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Adjusting Soil pH for Blueberries in Peat Moss

By Tracy Morris ; Updated September 21, 2017

Blueberries are cousins to both cranberries and, though it may sound odd, azaleas. Like these acidic-soil loving plants, blueberries thrive on highly acidic soil. While balanced soil has a pH of 7, blueberries thrive in soil with an acid pH level between 4.5 and 5.2. One soil amendment that you can add to soil to decrease the pH and make it more acidic is peat moss. Blueberries thrive in peat-moss-rich soil.

Wait until the fall before you plant your blueberries to amend the soil with peat moss.

Purchase a home soil testing pH kit from your local garden center.

Test the soil’s pH using your home testing kit using instructions found in the kit. Most soil testing kits require the user to dig up a sample of soil with a shovel, and place the soil in a provided container. The soil is mixed with water and powdered chemicals included in the kit. The resulting color of water indicates the soil’s pH.

Use a garden tiller to break up the ground to a depth of 12 inches where your blueberry bushes will be planted.

Transfer peat moss in piles to the broken ground.

Spread the peat moss over the ground in a 4-inch layer with the rake.

Work the peat moss into the ground using the tiller.

Water the ground thoroughly with a garden hose.

Leave the ground through the winter for the peat moss to soak in and lower the pH of the soil.

Dig a planting hole for your blueberry bush 2 days before the bush is ready to be planted.

Scratch peat moss into the sides of your planting hole with a gardening rake.

Fill the hole with water and let the water drain from the hole.

Mix peat moss with the fill dirt from the planting hole.

Place the blueberry bush’s root ball into the hole and fill the remaining space with fill dirt.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Soil pH tester
  • Water
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Peat moss
  • Garden tiller
  • Garden hose
  • Gardening fork

Tip

  • You can also amend the soil with sulfur to help lower the pH level of the soil.

Warning

  • If the soil pH is 6.0 or higher, it will take several seasons to lower the pH to an acceptable range. The most a gardener should hope to lower the pH of soil in a year is 1 pH level.

About the Author

 

Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.