Soil pH For Blueberries: What You Should Know

A lot of people are learning how to grow and care for Blueberries. One can call it blueberry fever. This exotic plant offers a kind of visual appeal to your garden.

The people who wanted to farm blueberries thought that they could make it big from the blueberry plantation.

Many people have different kinds of notions about farming this exotic plant. The most important factor during the plantation process is taking care of the soil’s pH level.

Selecting a blueberry site should only be based on the pH level of the soil. If the guiding mantra is the location for the real estate sector, then for the plantation of blueberries, it is only the pH level.

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Moreover, blueberries require acidic soil. According to several studies, the soil required for planting Blueberries should be between 4.5 pH to 5.5 PH.

However, if you tend to plant the blueberries in neutral soil ranging from 6.5 pH to 7 pH, the plant will grow very poorly. It will be yellow if they grow.

Blueberries

Following that, the soil’s increase in pH level is due to iron chlorosis. It affects the natural growth of the blueberry plants. One can find this when the plant is young with its shoots and leaves are tender. You will notice yellow leaves with green veins. The winter generally kills the shoot top of these plants since they are very weak.

Many times, people blame the weak growth of blueberry bushes. It is because of the pH level of the soil. Before you plant blueberries, you must test the pH level of the soil.

If the pH level is at the zenith, you will have to lower the pH level. However, before you lower down, you need to take the proper test of understanding the soil’s pH level.

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Testing the blueberry pH level

Even though you are planting new blueberry bushes or taking care of the existing plants, you need to understand the soil quality. To do that, you have to go through a proper test.

The test becomes imperative if you want to get a good quality of blueberries from your garden. The pH level of the soil will not be the same for every area of your garden.

At some place in your garden, you will have a higher pH level. While in other areas, you might have a balanced or lower pH level. Lowering the pH level is a quick process. It is cheap and easy to attend this process. 

But it is a slow process and might take some years to come into a lower pH level. One of the cheapest ways to lower the pH level is to add an added element to the soil.

If you add sulfur to your soil, the bacteria present in the soil will convert the sulfur into sulfate. It will help to lower down the pH level of the soil. 

But the conversion of sulfur to sulfate can take a long time. It can even take a few years to finally come down to the results of getting soil with a lower pH level. Also, one requires thousands of pounds of sulfur per acre of soil to lower down the pH level of the soil.

Finally, if you want to change the soil’s pH level if you already have a blueberry plantation, you need to do a small trick. If the soil’s pH level is 6 and above, then the soil consists of heavy clay.

It would not be a bit of good advice to change the soil’s pH level in this case, as it may take a lot of time and effort to do so.

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You can find an area in your garden where the soil’s pH level is near 4.5 to 5.5. On the contrary, if you want to work on the existing soil, you need to prep it well.

Prepping the soil for the new blueberry plant

Before you start preparing your soil, you need to understand why your soil decreases its pH level every season. You must understand the fact that your blueberry plants require the use of ammonium-based fertilizers.

It is one of the main reasons soil keeps decreasing its pH level after the fertilization period. 

But during the acquiring process of the ammonium ion, the blueberry plants excrete a lot of hydrogen ions. It accumulates in the soil over some time which increases the acidic level of the soil.

When you use urea, it dissolves into the soil and breaks down to carbonate and ammonium with the help of urease.

This process takes away the hydrogen ions from the soil. Hence, urea is less acidic than the ammonium sulfate fertilizer.

In addition to that, the ammonium present in the soil takes the formation of ammonia. It temporarily increases the urea particle and makes it close to the soil pH level.

While you’re planting a blueberry tree, this whole process affects the urea present in the soil in the long run. It results in the reduction of the PH level of the soil.

Besides, if you are preparing the soil to plant new blueberry trees, you can use various organic methods of acidifying the soil. You can walk in with 10 cm to 15 cm of coffee ground or peat into the soil to make it acidic before planting the blueberry trees.

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Lowering the pH level for the existing blueberry plant

If you dwell in an area where the soil level is not acidic, you will have to make the soil acidic every harvesting period. No matter how you prepare the soil for the proper growth of your blueberry tree, the soil’s pH level will tend to return to the normal level. There are various methods you can apply that can lower the pH level of the soil.

  • You can add sphagnum peat while you are planting the blueberry plants. If you can add this around the base of your blueberry plant once in the whole year, it can yield healthy blueberries. Also, coffee grounds are good to increase the acidic level of the soil.
  • One of the best ways to lower the pH level of the blueberry soil is to fertilize the blueberry with an acidic fertilizer. The fertilizer containing ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, or the one that comes with Sulphur coated urea has a higher acidic level. It can help you to get a healthy plant.
  • However, if you change to add sulfur to the top portion of the soil, it can lower the soil’s pH level and make it favorable for blueberry plantations. It might take some time to work for the existing plants, but it will work quite well if you try to plant new blueberry plants.
  • If the soil has a greater pH level than needed, you can do a quick fix to bring down the soil to a lower pH level. Diluted vinegar will do the work quite well. You need to add 30 ml of vinegar to one gallon of water. If you use this solution to water the blueberry plant once a week, you can get a healthy and good harvest. It would not provide you with long-lasting results. But it can provide you with a momentary solution.

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Tips to plant blueberries

Apart from making the soil perfect for harvest, you need to know how to plant blueberries to get the best harvest.

You need to plant the blueberry trees at least 5 feet to 6 feet apart. It will look like your plants are growing far away from each other. But if the plants tend to grow, you will see how quickly the gaps fill in.

If you are planting the trees in multiple rows, you must keep at least 6 feet of space between each row. Besides, walking between the rows will be very difficult if you don’t keep this space between your rows. It can deny you access to the fruits during the period of harvest. 

Plus, if you plant the plants close to each other, it can create competition between the two plants. It will increase the risk of insect damage and various diseases in your garden.

You can expect to harvest at least 6 pounds to 8 pounds of fruit per plantation period. But this will take some time after the tree becomes 3 to 4 years of age, then only you can get such a good harvest. You must avoid planting a blueberry tree against the walls.

The wall tends to create extra heat, which can affect the foliage of the blueberry plant. Also, avoid planting blueberry trees in the shade

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Final thoughts

You need to keep in mind these tips to have a great harvest period during your blueberry harvest. Blueberries have a long life.

Hence, if you take good care of the plants, they can provide you with fruits each year without any fail. But make sure that you remember all the points mentioned earlier to get the best blueberry harvesting period ever.

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