Blueberry pH Level: What Is Optimal?

Blueberry pH level requirements are fairly acidic. In this article, we’ll consider:

  • What’s the best pH level range for blueberries?
  • How to test the soil pH level for blueberries.
  • What methods are available to lower soil pH for blueberries?

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Blueberry pH Level: What Is Optimal?

Blueberry pH level requirements differ significantly from most common garden plants, which typically do well in relatively neutral pH soil between 6 to 7.5.

For blueberries though, this soil pH level would lead to sluggish growth, yellow leaves, and sparse fruit.

To grow healthy and abundant yields, blueberries require the soil to be fairly acidic, with an ideal pH level between 4 to 5.5.

As such, unless the soil in your area is naturally acidic, it’s more than likely the pH is too high for optimal blueberry growth. But to be sure and to determine by how much, you will need to test your soil pH level.

Blueberry pH Level: How to Test Soil pH Level

Testing the soil for the optimal blueberry pH level range is vital, whether you are planting new bushes or maintaining established blueberry bushes.

Soil pH level test kits are available from most garden centres and should give you an accurate reading so long as you follow the instructions. Alternatively, you can take soil samples to a testing laboratory.

If you discover that the soil pH level is greater than 5.5, you will need to acidify it before planting. If your soil is particularly alkaline, with a pH between 7 and 8, then you may want to consider planting your blueberries in containers initially until you can sufficiently lower the pH.

Blueberry pH Level: Lowering Soil pH Level

To prepare the soil for an ideal blueberry pH level, you have several options but you need to make sure you give yourself enough time for them to take effect before planting. This could mean up to one year if the pH is 7 or higher, but a minimum of three months is recommended for even small adjustments.

If the soil pH is not too high, you can try working old coffee grounds or acid peat into the soil at a depth of around 4 to 6 inches.

If you need to lower the pH level quite considerably, you might want to consider using elemental sulphur. As a general rule of thumb, half a kilo of sulphur will lower the pH of around 15 m2 of soil by one.

If possible, add the sulphur at the start of spring, then check your soil pH again in autumn before deciding whether to add more. Hopefully, by the following spring, your soil will be prepared to grow healthy blueberry bushes.

Alternatively, as a quick fix, you could consider using a highly concentrated phosphoric acid product to lower the pH value of water you use to hydrate your blueberry plants. However, this is not a long-lasting solution so if you want your blueberry bushes to last many years, then you shouldn’t rely on this method.

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Blueberry pH Level: Key Takeaways

  • Blueberry pH level requirements are lower than most common garden plants.
  • Most soils aren’t acidic enough for optimal blueberry growth.
  • It's a good idea to use a soil pH level test kit to know how much you need to lower the soil pH.
  • There are several possible methods to lower soil pH, but you need to make sure you give each enough time to take effect before planting.


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