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how to lower ph in soil to grow blueberries  RSS feed

 
brandon stewart
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Location: near shiner, tx
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My friend is trying to figure out how to lower his soils ph levels to optimize berry production. Would planting them around Evergreen trees work or would adding crushed shells or calcium help with growing berries?
 
John Elliott
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Shredded pine cones as mulch. When I started doing that, using a couple of inches of pine cone mulch, my blueberries really took off. Much better results than when I just used pine straw. They are doing so well that they are even sending up new volunteer plants.
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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I would 1st add trace minerals via rock dust,
then any type of mulch preferable pine needle mulch,
then add nitrogen fixing plants.
Add Sulfur to the soil.

Adding Calcium/seashell/bone will increase the pH of you soil
 
Matt Stahl
Posts: 13
Location: Twin Oaks, missouri
chicken fungi trees
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Jipson and chickens will raise the ph and pine needles coffee grounds and compost will lower it but soil has a natural balance or buffer it will return to its natural state. Epson salt make a good fertilizer for evergreens and roses and like blueberries like a higher ph soil. ammonium sulfate or sulfur-coated urea are typicly used fertilizers to lower ph. If your blueberry bush’s leaves turn a reddish yellow color, especially near the edges of the leaves, this is most likely a magnesium deficiency. If the leaves turn yellow with green veins, it is most likely an iron deficiency.
 
Harry Soloman
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Location: Pennsylvania, Dauphin County
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I like adding the pine and adding rockdust and azomite.  If you are changing the established soil microbiology from one PH to another this will mean you need to change the soil environment and biology as well.  This is what you grow and the plants second.

If you understand a bit about natural/korean farming you can utilize "indigenous microorganisms" to help establish a good microbe community but would want to make from similar habitat, preferably from a higher location than you as those microbes will be tougher than lower ones all things otherwise equal on comparison.

A compilation for too much information regarding natural farming:  FYI - I put this together and is not spam but I state for ethics and is a not for profit endeavor.
http://culturalhealingandlife.com.www413.your-server.de/index.php?/topic/17-natural-farming/

This is a good video discussing this concept on with other videos available by this farmer on how to capture, make and use them.


Hope that helps.
~Harry Soloman
Cultural Healing and Life
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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To lower pH (acidify) you need something acidic in nature such as the shredded pinecones mentioned or sulfurous compounds, which will work better than straight elemental sulfur.

When you are doing this adjustment I like to incorporate the acidifier to a compost heap then use that compost as the amendment vehicle, it allows you to have better balance of both the mineral component and the biological component that creates soil.

Redhawk
 
Bethany Dutch
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Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
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A timely bump today! I've been wanting to kind of convert my hugel over to a blueberry hugel but am really trying to figure out the best way to acidify the soil better than what I'm doing.

And as far as shredded pine cones - do you mean just regular open cones you pick up from the ground? Or does it need to be fresh green unopened ones?

Edited to add - does anybody know the effect of pine sawdust? I have lots of pine sawdust I bring in for my toilet - I wonder if that would help.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
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Any pine cone will work for acidification of soil. I've only tried the dry, opened ones (easier to shred too) and over a 3 month period (application to testing pH) the pH went down .5 (6.8 moved to 6.3), not a bad result for a free amendment.
Over a two year period the test plot remained fairly stable as the cone material decomposed.
The test plot was 8' x 8' square with enough cone pieces placed on to cover the area 1" thick before they were forked into the soil.
Averaged pH at start was 6.8 a second reading was taken 90 days post application and the averaged pH was 6.3. No further amendments were made for the test period.
tests were run every 90 days for a period of two years, the last test of the trial period showed an averaged pH of 6.38.

Redhawk
 
Bethany Dutch
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Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Any pine cone will work for acidification of soil. I've only tried the dry, opened ones (easier to shred too) and over a 3 month period (application to testing pH) the pH went down .5 (6.8 moved to 6.3), not a bad result for a free amendment.
Over a two year period the test plot remained fairly stable as the cone material decomposed.
The test plot was 8' x 8' square with enough cone pieces placed on to cover the area 1" thick before they were forked into the soil.
Averaged pH at start was 6.8 a second reading was taken 90 days post application and the averaged pH was 6.3. No further amendments were made for the test period.
tests were run every 90 days for a period of two years, the last test of the trial period showed an averaged pH of 6.38.

Redhawk


I cannot even tell you how glad that makes me I have loads of them. Ponderosa pine all over the place. What did you use to shred them, a wood chipper?
 
Peter VanDerWal
Posts: 105
Location: Southern Arizona
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Just a clarification.  Sulfur itself does not lower soil PH.  Elemental Sulfur encourages the growth of bacteria that lower soil PH.  This is not an instantaneous process, it can take a year or two.
Some of the sulfur compounds, aluminum sulfate or iron sulfate, can rapidly lower soil PH, but you should still delay planing a few weeks to avoid burning the roots.

Also, calcium will increase soil PH, not lower it.  Too much calcium in the soil can make it nearly impossible to lower PH enough for blueberries.  Bottom line, do NOT add calcium.
 
Andy White
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Owing to a change of circumstances I've been considering using Bokashi to process kitchen waste that my worms can't handle easily. Bokashi seems to be an anaerobic pickling/fermentation process rather than a composting one, but the acidic material produced composts (breaks down) readily once it's mixed with soil.
Seems to me that there's a definite possibility for tweaking acidity levels using this stuff.

Cheers,

Andy.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
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hau Bethany,
yes I use a wood chipper, to process pine cones, how I wish we had ponderosa pines here, I used to gather up the cones and seeds when I lived in California.
The neighbors there didn't really like my giant sequoia tree (I planted it in the front yard, from sprouted seed to 40 feet tall only took 5 years in the deep top soil where I lived in Sacramento (400' from the American River).
 
Woody McInish
Posts: 6
Location: Boston Mountains, NW Arkansas
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Pine needles work well.
 
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