Blueberry Mulch

tdave8666January 18, 2008

I've looked about the forums a bit, but haven't found an answer to this one yet. I've read about using pine bark or needles to mulch around blueberries. Being essentially lazy, and not having a terribly easy access to pine needles and bark I've wondered.

What about that loverly shredded pine bedding that pet stores sell for small animals? Would that achieve a similar end? Or better yet, ask them for the used stuff that has a little product in it?


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alan haigh

Use that if you wish. The reason pine needles are suggested is their very minor acidifying affect. I use any slightly aged wood chips I can get for free or mellowed stable waste which is mostly pine shavings.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 5:24PM
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Right. Figured I should stick with something similar as my soil is not the best PH for them. That stuff just seemed too easy to pass up.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 9:00AM
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I was planning to use peat moss every season as a sort of "top dress." Would that work too?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 10:21AM
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Estreya, we can get sawdust in this area for $10 a yard. Why would you opt for much more expensive peatmoss?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 10:31AM
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I have been useing pine bark an pine straw . I planted 140 plants in a raise bed it cost a lot, this year i planted 75 , The way i did it was i took 55 gal plastic barels an cut the bottom out an top then i cut the side wall about 12 to 14 in like a ring i rented a auger bit to fit my auger for the tractor it was 24 an doug the holes about 1foot an 1/2 or a little more i use pine bark fines it is very smale pine bark . My soil is very red sand loam an rockey hear . The barrell ring is to serve the purpose of hold the mulch in an contane it in the hole i put pine straw around the ring out of the ground so you cant see it also . If any one would like to see pic i can e mail them

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 11:16AM
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Peat Moss by itself will form a crust that repels water. Plus, composted sawdust, chips or pine needles all break down to slowly add nutrients to the soil, whereas peat moss only really adds acidity and drainage. The link below (as well as many others on the VT site) has very good information on blueberry mulches.

Here is a link that might be useful: VT ext blueberry mulch

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 11:19AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I have 2 Bluecrop in large containers, 100% peat moss with some wood bark on top. I use an acid fertilizer and water often (keep the soil moist) with rain water (acidic). Mine flourished last summer. Hopefully this year i can get some berries. Also planting another 10 plants or so...i love blueberries.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 12:33PM
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alan haigh

Peat moss is fine. If it is not premoistend it may repel water for a while, but that's good, it will take longer to break down and can function as an insulator while accomplishing most everything else you expect from a mulch. I too prefer to scavange my mulch but peat and blueberries do well together. Commercial propigators often use sand, peat and a wetting agent as a medium for production of blueberries.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 6:43PM
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I'm thinking that i'm going to expand around my plants when the ground thaws, and mix in some pine shavings and peat then mulch with a mixture of the pine shavings and some road apples, per Don's suggestion. (Interesting note aside, I know no cowboys. A dozen or so cowgirls, but honestly don't know one dude with a horse.) After that I'll probably have to top dress with some sulfur each year, and I brew some smelly water out of the weeds I pull every year for fertilizer that I think will add some nicely decomposing matter in there. This is my first attempt at blueberries, mom loves em so I thought I'd plant some for her. With any luck, they'll live. Good luck I suppose, not just any luck. This has been a really great resource for ideas. Thanks everyone for chiming in.

a v

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 9:17PM
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The stable manure I pick up from local riding stables is about 70% wood shavings and 30% or so actual horse apples. I always head for the part of the pile that seems to have the most horse apples. I have a big pile to work with; more than I could keep up with if I hauled every day.

Interestingly, the horse owners/riders here, almost without exception, are girls or ladies too, while the boys who muck out the stalls are visitors from Central America. Bless them all, for without them I would have no horse apples. Of course, they focus on the front half of the horse, while I am more interested in the product from the rear. But the girls put up with me, and suspect I am just an eccentric old geezer. Little do they know that I actually am one.

I would not, BTW, mix stable manure into the soil until it is fully composted, since it can rob soil nitrogen if buried prematurely. Leave it on the surface, where it can access oxygen necessary for decomposition. If you want to mix something in the soil at planting time, make it peat moss.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 1:13AM
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I used to haul home bagged leaves from residential neighborhoods in town, by the truckload, to mulch my blueberry patch. But the municipal waste-management folks have invested in a big vaccuum truck, and now folks just rake/blow them to the curbside, and I'm rarely able to find any bagged for pickup 8::(

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 10:23AM
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Yup, that's the plan. Some peat and pine mixed in, topped with pine and horse. Thanks a lot for all the advise.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 12:24PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

I just spread Fraser Fir pine needles from the dried-up Christmas tree I just pulled out of my house last weekend around my blueberry plants (that I planted last spring). These blueberry plants were mulched with Wal-Mart-purchased pine bark mulch, so I covered that up with dry, green pine needles. My Christmas tree got extremely dry and there are like a billion pine needles in my livingroom carpet. Do you think it was a good idea to use those needles around my blueberry plants?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 1:20PM
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I haven't heard anyone say if one kind of pine is better than another, or if fir and pine are far enough apart to matter, so I wouldn't know. Don't smoke by em for a while tho.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 3:01PM
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Anybody have much experience using leaves as a mulch? I get a ton in the fall and pick them up with the lawnmower. I was thinking put down the thick layer of leaves, and then cover with some pine bark mulch in the fall.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 7:21AM
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alan haigh

Leaves are fine when they don't blow away which you seem to have taken into account. They do create a cozy shelter for mice which is often an issue with most mulches but leaves create more dry areas and better insulation than most- especially hard thick leaves like oak. The advantage of leaves is their high concentration of nutrients including enough N to adequately compensate for carb content.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 7:34AM
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price403(Zone 6b, WV)

I mulch mine with a mix of chopped leaves, fresh rabbit manure and saw dust, then cover with a layer of pine needles. Mixing the manure, leaves and sawdust seems to keep everything from compacting or stopping water absorption. I buy the needles in bales from the local farm store. They're pretty cheap and one bale covers about 15 or 20 highbush plants. By the way, rabbit manure is the only manure I know of that can be used without aging it first.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 8:49AM
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I'm in Delaware and am getting ready to plant my first set of blueberry bushes. I'm trying to figure out what to so with all of this information on mulch. From the info from the UC Cooperative Extension says: "Use any organic matter that wont pack. Pine bark, straw, or pine needles are satisfactory."

This seems simple enough, so is this info ok? I've got some leftover straw bales from the winter (that I use to block off our house from my kids sledding down the hill in the snow). I was just thinking that I could break those apart for the mulch. Crazy or no?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 2:54PM
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I have cedar shavings at my disposal. Can they be used on blueberries for mulch?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 10:09AM
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