Soil Prep for Blueberry Plants


Blueberries are juicy, sweet and easy to prepare. They're also good for you. They can lower blood cholesterol, prevent urinary tract infections, and even fight some cancers, according to Ohio State University. Growing them can be a challenge, because blueberries require a soil pH of 4.0 to 4.5, the most acidic soil requirement of any cultivated plant. Few gardeners have soil this acidic, and must add amendments to change the pH level. Additionally, you'll need to add amendments even after planting blueberries to maintain a proper pH level.

Step 1

Contact your local county extension office to obtain a soil test kit. Scoop soil from the area where you plan to plant blueberries into the soil test vials or bag, according to the package directions. Mail it to your local county extension office. You'll receive a detailed soil analysis in a few weeks.

Step 2

Apply granular sulfur to the soil, based on the recommendations of the soil test kit. Ranges vary depending on the original pH level of your soil and your type of soil. Sandy soil requires the smallest amount of sulfur, while clay soil needs a larger amount to lower the pH level of your soil.

Step 3

Till the granular sulfur into the soil by digging into the soil to a depth of 4 inches. Wait three months before proceeding.

Step 4

Conduct another soil test. Add more granular sulfur if indicated by the soil test results.

Step 5

Lay a 2-inch layer of moistened peat moss over your soil and dig it in with the shovel. Peat moss is naturally acidic; it also adds organic matter to the soil, improving its texture.

Step 6

Dig a hole deep and wide enough to accommodate the root system of the blueberry plant. Remove the plant from its container and set it in the hole. Spread bare roots out. Back fill the hole with soil and tamp down lightly. Water the blueberry plant until evenly moist.

Step 7

Spread a 4-inch layer of pine needles or pine wood chip mulch around your planted blueberry bushes. Pine needles or wood chip mulch add acid to the soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Granular sulfur damages blueberry plants that are planted immediately following its application. Wait three months before planting.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil test kit (from local county extension office)
  • Shovel
  • Granular sulfur
  • Peat moss
  • Pine needles and pine wood chip mulch


  • Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet:: Growing Blueberries in the Home Garden
  • Mother Earth News: Growing Blueberries

Who Can Help

  • Mother Earth News: Blueberry Bonanza
Keywords: soil for blueberries, growing blueberries, blueberry soil requirements

About this Author

Julie Christensen has been writing for five years. Her work has appeared in "The Friend" and "Western New York Parent" magazines. Her guide for teachers, "Helping Young Children Cope with Grief" will be published this spring. Christensen studied early childhood education at Ricks College and recently returned to school to complete a degree in communications/English.