How to Make Soil Acidic for Blueberries? A Comprehensive Guide

If you are worried about how to make soil acidic for blueberries, then here is the article that you need to read. Don’t shy away from growing this acid-loving plant just because you have neutral soil. If you want a healthy blueberry plant, make your soil acidic. Adjusting your garden soil is not as hard as you think.

If you want to know all the wonderful uses of garden soil, click here. 

There are a lot of ways to make your soil acidic with the soil amendments such as fertilizers and acidifiers. Read this guide to learn more on how to acidify the soil, adjust soil pH and maintain the best acidic soil for your blueberry plant. I bet, you will wish you had known it sooner!

Why do Blueberries need Acidic Soil?

Blueberries need acidic soil to grow because of their root structure. Every plant has a main root with fine roots around it which helps in the intake of nutrients to the plant. Blueberry plants have only one root without the fine roots around it, making it hard to absorb the water and minerals in the oil.

 Acidic soil will help the Blueberries to take the nutrients by attracting bacteria which breaks down the minerals for faster intake of Blueberry plants. Blueberries in non-acidic soil may look fine but they will eventually lack nutrients which can endanger plant life. The plant will have iron deficiency and the leaf turns yellow to brown which leads to halted growth and the plant may die.

When is the Best Time to Acidify the Soil for Blueberries?

The best time to acidify the soil for blueberries is before planting the blueberry plant in the soil. This will help your plant to get the nutrients right from the start of the growth journey. 

The second best time to acidify the soil for Blueberries is at the end of the dormancy period i.e. in winter. At this time the plant will start its growth and acidity will help it to make up for the lost nutrients. 

The last best time is before the fruit grows. Berries fruit grow in June, considering it may be best to acidify the soil. Thus, helping the plant to grow smoothly and properly. 

Did you know?

  • Blueberry plants reach full growth in 8 years.
  • To get the fruit with regular harvest, it takes 5 years of plant life.
  • Growing Blueberries in containers or pots may shun their growth, planting them in the ground will do better.

How to Prepare Soil for Blueberries Plants?

Soil Preparation for Blueberries

An acidic soil rich in organic matter is a preferred soil for Blueberry plants. Planning and preparing the soil before planting will improve the soil conditions with all the amendments in it. Take the soil sample for about 12 inches deep where the root will grow and test it to know its content. Many organic materials that are commonly available in home gardens have very high pH for blueberry plants. Manures and compost make the best amendment in soil preparation. Use Saw dust or bark from pine and avoid redwoods. You can add peat moss as the soil mix bit is quite expensive.

How to test the Blueberry Soil?

If you want to grow blueberries, the first thing you should do is test your soil. Testing the soil for Blueberries at every stage of growth will make sure the soil is acidic enough for the plant. Starting from before planting the Blueberry plant to the fruiting period, keeping a regular check on soil pH is a must. To do the soil pH test, 

Litmus Paper Test– This traditional paper test is used to find if the soil is acidic or not. Mix the water and soil to dip the paper. If the Litmus paper turns red, then the soil is acidic. 

Digital Tester– The Digital Tester is used in the soil to find the soil pH. This electronic device is made of metal which also shows the mineral levels that are present in the soil.

Lab soil Test– Send your soil sample to a nearby soil lab or extension office to know about the soil. They also give more information to grow the plant along with the soil pH and contents in soil.

The Ideal soil pH to grow Healthy Blueberry plants is 4.5 to 5.5. The soil pH below 4.5 is too acidic for this plant and needs lime to raise its pH. A pH over 5.5 is over-acidic and needs sulfur to lower the soil pH.

How to make Soil Acidic for Blueberries?

making acidic soil for Blueberries

To make the soil acidic for blueberry plants, use some acidifiers in the soil. If the soil test indicates the soil needs more acid or less acid there are many ways to acidify the soil. Soil acidifiers should be applied one time per year. Let us learn about some,

Sulfur– Elemental sulfur is very effective in acidifying the soil naturally. This is one of the common treatments to acidify the soil for Blueberry plants. This slow release and a long-term solution will keep the soil pH down right for the Blueberry plant. The Sulphur is easy and safe to use but needs more caution in adding the right proportion to the soil.

Compost– Compost is made of waste from plants, fruits, vegetables, and yards. Using the microorganisms this waste will be broken down to provide nutrients to the soil. Compost provides all essential minerals and NPK to the soil. The water content and density will provide a regular source of food for the single-rooted Blueberries.

Mulch– The mulch is spread on the soil which contains both organic and inorganic materials. They contain leaves, lawn clipping, wood, and other such products. Mulch prevents weed growth in the soil and keeps moisture in the soil. Pine Needle mulch is the best mulch for Blueberry plants. 4 inches of mulch around the Blueberry plant will do the magic for your plant.

Vinegar– Vinegar is the best short-term solution to boost acidic soil. This natural substance should be added in a diluted way around the plants. Add one spoon or 10 ml of vinegar to 1 gallon of water to ready the vinegar solution. Adding this to the soil will make the soil acidic and is best used for container plants. Since containers need a quick and short-term solution, this is the best one.

Acidic Fertilisers– Acid or acidic fertilizers will provide acidity directly to the soil. This is best used for half-grown blueberries which need a boost of acidity for healthy growth and fruit production. Acid fertilizers are sprayed around the soil and work very slowly in the plant.

How to Lower Soil Acidity?

Lime– The soil acidity can be lowered or adjusted with the help of lime. Finely grounded lime will make the best combination to neutralize the too much acidity in the soil. If the soil pH is too low adding some lime will increase the acidity. This a very fast solution to lower the soil acidity and increase the pH level.

Wood ash– Ashes from fire pits can be added to soil to reduce soil acidity. They contain boron and some nutrients that help the soil. Wood ash can be added to the soil before planting to amend the soil. Don’t apply wood ash to garden plants. Avoid using artificial log wood ash, as they have chemicals in it.

How to Maintain Soil Acidity for Blueberry?

Making soil Acidic and growing Blueberries

After achieving the right pH level and acidifying the soil, it needs to be monitored to maintain it. Since soil amendments last only for two to three months in soil, testing the soil for three months once will help maintain healthy soil for the plant. To give the plant the best growing conditions add natural solutions to last longer. Pine needles, mulch, or coffee grounds will make the best solution. As they slowly release the acid in soil and per soil need. You can also use Liquid feed right in acidic contention to maintain a good soil acidity for Blueberry plants.

Are Coffee Grounds and Epsom salt good for Blueberries?

Yes, Epsom salt and Coffee Grounds are good for Blueberries. 

Epsom salt is good for blueberries and is a great addon if the plant needs sulfur in the soil. They can be a good substitute for magnesium but it doesn’t take much change in soil or pH. Epsom salt can interfere with calcium intake by the roots of blueberry plants.

Coffee Grounds are good for the Blueberry plant when added with an amendment. Coffee Grounds are mildly acidic. Compost and coffee grounds make the best pair of amendments to make the soil acidic and filled with nutrients. Adding the coffee grounds to the compost pile to decompose and using that around or in the plant before planting will help for plant growth.

Tips for Growing Blueberry

  • Providing proper sunlight will help blueberries grow well. They need full sun to stay healthy.
  • Working on the organic matter of the soil before planting blueberries is important. Most of the nutrients for the plant are provided from the soil, making sure the soil is healthy before planting will ensure the health of the Blueberries plant.
  • Giving a sufficient amount of water to Blueberries will enrich the plant. Blueberries prefer 2 inches of water a week.

Conclusion

We have given all the methods to acidify the soil for home gardeners. Blueberry plants need a special check on them with pH and conditions. Blueberries are one of the easiest growing berries to grow and are worth it for this natural superfood. So, now you know all about the soil and need for the Blueberry plant. Start your journey with the Blueberry plant with this guidance and Enjoy!

Happy Gardening!

FAQ’s

1. What can I add to the soil to acidify it?

You can add Sulphur, sulfate, and peat moss to acidify the soil.

2. Can I acidify the soil for blueberries with vinegar?

Yes, you can acidify the soil for Blueberry with vinegar.

3. What is the Best natural fertilizer for a Blueberry plant?

Soybean meal is the best natural fertilizer for a Blueberry plant.