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Blueberry advice please!

Posted by Miss_Habanero Zone 8a (My Page) on
Fri, May 23, 14 at 16:56

Hello there everyone.

I bought two blueberry plants a few weeks ago and planted them here in my alkaline california soil. I mixed large parts peat moss with the native soil and sprinkled in soil acidifier (looks kind of like little lentils) to make them happy. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping this works, because the pH tester I bought reads between 7 and 8 no matter where I stick it, so I guess I'm on my own (no instructions, I think it's broken already).

Anyway, long story short, how can I tell if the soil is too acidic or too alkaline for the berries? The new shoots look okay, but a lot of the old leaves are kind of curling in on themselves and wrinkling. I don't know if this is because of some sort of transplanting stress or maybe the way they were grown in the nursery.

Any help is much appreciated, thanks!

-Habs


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Blueberry advice please!

See: Acidifying soil for blueberries

The sulfur used in soil acidifiers takes time to have an effect. Longer than "a few weeks".


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RE: Blueberry advice please!

As far as advice what to do now: were it me I would get some sulfuric acid, mix that up to dilute it and then add that to the ground around where the blueberries are planted to get the pH down quickly. But I know that's not an option for everyone and it does come with risks. Sulfuric acid can hurt you especially your eyes. You would definitely need a good ways to measure pH. Another option which is a bit more work, but safer would be to put them in pots with a mix of peat moss and pine bark fines until the sulfur has a chance to acidify your soil.


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RE: Blueberry advice please!

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Fri, May 23, 14 at 20:06

Blueberry shrubs planted after April 15 will tend to dry out and turn brown, if they are in a sunny spot, in a warm climate. You can lower the stress on the plant by rigging some sort of shade, to be used between 10 am and 3 pm. You can lower soil pH immediately by adding some 5% white vinegar to your irrigation water, but how much? Here in Madison, it takes 12 fluid ounces of 5% white vinegar per 4 gallons of tap water to lower the pH from 7.6 to 5. I can't say if that is the correct ratio for your water.


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RE: Blueberry advice please!

Ah, looks like maybe I just planted them too late in the season. I'll try some of the other advice. Thank you everyone!


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RE: Blueberry advice please!

Something that might help them along. Coffee is acidic somewhat-brew a pot of coffee dilute it down with water about 2/3's water and 1/3 coffee and water your blueberries with that. I would think you would see improvement very soon. I agree with charina the sulphur is the right approach, but takes time.


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