Planted a TON of new Berries HELP

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by DownHome, May 5, 2006.

  1. DownHome

    DownHome Well-Known Member

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    Well we moved in a year and a half ago and this spring we decided to start doing some of our gardening renovation. The kids eat a lot of PBJ and they loved the cherry jelly from the already established cherry tree last year, so we planted another cherry tree. We also went for blueberries, grapes elderberries, blackberries and strawberries.

    We can't tell how the cherry tree is doing just yet. The strawberries are coming up so-so. The elderberries and grapes seem to be thriving. I think the blackberries came dead already (4 seasons nursery) and the blueberries(local nursery) looked great when we planted them, but now they look like they are dying. We have had plenty of rain and I just don't know what we did wrong.

    My dh planted them with some peat moss. Should he have used more. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. thanks
     
  2. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    Blueberries must have acid soil in order to survive. Without it they won't grow. The other thing they need is mulch. The roots are very shallow so they can dry out really quickly. The mulch helps keep the soil evenly moist and cool. Never use manure on the blueberries, however the cherries and blackberries like it. Strawberries prefer soils that are more acid than sweet. Elderberries like moist soil and are tolerant of shade, but prefer acid soils.
     

  3. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    I just planted some little blueberries, and they're not looking too happy either. What's the best way to improve acid in soil? Will my dogs peeing on it work? Seriously--urine is acidic, right?
     
  4. GoatsRus

    GoatsRus TMESIS

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    My blueberries did OK until this year and now I've lost a few plants. We always mulched them, but this past winter, I used Sawdust as we had a load delivered to use on some tree seedlings. Did the sawdust do them in? the others aren't looking too green either. Sawdust...mulch it's all wood right?
     
  5. GoatsRus

    GoatsRus TMESIS

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    Ok, I just found this, so I guess it wasn't the sawdust that did them in. Maybe it was the 2 rounds of hail storms we had... :shrug:

    Lowering the soil pH to make it more acid
    If your soil needs to be more acidic, sulfur may be used to lower the pH if it is available. To reduce the soil pH by 1.0 point, mix in 1.2 oz of ground rock sulfur per square yard if the soil is sandy, or 3.6 oz per square yard for all other soils. The sulfur should be thoroughly mixed into the soil before planting. Sawdust, composted leaves, wood chips, cottonseed meal, leaf mold and especially peat moss, will lower the soil pH.
     
  6. DownHome

    DownHome Well-Known Member

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    I purchased aluminum sulfate. I was told my a local that you can't purchase straight sulphur. However, I really don't want to contribute to any aluminum poinsoning (alzheimers) and stuff like that. Is it safe to use and can you purchase sulphur. I think the local said it had something to do with explosives?
     
  7. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    Aluminum sulphate can build up toxins in your soil and plants (animals, people too). Iron sulphate is better for the plants and it green them up by helping them to change sunlight to starches. Chlorophyll. Same way that iron in our blood makes more red blood cells. It improves the oxygen capacity in our blood. Sawdust on any plants will cause them to turn yellow and die of starvation. The sawdust uses up all the available nitrogen to break down the wood. It basically "robs" the soil of nitrogen. If you could get or find well rotted sawdust, that would be great. Just mulch them with Any shredded hardwood mulch that garden centers sell. Farm supply stores sell sulpher. Iron sulphate is the best,and quickest way to lower the ph. Urine of any kind is very salty and as such isn't acid at all. Thats why manure is so bad for blueberries. It's loaded with salts from urine. As far as explosives are concerned. The deadliest stuff you can get isn't sulpher at all. Sulpher can be used as one ingredient in making gunpowder but you'd still need pig manure and potassium nitrate (salt peter). That is sold as stump remover in all garden centers. Straight nitrogen fertilizer is the stuff that is used to make explosives. That is generally sold in quantity by farm supply places and is well regulated and not readily available in most places any more since the Oklahoma bombing. The person telling you about sulpher is trying to push smoke into the wind with a pitchfork. If you haven't opened the box of Aluminum sulphate yet, I'd return it and buy iron sulphate from another vendor that isn't so full of wrong info. He's just feeding you a line to sell you Aluminum because they don't have sulpher or iron sulphate.
     
  8. Gideon

    Gideon Well-Known Member

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    We put in about a dozen blueberry saplings two yrs ago but a fire got them. We always "plant" a 2 1/5 inch PVC pipe beside our trees to root depth. That way we can water them from below. Just fill the pipe and it will slow water the young tree. Stumbled on to a bunch of potting soil last year that we are still using under everything. It was at a watermelon farm and they had just tossed bushels of it away. I bagged maybe ten bushels and they gave me the bags-made me smile. This fall we will do the blueberry thing again-and put in a firebreak :) Gideon
     
  9. DownHome

    DownHome Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Woodspirit. :baby04: I'm going to get the iron sulphate. i've already opened my other. I'll just chalk that up to lesson learned. I should have listened to that little voice telling me it wasn't a good idea to buy it in the first place. Next time :)
     
  10. swamp man

    swamp man Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Woodspirit.
    I'd check the PH,and adjust accordingly.I have found blueberries very easy to grow,and get a bountiful crop from,BUT,the PH has to be right.Once the acidity is corrected,your bushes will likely take off.I reckon peat moss helps messed-up structure,and lowers PH,but there are better and less expensive ways to accomplish both,and nurseries and such love to sell peat,as it is a strictly "but it and turn it over"item.I have no use for the stuff.
    As far as blackberries,I have never found any of the thornless varieties to be the rough and tough plants I like to grow.The wild patches are phenominal,though,especially if I hit 'em with a little 13-13-13 a coupla' times a year.
     
  11. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    That's interesting about your blackberries. I've found that seedless grapes aren't as prolific or thrifty as regular seeded grapes too.
     
  12. swamp man

    swamp man Well-Known Member

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    WS,I have tried several of the thornless cultivars,and they are always taking a whoopin' from something-insects,fungus,you name it.As I type this,there are many pounds more berries than I could ever pick in a lifetime out in my patches,and they will go to rot,even though many of my berry-pickin' buddies have an open invite to take all they want.After a few years of trying with the named cultivars,I finally decided to try to "tame" a coupla' wild patches.All I really do for them is go thruogh them with a hedge pruner in the fall,randomly slicing away,and hit 'em with nutes,by way of a belly-bag spreader.The tangle of bushes is way too big and crazy for me to cut out only the old wood,but my haphazard technique is working for me.