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Pine tree shavings for blueberries?

 
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Location: Maine
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Hello!

I am currently helping garden for an elderly couple on Mount Desert Island in Maine. They have a few berry patches -- raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry -- that are fairly mature. We don't exactly know how old they are, but I would guess at least four to five years old. We would like to apply mulch to these berries and are trying to figure out the best type.

The options that we have available are: wood shavings (Eastern White Pine), straw, and a moderate amount of decomposed leaf mulch. I know that blueberries do well with wood chips, so I am tempted to use the shaving on those bushes... a little worried about using shavings instead of wood chips. Another idea was to combine the leaf mulch and the shavings, to extend the amount of leaf mulch that goes around and to give the shavings a little bulk. Not sure about straw...

Anyhow, looking for ideas. Has anyone had experience doing this? Any thoughts?

Thanks a lot!
 
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White Pine shavings would be highly acidic which is exactly what you want for blueberries which is why we are the Pine Tree State and why we grow the highest amounts of blueberries in the nation. As for age of the blueberries, as long as they are low-bush (native) age has nothing to do with it. Wyman's which produces some 14,000 acres of blueberries have plants that were propagated by the Indians when they set the forest afire long before the settlers arrived.

Your doing well...
 
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I would use the straw and decomposing leaves around the raspberry and blackberry bushes. They prefer a soil pH more along the range of 6.5ish-6.8ish, nowhere near what blueberries prefer. Like Travis mentioned, save the pine for the blueberry bushes.
 
Z. Leigh
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Thanks James & Travis. Your input makes me feel more confident! Would you suggest mixing the straw and the decomposed leaves for the raspberries/blackberries, or just using one or the other?

 
James Freyr
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I myself would put the leaves down first and the straw on top. The leaves will gradually improve the soil and nurture the soil food web. The straw on top of that will slow the leaves and soil drying, helping things decay and help provide habitat for some of the larger soil food web denizens like other bugs and spiders. All of these are good things to have happening.

Edited for grammar.
 
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