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How to Prepare Soil for Blueberry Plants

Gardeners who love a challenge and love blueberries may want to try to grow blueberries in a home garden. Not only are homegrown blueberries delicious, but the blueberry bushes themselves are attractive additions to landscapes and yards. Before attempting to grow blueberries, carefully explore your soil to find out if it is suitable. Blueberries need an acidic soil to grow well. Amend the soil as recommended to prepare it for growing blueberry plants.

Purchase a pH soil testing kit to find out the pH level of your soil. Blueberries require acidic soils with pH levels between 4.0 and 5.0.

Amend the pH level of the soil prior to planting. Most gardeners will find that their garden soil needs to be more acidic to grow blueberries. Add between 4 and 6 inches of peat moss to the top of the soil if your soil needs slight modification. Work the peat moss into the soil completely. Add composted leaves in addition to the peat moss, if desired. Add up to 2 pounds of elemental sulfur to 50 cubic feet of soil to decrease the pH level by one point. Add up to 6 pounds of elemental sulfur to decrease the pH level more dramatically.

Modify the soil content further by removing some of the existing soil and replacing it with 2 bushels of rotting sawdust or moldy shredded leaves, 1 cup of wettable sulfur (small particles of sulfur mixed with a wetting agent) and 1 bushel of loam soil (a mixture of sand, clay and organic materials).

Realize that working to raise the acid levels in soil generally takes at least one year to accomplish. After you make these modifications to the soil, plan to test the pH level again the following spring to see if the level is within the recommended range for growing blueberries. If it is not at the proper level yet, continue to add additional peat moss and sulfur for another season and test again the following spring. Don't attempt to grow blueberries without your soil having the proper pH level.

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