[NAFEX] pine needles & pH

Jwlehman at aol.com Jwlehman at aol.com
Sun Oct 25 10:04:21 EDT 2009


In a message dated 10/25/2009 8:02:02 AM Central Daylight Time, 
list at ginda.us writes:

> Someone on this list has measured the pH of pine needles and says they 
> were neutral (or thereabouts).  But they are traditionally used to mulch 
> blueberries.  And lots of people on this list agree that blueberries like 
> copious organic matter (and are less sensitive to pH if the soil is rich enough 
> in organics).
> 

The clay soil around here runs around 6.8. My neighbor has about 10 
varieties of high bush blue berries that do very well in it. There is a large pine 
woods near him. For years he would get fresh and rotted pine needles and 
spread them around his bushes. Every year he had wonderful crops, his bushes 
seemingly loving their environment. My attempt of growing high bush 
blueberries was a miserable failure in the same type soil w/o pine needle mulch. 
  
Now I'm going to let more of my ignorance hang out.  I get this feeling 
that many are of the opinion that neutral mulch is beneficial only as a mulch 
and doesn't affect pH. I'd like to have input from an expert. What is neutral 
on the pH scale, 6.0, 6.5? If neutral is say 6.0 and my soil is 6.8 
applying neutral mulch would help bring it down, wouldn't it. Being neutral doesn't 
mean the absence of, rather the center of the range. 
Wouldn't it also help bring acid soil pH up? 

Jerry
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