I put in two bushes a few months ago, in my own very good planting
mix. Being new at blueberries I let the nursery sell me a box of
E.B. Stone Organics food for Azaleas, Camellias and Gardenias --
plants that also need acidic conditions, which they said would be
appropriate for blueberries.
The formula is % 5 N, 5 P2O5, 3 K2O, 3 Ca, 1 S. (the 2's are
subscripts). Plus lots of good natural biotics.
Yet when I went to look on-line just now, I didn't find that formula.
I found, e.g. 16-8-8, and one organic suggestion: Blood Meal or Fish
Meal for N; Spagnum Peat or coffee grounds for acidity, and Bone
Meal and Powdered Seaweed for P & K.
Note also that most sites said NOT to feed blueberries the first year
after planting. T/F ?
So, will someone please tell me what kind of fertilizer to use on
these blueberries, and when?
(Note: This is So. Calif. coastal. The nursery said they carry these
varieties because they are bred to require less winter chill.)
I don't know how to do what he said. I can only conjecture that it
means (a) testing the PH as is and (b) if required, adding the
necessary until PH retested comes out at 5.5. I might do it just out
of curiosity, though my soil is very rich after long years of
modification by previous owners and moi.
Went back to the nursery today and bounced the Internet info vs. the
E.B. Stone plant food info off one of the senior staff.
He was very definite about using the plant food, and I do think it was
in the best interests of the blueberries. I also bounced off him the
Internet injunction not to feed the plants the first year, and he shot
that one down as well. They should be fed moderately every quarter.
That sounds intuitively better to me.
Truly, a little Internet info can be misleading out of context. I'd
rather take the word of a senior nursery guy who knows this climate.
Tx to all for help.
HB, understand BB need to be in acid soils and you can manipulate
soils IF you know what your doing. You just have to understand what
you got. Despite all the old homestead BS logic you cannot taste your
soils and know what you need. You have to know what your start point
pH is and what your buffer pH is. how much acid and what type acid
does your soil need to drop it say from 6.2 to 5.5? How long will it
stay at 5.5 if your water is 7.6 but your using your store bought
5-5-3 Organo fertilizer?
Get yourself a 15 $ soil test from a credentialed lab such as UMASS;
They will tell you specifically what you need to do with your soil,
using either organic or synthetic for the specific crop you want to
grow. Anyone who wants to tell you they know how to grow crops from
some mystical organic induced power they possess is a liar and will
probably try to sell you a diviners rod as well. You have already
spent the cost of a test with your local guy but s/he is really only
guessing what your soil conditions are.
Get tested and quit wasting money on some hokey forum advice from
someone with an agenda.
Certainly testing your soil is a good, but not necessary, idea. You
could just keep making sulfur additions from year to year, and judge the
response. To set the soil to an exact pH, soil samples would need to be
taken every year where the surrounding soil is of a higher pH.
I have two bushes which I planted next to a redwood stump, figuring that
the soil would be acidic. I got scant harvests. Last year I added
sulfur, and the harvest was better this year, but still not
satisfactory. This fall I'll add a larger amount of sulfur, and watch
for my results in the spring.
Blueberries, like most woody plants, will grow on most soil types,
provided that the soil is porous and well drained. A major requirement,
however, is that blueberries require an acidic soil with a pH of about
5.0 to 5.5.
Soil Acidification: How to Lower Soil pH
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