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Ph too low in Blueberry pots

Posted by blueboy1977 9 (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 3, 12 at 8:17

I'm starting to see some yellowing on the new growth of all my new plants from FHN so I decided to check some of the pots ph. I put a plate under the pots and watered several of the plants showing the most yellow on the new growth. Every pot I checked had a ph between 3.1-3.8!!! I know I can flush the pots until I get a higher ph reading but are there any other ways to bring the ph up in potted plants??? I really don't want to use tap water to flush unless I have to. My tap water runs 8.5 on the ph scale and it's chlorinated which could cause other problems in my soil. Would flushing with rain water have very much effect on raising the ph?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots

All rain water I have checked been 6.8 to 7.0.
Remember nothing lives at 3.0 ph that dead zone for all plants now time add lime to water in small amounts like teaspoon too gallon just higher ph water want change ph soil if did all soil get rain higher ph than do 6.8 to 7.0.


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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots

Gator,

You are looking at it wrong. The reason rain water does not change the PH even if it is 7.0 is because rain water is soft, it has no bicarbonates. The high PH tap water is hard and it will be rich in bicarbonates and will change the PH of the soil.

PH 7 rainwater and PH 7 well or municipal water are very different.


Blueboy,

I would use your tap water.....if you can let it sit for a day the chlorine will dissipate or you can agitate the water for a few minutes and most of the chlorine will be gone. Even just a hard stream from the hose in to a bucket will get rid of a lot of the chlorine.


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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots

blueboy:

Welcome to the yoyo world of potted blueberries, pH too high/pH too low.

My first question is how good is your pH meter? Because yellow doesn't sound like low pH. But I'm still not sure what too low pH does look like on the plants. I have some with brown lines on the leaves. Not sure if that's low pH either.


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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots

I had some in pots with too low pH and it looked like they were approaching winter,with leaves turning brown.That's what I thought it was,because it was in the fall,but others of the same variety weren't changing like that.
It was when the soil pH was checked and there were pockets of too much Sulfur,that I found out the real reason. Brady


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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots

This is some of mine now. Do you think this is too low pH?

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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots

There is definitely something going on there fruitnut.They have a lot of good looking leaves,so there is still time to try and correct it.What is the pH? Brady


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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots

Peat will lower ph. And organic matter breaking and I'd Definatley consider repotting it . Try mixing sand and crushed coral into your potting mixes may help keep the ph up. But I'm not expert . Just some stuff I know


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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots

And your low ph tells me you have very poor drainage and the soil is more than likely always soggy or wet. Also it kinda looks like you have mulch in those pots . Remove the mulch along with the repotting


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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots

Brady:

The pH doesn't read really low. But then I've lost all confidence in my pH meter.

If it's not low pH I have no idea what it is.


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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots

Fruitnut, you got thrips on your plants. I've been fighting thrips on my plants since since I planted them. They basically rasp the stems and leafs then suck the juice. They leave nasty brown scars/lines all over the leafs and stems and tend to mostly attack new growth. Once you have them I don't you ever get rid of them. At least I never have. I can barely control them most summers with spinosad. I hate those things. They are really really small like 1/16 inch small and move very fast for such a little bug. They reproduce like mad and get to the highest population during June and August.


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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots 2

I do have a good meter but its a liquid meter with a glass buld. I just water with rain water and collect it as it drains then check the ph of the water. I will post some pics tomarrow on this thread of what I'm seeing on my plants. I will also post some pics of thrip damage so you can compair. Im almost 100% convinced you got thrips on your plants.


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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots

blueboy:

I suppose I do have thrips. But why do you say the damage seen in my photos is thrips? I've other plants nearby with new growth that show none of the damage seen above. These are older plants with a different soil mix.

The damage on my plants doesn't look like an insect to me. I could be wrong. You got any pictures or anything else that supports a thrips thesis?


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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots

Yup, I will post them.
Here are some pics of thrip damage on my plants.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosPhotobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Here is a pic of thrip damage on strawberry leafs
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Here is my potted plant that showed 3.1ph
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots 3

Fruitnut, in your second pic I can clearly see the scars on the stems of the thicker shoot. No doubt about man! Get some spinosad and a spray bottle that makes a fine mist and cover the top and bottom of the leafs/branches with spray. It will take at least 3 applications and you will see a dramatic difference on the rest of the new growth. You may still some damage but nothing like your seeing now. I start spraying in mid Feb here and continue all the way through Oct. You will probably not have to spray that much cause your in a green house but the thrips show up on my plants as soon as the flowers open and they attack the inside of the flowers. I think that may have been why I lost so many berries on Emerald last spring. I thought it was twig blight but after some research it probably was thrips killing my berries. The first flush of flowers formed berries but the second flush got attacked and I lost way over half of the berries. I hope you can keep those suckers in check man! Another option is to order some lace wing eggs. Once they hatch they will give those thrips hell. A combo of lace wings and Spinosad should give you good results.


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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 4, 12 at 10:58

The photo of yellow blueberry leaves looks exactly like the effects of high soil pH, not low soil pH. You will have to calibrate your pH meter, using solutions of known pH. Grocery store vinegar, 5% concentration, has pH around 3.5, and distilled water should be around 7. Here in Madison, Wisconsin, our city tap water has pH around 7.6. I am currently using an indicator solution, bromocresol green, to check soil pH near our blueberry shrubs. It is not as precise, but has the advantage of no calibration required.


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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots

Checked all my potted plants last night and I have to flush 17 of them, OUCH!!!!! I changed the batteries and calibrated my ph meter with ph7&4 buffer solution. Had 2 plants in the 2.7ph range and those plants have not grown a inch in months.

Eric, chlorosis can be caused by a number things. High ph is usually the culprit but soil that's too wet and low ph can cause it also as I'm seeing in my plants. The ph has to be in a certain range for blues to up take all the goodies in the soil and a swing one way or the other will cause chlorosis in the leafs. One other thing I've noticed on some of my plants with low ph is some of the leafs have slowly started to turn brown in random spots on the leaf. It almost looks like a bacterial canker of some kind but I have a feeling it's from the low ph but not 100% sure.

Fruitnut, how did your plants respond after flushing them? Did you find thrips on your plants?


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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 7, 12 at 13:17

My experience with growing blueberry shrubs is based on plants that are rooted in the local soil, out in the weather 12 months a year. Since our soil is high in calcium, magnesium, iron, and aluminum, these minerals are always available, regardless of what I do or don't do. Since our native soil has pH around 7.6, I have to work really hard to get the pH too low-in fact, I have only seen this once, a soil test done in the early spring, that showed one shrub has a pH of 3.8. I kept the shrub watered with regular tap water, which brought the pH up a bit, and it leafed out and did fine. Growing blueberry shrubs in pots is a different process, it seems. I would think that the initial set-up, the specific growing medium mixture, would be important, and also the type of fertilizer applied, as well as the rate. You might be flushing out nutrients when you water, and this might result in chlorosis. If that is the source of your yellow leaves, then it might help to add a small amount of fertilizer to the irrigation water, each and every time. The fertilizer would have to include both iron and magnesium to prevent chlorosis.


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RE: Ph too low in Blueberry pots

Eric, I think you hit the nail on the head about "initial set up, specific growing medium mixture". Where I went wrong was the amount of sulfer I applied to the mix at planting. Number one, I did the potting mixture one pot at a time and just eyeballed the amount of sulfer to put in which explains the variation from pot to pot ph. Plus the fert I use has 14% sulfer which was add to the initial mix aswell. I was in such a hurry to get them into pots and didnt take the time to make sure the mix was right for all of them. I had 24 tissue culture plugs in plastic wrap and rushed it. To add insult to injury, at first seeing chloratic leafs I started to use acidified water thinking high ph was the culprit. That didnt help so I tested the ph and found out my problem. That being said, I nailed some of them in the 4.0 to 5.0 range but the others are alittle to sour! The fert I use is a slow release organic fert I apply every 2 months during the growing season. Instructions say to apply every 3 months but like you said, I didnt want to flush out all the fert so I cut the amount back alittle and do it every 2 months. I cant complain about the growth though. Ive been pinching them back all summer to keep them in check. Obviously Im still in the learning curve with these plants but every mistake made is a lesson learned.

What are yalls thoughts about catching water from the bottom of the pot as a ph indicator for the soil? I use nothing but rain water and figured it will take on the ph of the soil by the time it drains out.


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