En EspaÑol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - December 31, 2008

From: Seagrove, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Soils, Shrubs
Title: Further information on soil pH for growing blueberries
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Thank you for your reponse to my question / comment. You were exactly right about soil pH. Here is what Clemson University Extension has to say about growing blueberries in North and South Carolina. (I "borrowed" the following directly from their web sites) The soil pH value is a measure of soil acidity or alkalinity. Soil pH directly affects nutrient availability. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 as neutral. Numbers less than 7 indicate acidity while numbers greater than 7 indicate alkalinity. Plants thrive best in different soil pH ranges. Azaleas, rhododendrons, blueberries and conifers thrive best in acid soils (pH 5.0 to 5.5). Soil pH Adjustment: Have a soil test taken in the fall before planting in late winter or early spring. If the pH is above 6.0, select another planting site. If the soil pH is below 6.0 but above the 5.5 limit, apply wettable sulfur (90 percent sulfur) or aluminum sulfate. A very low soil pH caused by excess sulfur can be detrimental. Some soils in the Piedmont are very high in manganese. When growing blueberries on these soils, keep the pH above 5.0 to avoid problems with manganese toxicity. Any sulfur applications should be made at least three months prior to planting because it takes several months for sulfur to reduce the pH. Check the pH once or twice during the first growing season to determine if still more sulfur is required later in the season. Sometimes, the impatient home gardener will insist on planting without a soil test. In this case, mix 1 cubic foot of peat moss with an equal amount of sand. It is important to use a sand that has not been limed or that does not contain a liming material. Most builder’s sand, referred to as “sharp” sand, does not contain liming materials.

ANSWER:

And thank you again, for the information. We frequently refer back to previous questions (and answers) when we are asked a similar question. Your information may help another gardener later, or at least discourage trying to grow blueberries in alkaline soil.

 

More Soils Questions

Need fast growing deciduous trees for Austin, TX
February 14, 2015 - We'd like to plant several fast growing deciduous trees in a full sun yard with a hard alkaline soil in the western edge of Travis Heights in South Austin. I've noted several locations in our neighb...
view the full question and answer

Growing Native Plants in Juniper litter from Wimberley, TX
October 04, 2010 - Junipers create an environment under their canopy that prohibits growth of other plants. I have a virgin lot that has been cleared of many juniper but has remaining heavy natural leaf mold containing...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover under Spruces from West Chester PA
December 06, 2012 - Trying to get a native groundcover (or any grass/wildflower/fern) planting established under a small stand of spruces. Established stand (30+ years old), so lots of needles on ground. Just about tot...
view the full question and answer

Poor drainage in wildflower bed
November 10, 2004 - I have a flower bed that has given me difficulty because it has poor drainage but typically receives sun for most of the day. Salvia gregii was the only survivors for the initial landscaping attempt. ...
view the full question and answer

Trees for Plum Grove, TX
October 05, 2013 - Sorry Mr. Smarty pants, my question is I live in Plum Grove Texas, I have 5 acres and NO TREES. What trees were on the property were either taken out by Ike, or the twisters that followed. I have boug...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center