everyone does or has to do. Many BB care sheets geared toward home growers do not include that step.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

That may very well be because the fact sheet are aimed at home growers that live in areas where blueberries do well. In many areas of the country extra measures must be taken because the soil and the water is not appropriate for blueberries and there is no recommendations for backyard growers in those areas because it is difficult and requires things like treating the water.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Thanks charina for your thoughts on mycorrhizae fungi.
For blueberries one can purchase the fungi from Territorial seeds. And for all other plants the best I have found is in the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: MycoGrow fungi and bacteria


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

I killed a couple of potted Blueberry plants with powdered Sulfur.Probably too much of just about anything could do that. Brady


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Drew, I recently called Santiam Organics, who make the ericoid mycorrhizae that territorial sells. They are continuing to build their distribution channel, and coverage is not complete. Territorial was the only one selling retail online, although the product is carried by retailers in various states (those where bbs grow without extreme help - so there is not one in UT for sure!)

Some of the bb's I'm getting next week will not be inoculated, while others will be. I'll do comparisons across the same variety to eliminate influence from varietal differences. Otherwise, treatment will be identical for all plants. Hopefully I don't get too busy to photo document the results over the next couple years.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

I can't say it's the fungi, but I just planted two bare root BB in pots with the fungi, and they started leafing out right away. All of my in ground plants are still dormant. I have had to haul the potted BB's in and outside everyday, Freezing temps at night. I potted a third BB, it has not leafed out yet. Also hauling it, along with two blackberries.
The BB fungi is expensive, but the other stuff is dirt cheap (pun intended) so no excuse not to use it. Hey the studies are enough evidence for me that it does help. Even just to help get the plant established early it's worth it. I have 25 peppers and 15 tomatoes waiting to go out, the Mycogrow will handle all of them and 200 more! I also use Biota Max as it has some different fungi and bacteria to cover all bases. Mix them together in a drench for transplants.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

MrClint,

Here is one BB care sheet aimed at growing blueberries in areas where they don't naturally thrive.

Blueberries in Utah? Difficult, but Maybe Not Impossible

Note, not only is the typical soil acidification recommended, but treatment of the water as well. As far as I am aware, it is impossible to grow bb's here without treating the water (or buying distilled water) as it is both high in ph and alkalinity. A rain water storage system would have to be huge to use that method as we are the second driest state in the US (drier than AZ - only NV is drier.)


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 3, 14 at 13:57

In recent years I have been growing blueberries, here in Madison, Wisconsin, using our city supplied tap water for irrigation, with no acid added. The water is alkaline, with pH = 7.6, due to the limestone aquifer where the water accumulates underground. All of our blueberry shrubs are mulched with shredded tree leaves, and under the layer of mulch is a layer of agricultural sulfur, typically 3/4 cup, applied when the shrub is planted. I test the soil pH around each shrub once per year, usually in the spring. More sulfur is added as necessary, about every three years. I am currently testing soil pH with bromocresol green, however, I used to do this test with a calibrated pH meter, made by Hanna Instruments. In the past, I have used 5% white vinegar, from the local grocery store, for lowering the pH of our tap water, but these days I only use vinegar for this purpose when a shrub is having an issue with iron chlorosis. Vinegar works OK for lowering soil and water pH, but the effect is temporary, and the pH will rise back up in about a month. That's why sulfuric acid is generally recommended as an addition to alkaline irrigation water, to be used on blueberries.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 3, 14 at 14:13

charina, I grow BB in containers in So Cal. Acidifying water is not required, It's perfectly fine for you to do so if you like.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe


charina, I grow BB in containers in So Cal. Acidifying water is not required, It's perfectly fine for you to do so if you like.
Are you suggesting it is fine to do what you do? e.g. not treat water?

This post was edited by charina on Thu, Apr 3, 14 at 14:54


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

SWVirginia,

Shhh let HM assume what he wants to:) And I have no idea what is wrong with the BB in that photo but they sure have a lot of fruit on them.

Raven,

I would adjust the water down to PH 5. But is kind of a guessing game unless you know what the fields PH is but at 5 you wont hurt anything. If you are going to spray the acid anyway consider an application of Ammonium sulfate dissolved in the water and applied along with it.

HM,

When you claimed to be the worlds best pruner I had not even posted on this board yet......someone emailed me that nice tidbit. Your string of whoppers is legendary....I just picked the first ones that came to mind. Most people do not call you on your posts because whoever does is subjected to 1000 word diatribe type replies....just is not worth the effort.

Charina,

Mr.Clint has said previously that he waters his BB every day or two with straight PH 8.5+ municipal water and that his blueberries thrive. Do a search :) I have a friend in Santa Barbara that uses citric acid on her 50 or so bushes and they do great but she also uses the sulfuric acid. She rotates through the two acids, the citric (which she applies dry to the soil) for convenience and the sulfuric now and then to clean up the stored bicarbonates in the soil. I think another reason a lot of the publications skip mentioning using the acid is perceived liability as the acid can be dangerous. I find the higher concentration acid to actually be less dangerous in my opinion. The 96% sulfuric I use has a consistency close to baby oil so it does not splash easily like the 33% tends to. I guess that is why it use to be called oil of vitriol.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Harvestman,

I have found your posts very helpful in the past. I've learned a lot from this forum and you are one of the contributors that I read with specific interest. Please don't let this guy discourage you. Selfishly, I encourange you to continue sharing your knowledge. Thank you.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Charina, thank you, that is new information to me even if it's an old paper. When I was in hort-school a couple decades plus ago most of the information was about their making P available when it was deficient and water during drought.

I'm too tired to read it today, but does the paper make any ballpark estimate of how much pH forgiveness the mychorizal relationship might provide? I

ISOH, thank you. I could waste a lot of time exposing the lies and distortions about me BR spreads but it would be boring to everyone. Check the thread on thinning peaches and apricots and you will see what I mean. If I refute him he just makes something else up.

Also, thanks a lot Mr. Clint. BR is certainly proving your point.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Bamboo:

You know that I am not one to shy away from a good debate.

But, on this one, I think that you stepped over the line.

Maybe a reasoned undercutting of HM's position, without descending into the personal attack realm, would be a much more effective, productive, satisfying and pleasant endeavor for all of us.

Not a fan of the tone.

Just a thought...
Mike


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

does the paper make any ballpark estimate of how much pH forgiveness the mychorizal relationship might provide?
I have not read anything that provides for such quantification.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Ah well, at least we have an actual theory and not only my improvised suggestion of why 5.5 pH just may not be written in stone for healthy blueberries. If you to go to the woods and take a bit of dirt near a stand of blueberries you may well win some forgiveness for less than optimum pH by adding it to your soil.

Blueberries are widely dispersed here - I can find plants within easy walking distance of my property. The ally fungus may be widely spread.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Whoa dudes, I assumed this entire thread was an April Fools Joke. Looks like I am the one who was fooled. LOL


On a more random note, here is a picture of my poor Misty Blueberry who survived 3 Ice Storms:

That was one week ago. He looks much better now. Tons of pinkish white blooms.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Charina, I've just been reviewing your various contributions here and want to thank you again. You've taken me to school and I appreciate it.

It is true that here our undisturbed soils tend to become more acidic downward, I've always assumed it was the neutralizing affect of composted leaf litter and other organic matter as it coincides with soil color created by the presence or lack of OM. In areas where there is not an accumulation of OM I've noticed no pH discrepency but this is a limited observation.

I don't believe that the blueberries in question had access to more acidic soil underneath because they were growing in soil pockets in rock beds- these pockets had captured a great deal of leaves over the centuries and the soil was nearly organic- black, spongy and wonderful- until you reach rock.

Why would there be any disruption to the mychorizal relationship as it exists?. The plants were moved as fairly solid root balls. Older blueberry plants here are easy to move because the balls hold so much soil and they are easily pried up with most of the root systems intact.

It is strange that a plant without fibrous roots can be so easy to transplant if it's growing in the right conditions.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

HM,

I still do not understand why you are so shocked that BB survive with no care in your area..your native PH is 5.6, of course they would grow there. It would be like me posting that I am shocked oranges grow here in Florida. You are .1 below the recommended PH....... .1 The 5.5 the experts state is simply the line where BB do best. I'm sure many posters here have had their BB limp along at PH 6 or higher.

This post was edited by bamboo_rabbit on Fri, Apr 4, 14 at 8:29


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Why would there be any disruption to the mychorizal relationship as it exists?

Supposition probably most likely formed in my mind from the influence of some marketing stuff I had read. Not based on any studies, as most of my reading has been limited to infection, and comparative studies on young plants in controlled lab conditions. The marketing stuff makes rational sense though - that the small fibers of the fungus (hyphae) are easily disturbed and broken, and tillage, or even compaction by equipment harms fungal growth. The plants’ roots would still be infected, and the fungus would regrow the hyphae, but it would take some time to do so. Then again, I didn’t initially understand you were able to move an entire root ball with soil intact, so perhaps there is not too much disturbance. Still, my mind envisions any differential settling of the soil, esp the jolts and vibrations of moving, as causing shearing forces inside the root/soil ball that would easily break the hyphae.

Glad the things I have recently learned were of benefit. But really, I'm just reading and passing along. That's all.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

Raven, I have no experience with blueberries or low ph soil. My experience in the fertilizer business has been that dry sulfer is the cheapest. If I remember right dry sulfer comes in a 90% formulation. Ammonium sulfate adds some, but you would have to use a LOT of product compared to just using dry sulfer. You can not dissolve Dry sulfer into a slurry though I don't think. If you want to go liquid it comes that way, but it costs a lot more.
Here are a couple links for you.

http://www.algreatlakes.com/PDF/factsheets/ALGLFS28_Reducing_Soil_pH_Field_Crops.PDF

http://www.tigersul.com/products/agriculture/bentonite-sulphur/tiger-90-cr-sulphur.html

To truly amend an 1/2 acre of 6 ph down to 4.5 you would need 855 pounds of a 90% dry sulfer, with a cost of $300-400. It would take 5900 pounds of ammonium sulfate ($1200-2000) to do the same thing, and adding that much AMS would add a lot of nitrogen and Im not sure if you would need that or not.

Around here you could find a dry fertilizer outfit to bring a spreader out if it was a big enough job. 1/2 acre not so much. But I bet it could be done as an experiment even with a yard spreader, or some kind of pull behind a 4-wheeler spreader. It would just take some math to make sure you got it spread right. It would need incorporated, either with rain or mechanically.

If my calculations are right it would take 296 gallons of a 26% liquid sulfer product to amend 1/2 acre from 6 down to 4.5ph.


 o
RE: My blueberries have a sweet toothe

I am out of my league with you guys but I decided to share a method that seems to be working for me here in Colorado. I only bought my blueberries last year. Someone here suggested Sunshine Blue as they don't require as much acid.

I used the method described here:

Edit: I also have collected rain water specifically for the blueberries.

Here is a link that might be useful: Blueberry growing intense in Colorado

This post was edited by milehighgirl on Fri, Apr 4, 14 at 15:20


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Fruit & Orchards Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here