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How to Amend pH Levels of Blueberries After Planting

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How to Amend pH Levels of Blueberries After Planting

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Overview

Blueberries grow best in well-drained soils high in organic matter and with a pH level between 4.0 to 5.0. Amending the soil to keep it in that range will produce the best blueberries. According to the University of Minnesota, even the most prepared blueberry growing area will require amendments to hold the pH level in that range. Soil tests are required to give the grower proper knowledge of the soil and where to begin with treatment.

Step 1

Conduct a soil test from around the blueberry bushes. Take several samples from the area. Combine all samples together and mix well. Dry the samples thoroughly. Take the sample to your local agricultural extension service.

Step 2

Follow the analysis recommendations for pH level adjustment to the soil.

Step 3

Apply 1 to 2 lbs. of elemental sulfur, or garden sulfur, per 100 square feet. This amount of sulfur will lower the pH level by one point. In other words, if the analysis reads a pH level of 6.0, the above described amount will lower the pH down to 5.0. The sulfur will take up to one year to completely lower the pH level.

Step 4

Layer six times the amount, 6 to 12 lbs., of iron sulfate to the same area in place of the elemental sulfur. The iron sulfate changes the pH level in the soil in less than one month. The iron sulfate may be considerably more expensive than the elemental sulfur.

Step 5

Incorporate the pH amendment into the soil around the blueberry bushes with a hand cultivator. Work only the immediate surface of the soil around the bushes. Exercise caution, as the roots of the plants are extremely shallow.

Step 6

Irrigate the chemical into the soil after cultivation.

Step 7

Test the soil the following year. Amend as per the soil test analysis.

Tips and Warnings

  • Exercise caution when applying any fertilizer to the blueberry bushes as part of an amendment program. Over fertilization will kill the blueberry plants in one season of growth. It is best to add amendments a little at a time, after the blueberries are planted.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil test
  • Elemental sulfur or garden sulfur
  • Iron sulfate (optional)
  • Hand cultivator
  • Irrigation

References

  • Oregon State University: Nutrient Management of Blueberries (PDF)
  • University of Kentucky: Growing High Bush Blueberries
  • University of Minnesota: Blueberries for Home Landscapes
Keywords: blueberry pH level, adjust soil pH, amend soil pH

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.