cottonseed meal for blueberries

drcindy(z8 WA)April 1, 2009

Hi everyone,

I just purchased 3 bareroot blueberry shrubs this weekend. The garden gal told me that cottonseed meal is helpful for fruiting. I don't know much about blueberry plants since this will be my first year at them. Is her advice true? Thanks!

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I'm working on my blueberry bed for my 3 new plants too! I picked up a PH meter, cottonseed meal, and a hugh bag of sphagnum peat moss. I read that the cottonseed meal will bring the Ph down slowly without damaging the root. The neighbor next door has pine needles they won't pick up. But I have been raking them up, so I'm recycling them as mulch to cover the soil after I plant the bushes. But pine bark works too and holds some moisture.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 11:55PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Value of all supplemental nutrient sources on a particular site depends on existing soil conditions. It cannot be said with genuine accuracy that every planting on every site will benefit from application of a given product. In USDA WA existing conditions are not liable to require significant soil modification - as long as the bushes are going to be planted in suitable porous soil with an adequate organic content rather than recently bulldozed and compacted subsoil. Like other heath family shrubs such as rhododendrons and azaleas blueberry bushes have definite soil texture needs - more than a requirement for ample nutrients.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 12:51AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

"Fertilizing blueberries during the first 3 to 4 years encourages development of a number of well-spaced, stocky canes with many branches. Give live plants without shoot growth the maximum recommended amount of fertilizer. Give plants that grow more than 1 foot little or no fertilizer. On mineral soils, apply fertilizer at leaf bud break and again during late spring. Use a balanced fertilizer such as 5-10-10 in early spring. Follow up with ammonium sulfate in May, and again in June if needed*. Home gardeners often use commercially packaged evergreen and azalea fertilizer for blueberries"

*Emphasis mine

Here is a link that might be useful: EB1640 Growing Small Fruits for the Home Garden

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 1:06AM
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I would consider cottonseed meal to be an excellent amendment around blueberries. It's acidic, releases nitrogen, and breaks down slowly. People use it as an organic fertilizer for all sorts of things. Its acidity I would think would make it particularly useful to spread on the ground around blueberry plants.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 11:39AM
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I use it on rabbiteye and a few southern highbush blueberries and it seems to work fine.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 9:44PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Relevant if you both happen to have the same soil that she does. Speaking of organic, what happened to the concern about the heavy duty pesticides being used on cotton being found in cottonseed meal? Did this get resolved or assuaged in some way, like the meal now just being made from organic cotton?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 1:00AM
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marylandmojo(zone 7--Md.)

Hi, drcindy:

I've grown Blueberries for many years, and cottonseed meal is plenty good (and acidifying) fertilizer. There's organic cottonseed meal, just like there are clothes made from organic cotton. Cost a bit more, but who cares, if organic is your goal? Google "organic cottonseed meal", and you'll find all you need, and probably find it close to where you live. Planet Natural sells 50 pound bags for about $30, as I recall. I've got well drained soil here, and I have Blueberry bushes that have been at my house for 30 years--with almost no care, and they produce a bunch each year. Blueberries, like many other plants, prefer good drainage. If you have clay soil that holds water, make a raised bed under each bush that will keep the roots dry--about 3X3, or 4X4, and a foot deep, is perfect, and fill it with loose soil amended with wood chips, sawdust, shredded, rotted leaves, or other organic matter, etc. And cottonseed meal breaks down slowly, so is slow-release N, plus some P and K, too. I've seen it 6-1-1, 5-2-1, etc.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 4:20AM
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alan haigh

Want an acidifying fertilizer, completely organic, absolutely free with zero carbon imprint as far as transporting hundreds if not thousands of miles from poluting factory to carbon consuming warehouse? Try your own urine! Gasp! Oh so disgusting, I know, smells bad comes from the most private part of your body. But real gardeners find peace with nature- the good, bad, beautiful, ugly and smelly. And they try not to waste- they use what's around them.

Live green, grow green, store your urine and use with kitchen scrap and yard waste compost for a complete fertilizer. It's that or flush it where it does no good and often does great harm.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 4:58AM
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Relevant no matter what soil is involved, it is the crop that matters. It yields the same nutrients and mildly acidity whether on loam or bog peat. It can't make up for non-nutrient soil conditions obviously.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 6:34AM
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> what happened to the concern about the heavy duty
> pesticides being used on cotton being found in
> cottonseed meal?

That's a good point, and in fact, where I buy cottonseed meal sometimes, they do not give cottonseed meal the "organic" rating, as they do for soybean meal.

What I have read by someone with lots of experience in this (Steve Solomon) is that the oil solvents in the oil-extraction process dissolve the pesticides and take them away in the process. He is also left wondering how cottonseed oil thus processed can be used to prepare food.

Have there been studies done on the residual pesticide content of CM showing significant levels of pesicides?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 10:45AM
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alan haigh

Because my post about urine fertilizer has so far been ignored I shall elaborate. I am a professional nurseryman and fruit tree arborist who grows just about everything on my property. When other gardeners, including other professionals come to my place they are usually completely blown away by the productivity of my vegetable garden, the vigor and beauty of my annual flowers- the size of everything! ( I live in deer country so I try to grow the most vigorous varieties of evertything- from tomatoes to zinnias). I won't bother to mention my orchard. My only fertilizers are compost and urine.

My blueberries are extremely productive as well, by the way. I dose them in Nov and mulch them in spring.

I am dead serious that Americans have to stop being such glutonous pigs and buying products to serve every whim. Every unnecessary product you purchase is a sin of excess and an afront to the planet. Of course, no ones perfect and a little indulgence is alright but can we try to stop being such idiots- buying bottled water and coddling our plants with materials that can be replaced with stuff in our own neighborhoods, yards, kitchens and BATHROOMS.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 5:30PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Crops were grown for a long time before manufactured fertilizers were introduced.

The idea that all you need to know is what kind of plant is being grown and can ignore the existing mineral content of the soil is false. Even the mineral content of irrigation water effects fertilization. Notice in the above excerpt, in addition to the inclusion of the qualifier "if needed" the direction given that begins with "On mineral soils".

Soils vary, and this must be taken into account.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 5:46PM
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