[NAFEX] growing blueberries without peat

Alan Haigh alandhaigh at gmail.com
Wed Jan 27 15:53:32 EST 2010


I know there is or used to be some controversy about peat being removed from
bogs much quicker that it can form, I have no opinion or knowledge about the
validity of this concern but I do know that peat moss has never been an
essential part of establishing blueberries anywhere- it just happens to
serve 2 important needs- one for organic matter and the other acidity.

If you have a municipal leaf composting project you can use that instead and
probably get even better results than with peat as long as you get things
to a reasonably low pH with the addition of granular sulfur.  I'm not sure
how low you need to go but I have seen very healthy and productive
blueberries in the mid 6 range  and others on this site have reported
healthy plants up into the 7's in spite of everything you've read.

Where I've witnessed this "phenomena" the soil has been rich in organic
matter, well drained and the plants mulched with raw wood chips.  My theory
is that the mulch creates an acidic interface between it and the soil where
feeder roots easily acquire all the iron they need.  Of course I tend to be
more fond of my theories than most others.

In areas where the water is alkaline and you can't collect rainwater the
mulch is increasingly important to reduce the amount of water that must be
applied.
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