Richard, I find it interesting that your blueberries have been so successful with a pH that high, it makes me less worried about growing mine in ground with a native pH of 5.6.
We don’t grow northern blueberries here – they’d hate the weather. Instead we have ‘rabbit eye’ cultivars (e.g. O’Neil) and proprietary hybrids (e.g. Monrovia). The latter is incredibly tolerant of near-alkaline pH while the southeastern cultivars are fine with pH near 6 – although they do best in the mid to upper 5’s.
Duly noted Mr. Richard. The Sunshine Blues are evergreen you say; do they still need chill hours?
Monrovia recommends 150 chill hours for Sunshine Blue.
Our Brightwell blueberry bush puts out more berries than all 6 of our other varieties combined. We harvest it over about 4 months. Our pH is also very high, we struggle to maintain 6.5
@applenut how do you like the taste of Brightwell berries? Last year I saw Lowe’s in my area selling Brightwell. I wasn’t sure if they’d do well for me. I thought that was southern variety.
I think Rabbiteye’s are lot more forgiving, pretty cool. My northerns would die at 6.5 I know I did it.
No it’s a Rabbiteye. I have 2 southerns here in Michigan. Some do fine this far up north.
My best is Indigocrisp, fruited early for me. Seems fine here. Sweetcrisp struggles. I often have to threaten it.
I’m interested in comparing it to Monrovia’s patented Sunshine Blue.
It was released jointly by UGA and USDA-ARS in 1983. Dr. Brightwell was a small fruits researcher at UGA from 1944 to 1973. Here’s a few notes about him: http://www.caes.uga.edu/campuses/tifton/about/campus-overview/history/global-impact/wt-brightwell.html
The taste is decent, best in pancakes. We’re in Southern California, and it can take the heat and lack of winter chill. Sunshine Blue is good here, but annoying to pick with its tiny berries. And it doesn’t matter how good a variety is if there’s no berries, Brightwell is humongous and bears over such a long period, each long branch covered in berries ripening from the base outward over several months. Every morning there’s something to pick.
That is the same one that I bought this week. Funny thing, tho . . . . no matter where I put it in the yard - I get the same reading. I figured it was a piece’o’junk and bought a soil testing kit. Some more junk. Damn things didn’t even change colors like they were supposed to. So . . . now I’m sending soil to the extension service in Blacksburg. Sigh.
pH is often set by water supply. If all your locations use the same water source (rain or municipal) then don’t be surprised to find the same pH readings everywhere in your yard.
Here are some fruits ripening on our Monrovia Sunshine Blue – they’re mostly 3/8th inch diameter but a few are 1/2 inch.
Don’t get too caught up with your pH, it will be different everywhere in the soil. Just check it periodically because it’s extremely important.
Is that Sunshine Blue different than others without the Monrovia name? Brady
It will be identical everywhere under year-round irrigation (my situation), unless significant pH-setting amendments are in place. I have tried the latter but found it too laborious. Instead I have injectors that set the pH in our irrigation systems.
It sounds simple with your irrigation system controlling the p H but it’s much more complicated than that.
Let’s say your injectors take a pH from 7.8 pH to a 6.8 pH, as soon as that 6.8 pH hits the soil, it changes. It will not stay the same throughout any container, soil or raised bed. If it does stay the same pH throughout any of the above mentioned mediums, than you need a better pH meter. Not trying to discurage you as you’re way ahead of most when trying to figure out the pH mystery.
@prestons_garden – It’s not a mystery to me. The soil in my raised blueberry bed is a custom mix I designed and installed (described above). The pH of my municipal water is fixed at 7.0. I dose the injector for my blueberry planter and other acid loving plants (huckleberry, rose, etc.) at pH 5.5. The blueberry planter is sustaining it while the others on that circuit – having a bit of native soil in their mix are holding at pH 6.0. Molarity of the solution is important. If you’d like to check out the operations I’m at most an hour drive south of you in Vista CA.
Me either, pH seems straight forward to control, and I have had blueberries for years and years. Currently I have 11 plants. If the medium you are using is acidic it’s easy. I have had a problem with too low a pH even. I don’t use meters I find the professional commercial plastic strips to be the most accurate. Proper readings are critical, essential in commercial settings and the strips always read correctly.
I agree pH will change if you’re using weak acids that organically break down. I only use sulfuric acid which converts carbonates to gypsum, and gypsum is very stable and keeps the calcium compounds from ever becoming basic again. Sulfur will do the same thing of course, just slower. I keep my pH lower than Richard at 5.0. It’s easy to mess up so must be monitored. I find peat and pine bark tend to hold the pH steady, so very little if any acid is needed. I use rainwater so don’t have to alter my water. My rainwater is very acidic here in the 5.2 to 5.5 range. If you’re using regular soil, I would agree controlling pH is difficult, not so much with peat and pine. They are very steady. Peat by itself is at 5.0. I think pine is around 5.5 so if you only use rainwater you don’t even have to control the pH. I use some garden soil in my raised beds so I monitor them regularly. Also sometimes compost which usually is basic. The ground below the beds is just slightly acidic and will steal ions too! So my raised beds require a little more management. Results are very good!
Richard is a professional, and knows what he is doing. One can learn a lot from him.
One of the most knowledgeable people on this site which includes professors, professional growers etc. I was not a professional in horticulture. i was paid to grow fungi, bacteria and viruses for MSU and Sparrow hospital. I was part of the team at Sparrow who was trying to grow the HIV virus when it first appeared at the start of the 80’s. We failed as another lab came up with a method. At first we could not grow the virus, it is a very primitive (and ancient) RNA virus, no DNA in that beast! I never grew that type before. i know how now, but I long ago retired. That was very dangerous work, but also I just loved growing cultures and isolating and keeping strains of TB and other pathogens for research.
At Sparrow hospital we had 80 different strains of TB for research. Now we have TB strains that will kill you no matter what we do. Super bugs! An interesting organism as most bacteria have protein coats, TB has a lipid coat.Some argue it is a fungus. It’s like the organism with flagella and chloroplasts. Is it animal or plant? It’s both!