Appreciation: how to change the ph of the soil

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by AlexMC, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. AlexMC

    AlexMC New Member

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    I decided to grew blueberries in containers, however I’m having a hard time changing the pH of the soil (alkaline). I did some research and some websites recommend Ericaceous soil but I can’t find it anywhere. I tried: Rona, Home Depot, Lowes any idea about where to find it ?? or what else can I use?
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    You can't realistically change the pH of your garden soil, there's just too much of it for any addition to have a significant effect. Like trying to empty the sea with a teaspoon.

    Ericaceous compost is something you buy for growing acid-loving plants in pots, where you have a miniature environment seperated from the native soil.
     
  3. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Perhaps addition of peat moss will do the trick for containerized culture. Also, the fertilizer required for blueberries may have an acidifying effect.
     
  4. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    AlexMC, where did you get the soil for the blueberries? Just about all of the natural soils in this part of BC are acidic due to leaching by our abundant rainfall. As long as you don't use concrete pots, you should be able to keep the pH low enough for blueberries through the addition of peat moss, as Junglekeeper suggested. If you really need to lower the pH more, sulfur is a well-known acidifier.
     
  5. AlexMC

    AlexMC New Member

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    Vitog,I have the blueberries in plastic pots and the soil I bought is for all indoor-outdoor plants (that's what the bag says). Last week I bought fertilizer for acidic plants and sulfur, I’ll try peat moss next…. hopefully that will do the trick ;) A friend of mine told me it’s really hard to make the blueberries to produce when they are planted in containers, Is it true?
     
  6. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I've never grown blueberries in containers, but I know that they are shallow rooted. So they should do well in an appropriate pot. I googled "blueberries in containers" and found lots of sites that give advice on how to do it. Some of the blueberry varieties that I've seen in garden centres are even advertised as being good for containers.
     
  7. AlexMC

    AlexMC New Member

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    Thanks
     
  8. blueberry

    blueberry Member

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    I use nearly straight peat moss for all of my blueberries in pots and the ones in the ground are in nearly all peat moss as well. It works well and I've been doing this for over 10 years with very successful results.

    Peat moss if also super cheap in the big bag from any store.
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Garden centers here have bags of acidic potting soil, that should be all you need. Particularly with acid rain being in the picture now it should not be necessary to add a bunch of additional acidifying materials to grow Heath Family plants in this area. In fact it was starting to be recommended to use dolomite to grow rhododendrons on local soils way back in the 1970s, the conditions in gardened soils of this region often being too acidic even for these shrubs.
     
  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    But also extremely damaging to the highly endangered peatland habitats it is mined from :-(
     
  11. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    The situation in Europe (where peat bogs are increasingly limited and as Michael mentions highly endangered by development--ironically to build houses, gardens and infrastructure for people who will subsequently worry about the ethics of using peat!) is not analogous to Canada: we have around 270-280 million acres of peat bog (which are projected to expand with climate change) of which around 40,000-50,000 acres are used for harvest....which is about 0.015%. When you consider that peat bogs are not static, but expand annually (the creation of new peat moss annually exceeds the total harvest by a factor of about 60), peatlands are not endangered in Canada: they are expanding.

    One might still object on the basis that all peat mining is harmful to a given section of peatland (indeed, the practice of replanting and restoration of a harvested area, while laudable, still takes years...though it should be noted that it is common practice), but environmental (and social) concerns apply to the alternatives as well. Sustainability should be the measure. A harvest of @ 0.015% of a resource which is (at least in Canada) abundant and expands at a rate 60X greater than the rate of harvest is well within any definition of the term.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015

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