I want to grow blueberries, need help with soil questions.

Asked May 20, 2014, 6:51 PM EDT

Based on my soil test, can I amend the soil to lower ph to a level to grow blueberries. I just need to know what and how much to amend the soil to get a 4.5ph and the correct drainage for blueberries.My whole reason for this has been to grow blueberries. The soil is in 3 raised beds that are 4ft x 4ft x 10in. high. I want to use one box for each blueberry plant. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I just bought this black dirt from a local nursery where I was told to contact you then I would find out what I needed to use to amend the soil. Thanks for your help.

Saginaw County Michigan

3 Responses

You don't give me enough information to give you definite amounts. The amount of materials you need to add depends on what type of soil you have and its pH now and also want you are going to amend the soil with specific what is the black dirt you bought and what is its pH. Here is a link to an article about amending the soil pH for blueberries. http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/soil_test_before_you_plant_blueberries.You need to know what the pH of the black dirt is. I often recommend mixing peat moss with the native soil at a one to one ratio. Use rhododendron/azalea mix as a fertilizer. The article above links to a file on lower the soil pH using sulfur based on a soil test were the texture (% sand, silt and clay) is based on the CEC (cation exchange capacity), which measures the soils ability to hold nutrients which comes from the clay and organic mater in the soil.Since I do not have your soil test I cannot make specific recommendations, but for your 4X4 planting beds (16 sq ft) 1000 lb/acre would be 6 oz of sulfur per bed.You could use ferrous sulfate which is much quicker but you need 8 times as much or 3 pounds (48oz) of ferrous sulfate on one of you beds to equal 1000 lb/acre of sulfur. But you still need to know your original soil pH and the your black dirt. Peat moss generally has a low pH about 5.Finally please look ate this other article on planting blueberries.http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/how_to_avoid_a_common_blueberry_planting_error

Thank your for your reply. I did do a soil test and my soil ph is 7.8

That is a very high soil pH considering pH blueberries prefer a soil pH of 4.8. You need to lower the soil pH 3 pH points. Put another way you need to increase the soil acidity 1,000 times. I would suggest that you add the 3 pounds of ferrous sulfate and a big bag of peat moss to each planter and throughly mix the soil. Not knowing if your soil is sand or clay I do not know if that is enough or only a quarter of want is needed. If the plants start to really yellow later you will need to add more. I would not add more than 6 pounds of the ferrous sulfate in any one year and no more than 3 pounds at a time. To much could kill the plants.