[NAFEX] Fruth's comments

Mark Angermayer hangermayer at isp.com
Sat Jul 18 13:36:47 EDT 2009

Our soil is 7.0  pH based on two different soil tests (A&L Labs).  Last fall I decided I wanted to plant blueberries.  I rented a skid loader and dug out room for two blueberry beds.  After removing a significant amount of topsoil and piling it up. I put a generous amount of leaf litter down.  Then added some sulfur on the leaf litter.  Then added the topsoil back to make a couple of terraces for the blueberry plants.  Then added more sulfur and a little urea.  In the spring I planted the blueberries.  So far they show no signs of iron chlorosis.  The funny thing is though, I checked the pH of the soil at the blueberry root zone (about 4 inches down) about a month ago.  It measured still measured 7.0.  It appears to take awhile for the bacteria to lower the pH and for the sulfur to leach down.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Alan Haigh
  To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org 
  Sent: Saturday, July 18, 2009 10:50 AM
  Subject: [NAFEX] Fruth's comments

  Here's an abridgement of what the article does say, in case anyone besides Jim is interested in our little discussion.

  "It is best to prepare the ground a year or more in advance of planting your blueberries.  Why?  You mentioned jusing sulfur to acidify your ground and it takes a long time to do its task....

  Q. As I've stated on this site before, I have seen very healthy and productive blueberries growing in soils with a pH in the mid 6's and others corroberated this observation- Alan Haigh.

  A. Alan, I seem to remember that mentioned, where growers have bound up the soil calcium and added additional magnesium but I don't recall anyone saying what they did to de-activate the calcium.  If I had a corner of land that I didn't care what happened to, I'd try that.  If you were to apply enough phosphoric acid to bind the calcium, turning into the insoluble form, calcium phosphate, you should be able to acidify the soil a lot faster than by acidifying with sulfur..."

  This is part of what Jim posted last here , "Alan, I didn't say that!
     I just got a copy of my Pomona article and compared it to your post,
  below.  I think you need to re-read my article and then re-read your
  comments.  I DIDN'T SAY THOSE THINGS!  And where did you get the statements
  about iron?  I didn't even mention iron!  Could you be confusing my article
  with someone else's?"
  Jim, Iron is the whole issue of what is damaging about  higher pH soils for acid lovers.  It makes adequate iron unavailable.  I assumed you were speaking from this understanding.  I have reread your article and stand by everything I've written, although it's all no big deal- I just don't think anyone should wait a year to grow their dam blueberries.  People can follow any advice they want.  You clearly state that it is necessary to incorporate adequate sulfur ahead of time and suggest waiting a year to make sure that this is accomplished.  I disaggree.



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