Blueberries...soil test results
Fellow Blueberry Growers,
I have about 20 blueberry plants in the ground. Because our native soils have a ph of about 7, for each plant, I dug a hole about 15 inches deep and 25 inches wide and filled it with a mixture of mostly fir bark and peat moss with a bit of native soil. Most of my plants have been in the ground two years, others just one year. They are growing well, lots of new growth, etc.
Like everyone else, I'm always concerned about the PH of the soil, particularly when I am applying at least two gallons of well water on each plant every other day during the summer months (June through mid October).
This spring I gave each of them a couple tablespoons of granulated sulfur. In 2011 I gave each of them three applications of granulated ammonium sulf, and this year thus far two applications of approximately 1.5 ounces of ammonium sulf sprinkled around the drip line.
Today I decided to have a soil test done. I have never had one done before and just wondered where the ph would be. An agronomist helped me do the collection, he used a soil probe to collect a sample from the around the base of several plants. The probe collects a sample in the first 12 inches of soil. We did a second soil collection on one of my plants that isn't doing quite as well as the others for comparison.
The ph of the random sample came back from the lab at 4.6. The plant not doing as well as the rest has a soil ph of 4.1.
The second part of the soil test will be ready in 5 days and will provide me with the bioavailibilty of 14 nutrients, nitrogen, phos, potassium, etc.
Anyway, I'm happy to report that despite using well water you can indeed control ph with nothing more than organic soils (peat and fir bark), a bit of sulfur, and ammonium sulfate. I have used very little sulfur on the plants and what I have used is only partially broken down....you can still see most of it a few inches under the soil surface. I probably wont use sulfur at all next summer given these results.
Next summer I will repeat the test to get an idea of where I'm at with things. Given the current numbers, I don't think I will apply any more ammonium sulf this summer which will hopefully let the ph come up a bit.
For those curious, the soil test was $30 but I could have just had a ph test done for $10.