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vinegar, pH, and blues

Posted by riverman1 (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 21, 11 at 21:05

I'm still trying to revive my sickly plants I bought this spring. Most of them have new growth but they still don't look right, curling leaves, puckered leaves, etc.

I checked the pH of them with my cheap poke and hope pH meter and it reads about 6 for all of them.

I am on well water and based on pH data from area city wells I'm guessing my water is between 7 and 8.

For those using vinegar to drop the pH, how often are you using the vinegar? Every water, once a week?

Thank you

RM


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 21, 11 at 21:39

I'm not sure why you have puckered and curled leaves. When soil pH is too high, blueberry leaves will begin to turn yellow. Sometimes the veins will still be green, but the leaf between veins will be yellow, or yellow-ish. When I see signs of iron chlorosis, I will generally apply water mixed with vinegar once a week for a month, and then retest pH. It takes blueberry shrubs one month, or more, to recover from iron chlorosis.


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

Thanks Eric, I am aware that curling leaves are not an indicator of high ph but I'm grasping for straws on what's happening with these plants.

All my other plants which is (about 10 of them) are thriving but all 5 of these from the same source just don't look right. I have tried everything to turn them around, some doing better but some really struggling. So, now I'm trying to adjust ph to see if it helps some. I'm at the point where I'm just about to give up on them and start with new plants in the spring so anything at this point is worth a try.

RM


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

I use about 2 tablespoons of vinegar for about 3 gallons of tap water every time when watering.When the water is measured with a pH water test kit that came from a pond supply store,it is around the 5 range.I also use a soil probe that gets cleaned before every reading with very light steel wool.
I hope your plants get out of the blues and start rocking!


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

Thanks Brady.....

I add just over 2 tbs to one gallon to get a pH of 5. I tested the pH with some tiny strips. If you are adding 2 tbs to 3 gallons I'm wondering if the vinegar you are using is much stronger than the white vinegar I am using or my readings were incorrect! lol

I thik I am using the same pH probe you are, seems to work fine so long as you clean it between readings. My probe pH meter doesn't seen to like to read in water though.

I'm not sure what's up with these plants. I bought about 10 plants from three different sources this spring. Two of the source plants are growing great but all give from the third source are struggling so I'm wondering what's wrong with them, maybe a disease of some kind? I don't know and I have written a dozen people including some nursery folks and no one can tell me why the leaves are curling.

Thanks for the help on the vinegar!

RM


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

Could be powdery mildew. Do they look like the pictures on this page?

http://web3.canr.msu.edu/vanburen/e-1731.htm


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

RM- I have several that have turned chlorotic out of sequence with their neighbors and upon watering noticed no pooling and cratered out mole damage. 3 yr olds, they're basically drying up.I flooded the tunnel, and gently compacted the soil towards the bush. Voila, they're greening right up ... Many others had the mole issues albeit to a lesser extent.

Maybe they're after the minerals in the kelp that I use. Or just the grubs. I really do think they like the kelp. potassium prolly?
noogy


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

It may be the pH of the source water is somewhat higher than what I am using.Whatever works.I'm curious,who was the seller of these plants?It sounds like they are 1 to 2 years old and are now in pots?


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

Mr. Ed,

the leaves look just like that but it's not on all of them. Also, the leaves don't have have a white sheen or spidery web-like fungus growth so I'm not sure that's the problem. Thank you for the suggestion though, I will keep an eye on it.

Brady,

I bought these at a local garden/hardware store, wish I hadn't bought them now. I won't ever do that again, all of my plants will be mail-ordered through a reputable nursery from now on.

RM


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

Sometimes I check at the local Home Depot and have bought a few plants there.But there are times when the pots are dry,the plants still look somewhat healthy but that can't be good for them.Then I come back a week later and they're still dry!It makes me want to grab a hose and help the poor things.I know HD can only employ so many people to watch over the plants,but they should know better.


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

RM: I too am getting water from our municipality that is from a well. If you are getting your water from a municipality or ANY WATER SYSTEM that supplies water to 5 or more residences/businesses, that water system operator is required by law to provide you with a "consumer Confidence Report" every year, it is federal law. Among many other things, your CCR will tell you the pH of your water.

My situation with Fe chlorosis is caused by 2 confounding circumstances, high bi-carbonate well water and highly calcareous soil. I irrigate any plant that can't handle the water and soil with water that has had it's pH dropped to 5.5 with good old 12.5% vinegar. The vinegar addition causes the bi-carbonate to dissociate into leachable Ca and CO2 gas. another benefit of the pH 5.5 water is it temporarily frees up the Fe in my soil for absorption from the calcareous soil. As far as irrigation water acidification and soil acidity goes, that is as good as it is going to get for me, could use sulfuric acid but don't care to handle that stuff, thank you very much.

When you do fertilize (nitrogen), consider using ammonium sulfate, both the ammonium and sulfate will react in the soil to lower the pH to a greater or lesser extent depending on your soil.

Oh, it was worth it to spend $80 for a good, reliable pH meter to be certain that adding the acid to water was really changing the pH to what I needed. First, I tried the pH test strip paper and found it variable and didn't trust it. After getting the meter and comparing it's results with the test strips I was glad I bought the meter. BTW, my water is pH 7.2, harder than Hell (mostly Ca) and requires 20 ml (15 ml/Tbsp.) of vinegar (12.5%) to drop the pH to 5.5.

The reason I shoot for 5.5 is strictly for dealing with the bi-carbonates, in a perfect, controlled world 5.0 would be the target so I left myself a margin of error. Besides, vinegar isn't free.


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

Thanks Michael.......

If you don't mind, what pH meter did you buy and are you happy with it?

thx.

RM


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

I used to acidify my city water to ph5 with sulfuric acid untill I tested my soil and found some really low readings in the 2-3ph range. Flushed with city water for a few days and changed from ph5 to ph6 city water. Kinda hard to tell if it was the sulfuric acid that dropped it that low or the sulfer chips I put down to lower the ph. Either way it was obviously too much of a good thing. Also the fertilizer I use shows 19% sulfer also so I think I over did it alittle bit. The plants never really showed any stress symptoms due to low ph but I figured it was just a matter of time. You can get dizzy trying to chase ph of the soil. Thank goodness we got some rain the last couple of weeks and havent had to acidify any water. I just set up my rain gutters on one side of my house and 1/2" of rain will fill up 5 barrels at about 65 gallons a piece;) Still not enough storage but better than nothing. Planning on getting a 500 gallon storge tank to add to it.


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

I wish I could give your fertilizer a try blueboy. Strange they won't mail order it out of state. The growth you are getting is excellent.

RM


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

I use 1 oz (2 tablespoons) of vinegar per gallon of tap water at every watering. My tap H2O is approx. 8.0 pH. I have 2 blueberry plants in containers planted this spring. So far so good.


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

RM, just say the word and I can put some in the mail for you.


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

I appreciate the offer, maybe this winter I will take you up on the offer. I don't want to change anything I am doing this late in the growing season but once everything goes dormant and the snow flies I will be anxious to try something new in the spring! Thanks again.

RM


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

I use 1 cup of vinegar to a five gallon pail as maintenance once per month. Add after plant is thoroughly watered first. That seems like a lot more than some others here are suggesting but my vinegar is only 5%. Works so far.


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

RM: I have a Extech brand, model ExStik pH meter and like it very much so far. The meter has auto temperature compensation which is handy in that you don't have to make sure your samples and standard solution(s) are at least near the same temperature to get accurate readings.

Speaking of standard solutions, don't forget to order those when you get the meter or it will be useless. My water is pH 7.2 but I am adjusting it down to pH 5.5, I chose to get both a pH 4.0 standard and a pH 7.0 for 2 reasons - 1) I can get the most accurate readings for any sample that is between pH 4.0 and 7. (my target is 5.5) 2) I can accurately read a wider pH range with a 2 point calibration. You can probably do fine with a one point calibration, just select the standard solution that will be closest to the target pH you are shooting for. The other reason I use the 2 point is that I'm an old lab rat and prefer the highest precision and accuracy I can afford, that isn't always necessary but sometimes it is and I'm ready if needed.

BTW, my meter and standards came from Forestry Suppliers, here is a link to the meter and standards I purchased from them. They aren't the cheapest show in town so you might be able to find the same stuff cheaper, elsewhere. Looks like the price has gone up in the last 2 years, no big surprise there. http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/product_pages/View_Catalog_Page.asp?mi=4061&title=Extech+ExStik+Waterproof+Pens


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RE: vinegar, pH, and blues

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 25, 11 at 23:03

For 3 or 4 years I was using a small handheld pH meter made by Hanna Instruments. It only cost around 35 dollars. This unit was not temperature compensated, but it could be calibrated using two solutions of known pH. I knew our tap water was around 7.6, and I used 5% white vinegar for the low point. Since I had de-ionized water on hand for taking soil samples, I was able to confirm my calibration around pH = 7. I quickly learned that commercial steam distilled water was not neutral, but actually had pH around 7.1. To keep a pH meter going, the electrode should be kept clean, and it should always be kept wet, in some sort of storage solution. I am now using bromocresol green dye indicator to maintain soil pH around the blueberry shrubs. It works fine, but it is not so easy to find. HMS Beagle has it.


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