Test the soil and adjust the pH to provide the proper environment
Sometimes a pretty leaf color isn’t a good thing. If your soil isn’t acidic enough, your plants will be iron deficient and turn a bright yellow.
Photo/Illustration: Danielle Sherry
If ever there were a time that a soil test is essential, this is it. If you don’t already know the properties of the bed that you’ll be planting into, then you will need to do a soil analysis before you plant your berry bushes. Blueberries need acidic soil with an ideal pH between 4.5 and 5.2. If your soil pH is too high, your plants will be iron deficient, causing the foliage to turn yellow between the veins. This deficiency can eventually kill your plants. There are a few ways to acidify a sweet soil. You can spread 2 to 3 ounces of fine ground sulfur (per bush) over the soil and scratch it in. This method will work, although it will typically take at least a year for this amendment to have any effect on your soil’s pH. To decrease the pH fast, use moist peat moss to backfill your planting hole. This quickly raises the acidity, allowing you to have a healthy and productive first season.