How To Make Soil Acidic For Blueberries – Beginner’s Guide

Most of the time, if a blueberry bush is not flourishing well in a garden, then the soil is to blame. If the pH value of your soil is high, the bush would not grow. For this, you need to test the pH level of your level. If it’s high, then lowering it down could make a big difference to how well your berries grow. Keep on reading this article to know about soil preparation for your blueberry plants and also, how to make soil acidic for blueberries.

What do azaleas, rhododendrons, and blueberries have in common? They all like acidic soil. For keeping your tiny blueberry patch in productive, happy health, every spring you need to pour acidifying halos around shrubs. If your soil is acidic naturally, having a pH 4.6-5.5, then you are good to go if blueberries are concerned. If the soil is sweet or alkaline, meaning the pH is higher than 6.0, you have to amend the soil.

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how to make soil acidic for blueberries

Whether you plant a novel blueberry patch or try to enhance the production of settled blueberry bushes, it’s quite important that you test the soil. In some places, the soil pH could be very high and examining the soil could tell how much high the soil pH is. The test of soil will enable gardeners to wonder how much effort their soil will require for growing blueberries well. A perfect soil pH for blueberries is from 4 to 5. If the soil pH goes higher than that, then you have to take some steps for lowering the pH for growing blueberries.

Soil Preparation for New Blueberry Plantings

If the soil pH is high, then you have to get it lowered. The most effective method to carry out this task is to put granular sulfur into the soil. To lower a single pH point, you need to add about 1-pound sulfur every fifty feet. This will require tilling or working into your soil. In this way, you can mix the sulfur with the soil in a better way. One can even use used coffee grounds or acid peat as organic methods to acidify the soil. You need to work about 4- to 6-inch coffee grounds or peat into your soil. Another effective method is to use a soil acidifier for blueberries to lower the pH of the soil. It is a high purity and all-natural mineral, which lowers the soil pH and enables acid-loving plants to get optimum growth.

Lower Soil pH for Existing Blueberries

It does not matter how perfectly you carry out a soil preparation for blueberry plants if you don’t reside in a place where your soil is acidic naturally. In that case, you will discover that the pH of the soil restores back to the normal in some years if you do nothing for maintaining the lower soil pH all around your berries.

There are various methods that one can use for lowering the soil pH for established blueberries or for maintaining the already modified soil pH level. The best way is to incorporate sphagnum peat all around the blueberry plant’s base about once every year. Another method way on how to acidify soil for blueberries is to ensure that you fertilize the blueberries with some acidic fertilizers. The high acid fertilizers are usually the ones containing ammonium sulfate, sulfur-covered urea, or ammonium nitrate. Putting in sulfur to the soil’s top is another effective method to drop down the soil pH.

It might take time for the sulfur method to work for existing plantings as you cannot make it work far into your soil without damaging the roots of your blueberry bush. However, it works its technique down eventually to the plant’s roots. A great fix for while the pH is using diluted vinegar. Take two tablespoons of vinegar each water gallon and water your berries with this solution once every week. This one is a cheap solution and this, it would not last long. Therefore, you cannot rely on this one as the long-term solution to lower the soil pH for blueberries. Check out this video to know about how to lower the soil pH naturally in a cheaper, simpler way using diluted vinegar.

Planting and Culture of Blueberry

It is best to plant blueberries in a cluster or row, where they will cross-pollinate. Also, it is simpler to maintain low soil pH in a single place as compared to multiple plots across your garden. Blueberry bushes need to be well-established and feature healthy roots. You need to get blueberry cultivars that perform well in your local climate. Olympia, Reka, and Toro are high-yielding varieties, which are great for home gardens.

You need to at least plant two varieties in the garden as cross-pollination among them could produce better yields as compared to self-pollination between one variety. Usually, your bushes will be 1-2-year old while you purchase them, though elder bushes might be available at higher prices. Do not go for them until they are 3-4-year old. If gardeners pinch the blossoms off during the first few years, the berries will be harder and vigorous. The bushes could bear for decades when they are established. So, you will be rewarded for your patience.

Apart from that, cranberries, blueberries, and other acidic plants must be kept moist for mimicking their natural surroundings. Treated tap water is usually alkaline so if you need to prioritize a group of crops to water with rainwater, then it is the acid fruits. On the other hand, you can even mimic the rainwater pH by putting vinegar into a tap water watering can. However, it seems cost-effective for making sure that you have enough stored rainwater on hand.

Using a purpose-built flower bed, you can plant more than a single variety, which dramatically enhances pollination and blueberry patch. For optimal visual impact, you need to plant the bed up so the lower-growing fruits like cranberries form an understory for taller blueberries. In turn, this will create two layers of berries when you create a color riot in fall or autumn when the blueberries’ leaves transform into a nice crimson. Additionally, acid-loving berries act as ornamental as rhododendrons, which make a great feature of the ericaceous bed and enjoy these blousy, beautiful berries.

Tips for Successful Growing of Blueberry

Here are some points that you can keep in mind for blueberry success.

  • Take into consideration the real estate. Although berries will flourish in part shade, blueberries will grow better in full sun.
  • Before you plant blueberries, work on the organic matter of the soil. You can add peat moss and shredded leaves to your plant bed.
  • Do not just plant a single shrub. Cross pollination of diverse varieties will provide more fruits and bigger ones. You can go for late-, mid-, and early-season varieties.
  • Even it seems quite painful, you need to eliminate flower buds the initial two years subsequent to planting. Otherwise, there will be slow growth and the shrubs would not amount to anything.
  • After three years have gone by, winter-prune is a must while the bushes go dormant. Pruning insists the plant to have extra fruiting branches.
  • Mulch the plant bed using 2-3 inches of something. You can rely on pine needles, wood chips, and shredded leaves for mulching your blueberry patch.
  • Provider sufficient moisture. Like most plants, blueberries prefer about 1-2-inch water a week.

Conclusion

So, if you like to grow blueberries, then the first thing that you need to do is to test the pH of your soil to check if the soil is acidic enough for supporting blueberries. It is not easy, cheap, or quick to lower down the soil pH. It is a slow procedure that takes a few years. The cheap method for lowering the soil pH is to put sulfur to your soil and wait for bacteria to transform the sulfur into sulfate for lowering the pH. This procedure could take a few years and needs thousands or hundreds of pounds of sulfur an acre.

Furthermore, it is a lot quick and easy to change the pH of the soil if you have not planted blueberries yet. Adding sulfur is the best way to do that. Instead of sulfur, gardeners can also go for coffee grounds or peat to lower the soil pH. Now, you do not have to ask anymore how to make soil acidic for blueberries. If you still have queries or questions regarding this topic, then post the same in the comments below. Meanwhile, share the article with other blueberry lovers who will find this article useful.

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