Last of the too low ph Blueberry Plants

blueboy1977(TX9A/B)September 11, 2012

Okay, I'm down to the last plant that needs to be flushed. It's a Alapaha Rabbiteye and it's in a raised bed. The ph is reading 3.2 to 3.7 depending on where in the bed I take the reading from. There is defiantly a lock out going on here and If I don't do something pretty quick I'm afraid I'm going to lose it. The roots have not spread very much at all past the original rootball as you can see in the pictures, maybe 4 inches at the most. It's been in the bed since last Feb! The roots should have spread to at least half of the bed to this point from compairing to my other rabbit eye right next to it planted at the same time. So here is my plan!!! Since flushing really isnt effective in a raised bed (the acid just settles to the bottom of the bed) situation I want to remove the plant, rinse as much if the soil from the root ball as possible, remove half the soil from the bed and replace with something like cotton burr compost and mix it all up then recheck the ph. Once I get it right just replant! Any thoughts or suggestions? Maybe I could wait untill it's dormant but I want to take a chance of lossing it.

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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Hmm. Boy those leaves sure are pale. It is too bad the symptoms of too low PH are the same as too high. The only thing is if it is too low a PH shouldn't the leaf tips be burned or the leaves be spotted or necrotic?

You are 100% right that the roots of the rabbit should have spread out like crazy.....the roots are so much more vigorous than the high bush.

You are sure your PH meter is correct right? How much sulfur did you use when you planted them and how long ago were they planted?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 5:16PM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

Green vanes and yellowing leaves = iron deficiency called christmas effect.

You need teaspoon in gallon water spray leaves above 78 degrees at plant this temp leaves pick up iron any leaf was be soft above 78 degrees at plant.

The plant leaves take in wax with iron inside wax per leave so wet good let dry 30 minutes wet again iron want transfer from one leaf to next.

Then add some spray to soil I usually put 2 streams over roots each side plant this take care new growth and should last 3 years soil applied iron be pickup later that go all over plant.

Its command in new seedling to have iron deficiency even if soil test says otherwise. All roots wood leaves be stronger with ample iron. If yellow left too long it set not change back green with iron.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 5:41PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


Too low of a PH will also make the leaves look like Christmas trees (to use your words). You are right though that he could try the iron and see if it helps and if it does not that would confirm his suspicion.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 5:49PM
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Just went to home depot and got one of the cheaper probe type ph meters. I've been using a liquid ph meter and it is spot on. I've calibrated twice this week just to make sure at 4&7ph with calibrating buffer solutions. To test the ph on this bed I mixed equal parts soil and rain water then put the liquid ph meter in it. Just checked it with the probe and and it pegged out at 3.5, that's as low as it goes. Just for reference I checked one of my pots and it showed 4.5 Ph:-). I'm going to over haul that bed tonight. I will post back on this thread in a couple weeks with any progress made.

Bam, this is the first time I've managed to drop the ph too low on a rabbit eye. I came close last year but caught it before it got too low. They might not respond quite like SHB in that respect. From what I can tell so far about low ph with SHB is chloratic leafs with some pink(depending on cultivar), stunted growth, smaller than normal leafs once they stunt and some leaf burn(depending on cultivar). All my potted SHB that were to low had all or some of these symptoms. As you can see the rabbiteye only has chloratic leafs but it's also stunnted because it hasn't grown much but no signs of leaf burn, small leafs or pink leafs. It's just a different animal! I don't recall how much sulfer I added to that bed at planting but when I noticed chloratic leafs I added more sulfer, iron sulfate and started using acidified water cause I thought the ph was getting too high. Instead I just drove it down even more! Lesson learned.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 8:46PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Gator is right that new beds are much more likely to cause plants to show the pale and red / pink tinged leaves even with equal care. It could simply be that the darn sulfur takes so long to take effect. I normally just hit them with a foliar iron spray and it works itself out...but now you have me paranoid lol. I will have to buy a PH meter I suppose.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 9:32PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

pH low or high or whatever the problem,changing the bed ingredients should work.It's just like starting a new planting and the control is yours.
Cotton burr compost,I haven't heard of that.I wonder if it's sold here or maybe it's a southern product? Brady

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 9:37PM
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I believe cotton burr compost is mostly sold here in the south. As the name implies its just composted remains from cotton production. I use it a lot in my vege garden. Its still got pieces of cotton in it too which helps in water retention. It's really good stuff and a neutral ph. Looks like I got some work to do tonight. I start night shift tomarrow night so I'm gona stay up tonight and get-r-done!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 10:19PM
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Wouldn't adding some lime neutralize some of the acid with less disturbing of the roots? Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 1:13PM
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NW, I probably could have done that but the roots hadnt really expaneded much past the original root ball, maybe 4 inches from what I could tell. I just removed the plant and keep dunking into a bucket of rain water and washed most of the soil from the rootball. Replaced and mixed the soil untill I got a 4.9ph reading then planted it back in. Only took about 45 min from start to finish.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 10:24PM
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