adjusting soil ph for blueberrys

Asked June 9, 2013, 8:33 AM EDT

Last fall in preparation of planting four blueberry bushes in the spring I applied two pounds for sulfer to a 12X12 tilled area to lower the ph. Over the winter while doing some reading I learned that sulfer needs wamer temperatures to work. In the spring I had a soil test and my ph was 6.8. I wasn't sure if the sulfer in the ground would still work so I didnt apply anymore. I planted my blueberries mixing peat with the soil. On two of my plants half the leafs are red and yellow and the other plants about a quarter of the leafs are red and yellow. Shoud I add the sulfer recommended on the soil test now or shoud I have the soil tested again? Should I apply the sulfer just around the bushes or acrossed the whole area? Is there any reasonably accurate way to test the ph myself? Thank You for your help, Kevin

Barry County Michigan

1 Response

No the sulfur you added is still there and will work this year and next. It usually takes several years for the sulfur to work especially if you are really trying to move the pH a long ways. Two pH points is a lot. If you keep adding lots of sulfur you will kill all the plants in the area. You need to wait for it to work.
See my article on soil pH and sulfur.
Yellow leaves could mean the pH is too high or the ground is too wet.
Red leaves could be too cool, no nitrogen (or only nitrate nitrogen) or magnesium deficiency. Use a commercial rhododendron or azalea mix for you fertilizer applications. test the soil in the fall.