[NAFEX] pH and blueberries

Alan Haigh alandhaigh at gmail.com
Mon Jan 28 18:46:41 EST 2008

I second the motion that blueberries are adaptable to a wider range of pH
than the literature allows.  I embarrassed myself some time ago when telling
a client that I was sure the soil beneath their blueberries was quite acid
because the plants were so healthy and productive.  While testing the soil
to prove my point I was surprised to find the pH to be in the mid 6's.
Since that time I have often found very healthy blueberries in similar
soils- always high in organic matter but almost sweet.

On the subject of acidifying soil, sulfur is my ally, in the pelletized form
as Lee suggested.  I have observed that chlorotic plants rapidly improve
with  a surface application of sulfur well before a change in pH can be
measured.  Mulch won't make a rapid difference no matter what you use, but
conifers contain less calcium than hardwoods and so would be preferable.
Peat moss is fine as well, even if it stays dry as long as you don't
accidentally set it on fire.  I wouldn't use it as a mulch because it is a
limited resource and expensive compared to other options.

As far as disease being a problem with fresh wood chips, I suspect that is
either a myth or extremely rare.  If it created problems I'd probably know
about it by now from the collective experiences of a very wide web of users
of fresh chips.  I prefer my chips to be at least 6 months old to leach out
any alleopathic chemicals but these also are usually not a problem with
established plants.
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