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How to Grow Blueberries in Pine Bark

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How to Grow Blueberries in Pine Bark

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Overview

The blueberry is one of the few fruits grown in North America that were not introduced by settlers. The seasonal growth of the berries affected the seasonal movements of Native Americans, who gathered the berries both to consume fresh and to dry so they could have fruit all year long. Blueberries grow well in acidic soil. If your soil is not acidic enough to grow blueberries, you can amend it with an organic mulch with a high acid content, such as pine bark.

Step 1

Test the pH of your soil with a home pH test kit by placing a small sample of soil in the kit's testing chamber. Fill the kit with testing fluid, or water and testing powder and mix by shaking. Compare the color that the liquid changes to with the color comparison chart in your kit. You can purchase a home pH test kit from a garden center or nursery.

Step 2

Set the tines of your rototiller to break up the soil in your planting bed to a depth of 8 inches. Break up the ground by passing the rototiller over the planting bed in sections.

Step 3

Spread organic materials with a high acid content such as peat moss and pine bark over the surface of the soil. Over time, these amendments will help to lower the pH of your soil. Blueberries thrive in a pH of 5.

Step 4

Mix peat moss and pine bark into the soil. The irregular shape of the pine bark will also help to aerate the soil and improve drainage.

Step 5

Make a planting pocket in your bed that is large enough to accommodate the root ball of your blueberry bush.

Step 6

Place the root ball into the soil and cover with dirt.

Step 7

Mound pine bark over the roots of the blueberry bush to a depth of 4 inches. Pine bark on the soil's surface will help to hold in moisture, and will add more acidic organic nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.

Things You'll Need

  • Home pH test kit
  • Rototiller
  • Peat moss
  • Pine bark

References

  • Alabama Cooperative Extension Service: Blueberries are Easy to Grow
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension Service: Blueberry Gardener's Guide
  • N.C. State University Extension: Growing Blueberries in the Home Garden

Who Can Help

  • University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service: Growing Highbush Blueberries
Keywords: growing blueberries, organic soil amendments for blueberries, using pine bark to mulch blueberries

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."