Something new for me....blueberries

Drew, a lot of help here. I am close to what you are doing, got all the ingredients. And btw, the fig sions starting to show growth, the bigger stick is doing better, so thanks again.
Have anybody ever heard of a blueberry plant called, Bonus? Bought one, but still better than Bogus.

The easiest way to see if your native soil is acidic is to check if your hydrengia bush has blue flowers (if you grow hydrengia). My have always pale blue, almost white. So, I know my soil is not blueberry-friendly.

My soil is not acidic enough and my tap water is high ph, a bad combination for blueberry growing. I know about pine bark, peat moss, element sulfur, ammonium sulfate, battery acid, vinegar, etc. After 5 years of growing in-ground blueberries, it was an uphill battle to keep my blueberries happy.

In the end, I gave mine to my friends. They have thrived in her more acidic soil and lower ph water. She gave me some of the blueberries. Not a bad deal.

I recall you have a humongous container of rain water, too. With the correct planting media, soil amendment, fertilizer and water, I think you will be successful in blueberry planting. Good luck.


Thanks Tippy, always good to hear from you: Tips from Tippy!

Now it’s interesting and Kevin and I have discussed a bit about our blueberries before. We have experienced drastically different results with blueberries and we live within 50 miles of each other. My blueberry patch has 22 bushes and has been amazing. The key for me without question has been the type. For my area it’s Rabbiteyes and specifically Climax and Premier types.
I tried Northern and Southern bushes and even hybrids and they all failed.

With the rabbiteyes, heavy pine needles and 2-3 doses of cottonseed meal my blueberry bushes are over 7-8 feet tall and absolutely loaded once again with 1000s of berries coming in. The best part is they didn’t get any damage from the freeze that killed every pear, peach, mulberry and plum I had.

Love my blueberries!! Most important thing you can do @aap is get correct type. Find the right type, use pine needles and cottonseeed meal and I believe anyone can hit a high success rate with em.
I’ll post pics soon.


Great,like to see a couple pictures of your setup, got to be good.

Here is the thread I started three years ago. I’ll update some pics soon.

Aap, I just planted my third Bonus blueberry today. They were listed as zone 3, so I figure they should be reliable here, even if they don’t turn out to be the cat’s meow in other aspects.

Thank you for your reminder. As you say, its just amazing how much difference we’ve had with blueberries and living so close. I had actually forgotten that you felt pine needles had been a big part of your success. Thanks to the sulfur and hollytone I have certainly had improvements over the last 2-3 years, but I’ve seen your blueberry photos and mine are just no where remotely close the size, health, production, etc that you have. Yours are just plain amazing.

Have you ever had your soil tested? I’m wondering if you know what your soil ph is in the unamended area around your plants? I’ve never tested mine, which is dumb. Its possible that for some reason it could be ridiculously high- more than the pine needles could improve. I just don’t know what our differences are but I sure need to figure it out! I do have some rabbiteye, btw, and while they aren’t in your class of health and size, they are for sure my best producers.

BTW…I wasn’t sure your blueberries made it through the frost-glad to hear that!

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Thanks Kevin! I was so relieved they made it though the freeze. I had my soil tested in that plot prior to planning and it was ph 6.3 so that’s probably a big reason for success. It was a pine forest before it became pasture so probably set great conditions for blueberries before I even planted the orchard.

OK Zack…your memory is as bad as mine apparently! haha. I have actually been rereading that old thread that you linked to above and I noticed that I asked you back then if you had tested your blueberry dirt. You said you had and that it came back at 5.3, not 6.3 !!! That is a huge difference. If it was 5.3 then holy cow, no wonder you have 10 foot blue berries. If it was 6.3 then its still good…just not 5.3 good.

I hope you understand I’m mostly just having fun with you because I know it was an honest mistake and either you forgot or made a typo in one of the entries, but I actually am pretty curious which number is correct. Here is the post you made saying 5.3:

So…what ph dirt are you dealing with up there!? :slight_smile:


One of the problems is even peat moss, pine needles or pine bark will not acidify alkaline soil for very long. The very best way is sulfur. Or to use only peat and pine in your mixes for containers or raised beds. Do not add anything basic. No compost. Use Hollytone fertilizer for organic methods. Peat and pine products will compost too. Don’t add anything else.


Drew, and others, a very good read about your experiences in my new effort growing blueberries. I might not have the right varieties to start, everything else I have. I have to pick up two more plants today, a Bonus and Blueray. These 6 plants will be my starts in blueberries. If they fail, so what, $50.00 ain’t bad for starters.


@Drew51 where do you purchase your large grain DE? I can only find the fine powder.

It iis used as an oil absorbent so sold in Auto stores. It is 100% DE, nothing else. It’s the best oil absorbent too if you ask me. Optisorb brand offers the largest particle size. I wish they sold larger size for horticultural purposes. Only commercial/wholesale large grade is available. It’s used in football fields and ball parks. Studies show DE as being a fantastic amendment for any plant. Yet it’s not available. O’Reilly’s carries optisorb but they are expensive. I found Grainger sells it a lot cheaper. You order online for local store pickup. Hopefully you have one nearby!

@Chills was looking at trying some. Here it is.

I love it to root figs too!


That is lovely. Look at those roots!


It’s harder though not impossible to kill/rot cuttings. You can’t over water, the DE holds the perfect amount needed and the rest runs right out. No matter how many times you water.

The pours in DE are big enough for the root tips to enter the DE particles. I leave them on when up potting.


Zaz, was happy to find a nursery close by that have these available, cheaper at that. Reading articles about blueberries here, it might be the wrong varieties, will see. Have a blueberry orchard close by that my wife and friends visit every year, I might join them just ones. Dug a ditch, 16 feet long, 2 feet wide, 15” deep. If they don’t like what I am doing for them, tough sh…! They already got a doze of espoma
H T.

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Hahaha. Good catch Kevin. I dug up the old sample stats. 5.3 was PH. My memory is definitely not so good.

I love it!! Great work. For what it’s worth Blueray a northern variety just would not work for me. Couldn’t get it to do much at all. Finally pulled and replaced with a rabbiteye. I certainly hope it works better for you! Trial and error is definitely a time tested measure we all have utilized.

Blueray is a good one in South Central Kentucky.

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