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ericaceous compost

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by 44DCNF, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. 44DCNF

    44DCNF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,460

    Would any of you care to discuss the making of ericaceous compost? What procedures do you follow to differentiate from you normal pile, if you do? Would it be more pine needles or pine bark, adding vinegar, etc. I don't know about much about it, but what it is. I am trying a couple blueberries this year and would like to have a seperate pile for when I begin adding more bb plants to the collection. I don't grow rhodies or azaleas, and am not very well versed in acid loving plants. Thanks for any tips you can share.
  2. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    It is typical practice to use pine bark as the preferred mulch and amendment, just straight pine bark. They need just enough soil to hang on if wind/rain/ice comes along

    If you think about where blueberries grow, the conditions are pretty harsh and they can stand to have their feet wet almost all of the time. The are not crazy about a rich soil that drains well, so you actually have to back off on rich amendments like really good compost.

    They should do just fine in a marshy or wetter area of the yard, maybe where your downspouts run to if you have a water garden

    They also have very fine root hairs, excuse me hair roots and are prone to being set back if disturbed. In Ag they still pour on the NPK though, in the research I have done they seem to do better in lower phosphorous soils, so back off on products like miloraganite or cow/pig manure that are high in it
  3. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    there are different foods that will influence the acidity and micro organisms, yes you can target the PH when making compost. its mostly pine and some oak leaves to start with and very little minerals,aspergillus niger is one of the organisms that will acidify the soil very fast
  4. 44DCNF

    44DCNF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,460

    Thank you both! That helps a lot. I do in fact have an area where a gutter dumps that I could probably turn into my blueberry area, but for now they are in containers. I guess I should have researched them better first, because I put them in a potting soil. Pine bark nuggets are on the shopping list, as well as more plants. I lost one experimenting with home brew IBA. Too concentrated. As an aside, for tree gal, I did find out IBA survives the composting, and even the vermi composting process. Read that on wiggle worms literature. Will scout the neighborhood for an oak this fall, as I don't have one. thanks again.
  5. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    Shopping list? Look around for down trees in the woods. Get you a machette and start scraping, the stuff should come off really easy shouldn't it?

    Or do you guys not have pine trees there? They are almost a nuisance here.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Blueberries liking "wet feet" is exactly the opposite of what has always been printed on the planting instrustions. Mine grow on individualized raised beds that have been ammended deeply to ensure adequate drainage. They are shallow rooted in growth habit so any mulch is generally welcome. I use pine needles.

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