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CBRINKLEY401's Photo CBRINKLEY401 SparkPoints: (86,215)
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2/1/13 12:01 A

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That's quite a few trees. It is best to try and get the PH levels correct BEFORE you plant. If you plan on replanting any fruit trees, you need to be careful to plant a different type of tree in the spot a previous one grew. Trees will give off substances in the soil to inhibit the growth of other trees of the same kind, as a way of decreasing the competition from seedings that may sprout from fallen fruit. If you cut down a tree and plant another of the same kind, those substances in the soil will often weaken the new tree. So if you had an apple tree in one spot, plant a cherry or apricot or peach or pear there instead.

As to the existing trees, one thing I also read is that used coffee grounds are great as a fertilizer for acid loving plants. So I am guessing that they are also acidic in nature and would help counteract the alkaline PH of your soil. Either way, any compost will help normalize soil, no matter if it is too high or too low. I don't know if there are any Starbucks or other coffee shops around you (or even a Dunkin Donuts), but if so, it wouldn't hurt to check and see if they would be willing to save the coffee grounds for you (filters and all). You'd have to make frequent trips - even daily - but it would be one way to get your hands on more organic matter to treat your soil. I don't know how much they generate in a day, but it usually is quite a bit. Just spread the grounds underneath the trees, scattering them all over. You don't want to just put them at the base of the tree. Organisms in the soil will help break them down even if they are just left at the surface, and rain will wash the nutrients into the soil. You could easily use 5 gallons of grounds per tree. Once each tree has been treated, go back and hit them again.

-Cathy
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SEXYWANTOBE's Photo SEXYWANTOBE Posts: 170
1/23/13 11:19 A

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When I moved here I had 3 acres to fill up, so I planted 250 trees. I planted pine, (died) apple, cherry, pear, plum,and peach. All are of the dwarf variety except the cherry, they are a wild cherry. I know they all should be double the size that they are. I may have 50 to75 left. I planted grapes, current, rasberrys, strawberrys, and blueberry's also. The strawberrys were the only thing that gave fruit. Last year almost all died so I have to replant them. I wanted a self-sustainable farmette.

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CBRINKLEY401's Photo CBRINKLEY401 SparkPoints: (86,215)
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1/22/13 12:42 P

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Most fruit trees do prefer a slightly acid soil (ph in the 6 to 7 range, though apricots will do fine with ph levels up to 8.0). If you mulch under the trees (a good idea anyway to prevent weeds and grasses from competing for nutrients), then you should remove that mulch in late winter and apply an acidic mulch such as oak leaves and pine needles. You can also mix additional sulfur into this mulch. This will help lower the ph, but as you have read, it won't do so quickly. Again, you can water over this area with a mixture of vinegar and water to help lower the ph more quickly.
Most fruit trees, like Apple, cherry, apricot, peach, and pear trees benefit from regular applications of sulfur on the leaves (except when the tree is blooming), to help prevent some fungal diseases like apple scab or brown rot, especially in wet conditions. Since rain will also wash the sulfur into the soil all the way to the drip line, this too may help with lowering the ph throughout the root area.
I don't know how old your fruit trees are. Full size fruit trees can take up to 8 years before they start bearing fruit. There are many other reasons why fruit trees wouldn't bear fruit, such as late frosts. If the trees are old and overgrown, they also could just need some drastic pruning in order to bring them back to bearing. This is common with older apple and pear trees.
What types of fruit trees are we talking about? Full size, semi-dwarf, or dwarf? How old are they? Do they show any other signs of stress or diseases besides just not bearing fruit?

-Cathy
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If it's to be, it's up to ME.

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SEXYWANTOBE's Photo SEXYWANTOBE Posts: 170
1/21/13 3:28 P

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They are fruit trees and they have never given any fruit. I can't wait for spring to get to work emoticon

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CBRINKLEY401's Photo CBRINKLEY401 SparkPoints: (86,215)
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1/18/13 11:52 P

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It depends on what kinds of trees you are talking about and their current condition. Some trees actually do well in alkaline soils - American Elm, Honey locust, Black locust, Bur oak, black maple, hawthorns, carob, catalpa, Kentucky coffee tree, and sycamores.
If the tree does seem stressed due to the high PH, you probably will have to resort to applying the PH reducers in liquid form. You have to water all the way out to the tree line, which is where most of the roots are. Vinegar in water (I'd use a higher concentration than 2TBSP per gallon and just try to sprinkle it over the area, instead of trying to soak the soil), compost teas (putting compost in a 5 gallon bucket with lots of water and letting it soak, then straining it and using the "tea" to water with). If you have access to oak leaves or pine needles, chop those up with a lawn mower, then use them to mulch under the trees as long as you aren't growing other things under them (not too much at once, but you can gradually add more as it breaks down). As they break down, rain will wash the nutrients into the soil as well as help lower the ph. Sulphur can also be mixed with water, as it is often used as a spray against apple scab and other fungal diseases, so you should be able to mix that with water and use a watering can to apply it.
I know there are non-organic fertilizers which you can either broadcast on the top of the soil or else mix with water to use for acid-loving plants, and you might have to resort to using those to try and get a handle on the situation and save your trees.

-Cathy
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SEXYWANTOBE's Photo SEXYWANTOBE Posts: 170
1/18/13 4:12 P

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I'm going to shrink my garden down in size this year. I think it will be easier to manage and then I can work on fixing this problem. My son brought home some wall boards from work the other day. They are made of gypsum, I was thinking of giving my grand-daughter a hammer and telling her have at it. Then I can just till it in with everything else. You all have been a great help.
Another question,
What about trees? I can't till them up so how do I fix the PH for them?

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CBRINKLEY401's Photo CBRINKLEY401 SparkPoints: (86,215)
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1/17/13 1:59 P

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For a quick fix to the problem of high PH of your soil, you could water the plants and the soil with a mixture of 2 TBSP white vinegar to one gallon of water. It's true that soil amendments do take time to lower the PH. Compost is a great way to do so. Oak leaves (any part of an oak tree for that matter), pine needles, egg shells (high in sulphur as well as calcium that can often be bound up in alkaline soils and thus unavailable to plants), rhubarb leaves, citrus fruit peels and peat moss are all more acidic, so be sure to add those if you can get them. Gypsum (calcium sulfate) is often used by farmers, but since it is not strictly a natural product, many organic growers avoid using it. Personally, if you have a serious problem with the soil, I wouldn't have a problem with resorting to those measures, and then using organic methods to maintain your soil condition.

-Cathy
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If it's to be, it's up to ME.

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SEXYWANTOBE's Photo SEXYWANTOBE Posts: 170
1/7/13 7:30 P

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This winter I started to throw everything into the hen house. I started off with a pail of straw, then a bail of alafaf. Now every day I throw all scraps in even meat. The chicken love it. I have never got so many eggs in the winter. They are scratching and mixing everything up. We will see how the finished product is.

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LILY_SPARK's Photo LILY_SPARK SparkPoints: (104,424)
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1/7/13 2:15 P

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The Ozarks are known for being VERY difficult to garden. That's why we always compost -- but we don't use a pile, just toss out. It takes years to get going and constant care but it's natural.

Our stand of asparagus probably took 5 or 8 years to really take off. Now it's extremely resilient.

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,376
1/7/13 2:12 P

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A lot of areas have soil that works well for most gardening needs. Hovever, certain plants require extra of some nutrients or a different PH, so in some cases soil testing is needed. In my case I want to grow blueberries whick require a PH of around 5.5 which is acidic so I tested my soil and have ammended it around the bushes so they will grow well. In the situation presented here, she knew her soil PH was high for most vegetables and needed to do something about it.
It sounds as if you have gardened in the same spot for many years and have been adding organic matter at least most of those years, which keeps your soil healthy and helps maintain a fairly neutral PH.
As the old saying goes if it ain't broke don't fix it! But that also implies that if it is broken it should be fixed.

LILY_SPARK's Photo LILY_SPARK SparkPoints: (104,424)
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1/7/13 9:24 A

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I've never tested anything -- I live in the Ozarks. We raised all of our food coming up. We *do* however, put all cuttings (from the kitchen) back on the ground.

We've never kept a compost pile...it just goes directly onto the ground. Our veg patch was 3 acres til I was grown (now about 1/2 acre). We *do* till the soil frequently, even in summer between rows. This forces clippings underground to rot. We even put eggshells out.

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,376
1/6/13 11:28 A

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Sulfur does take time to work, but it will lower the PH of your soil. The package of it that I have says 6-8 weeks to see results.
Compost will help some, but since most compost is in the nuetral range on PH, it would take a huge amount to lower your soil PH. A combination of both compost and sulfur would probably be good.
You can get PH meters at most nurseries they are not too expensive unless you go for the really fancy ones. After you apply the sulfer and get your soil PH down to a reasonable range (most fruits & veggies like a slightly acid soil, 6-6.5), you will need to check the PH a few times and year and possible reapply the sulfer as needed.

SEXYWANTOBE's Photo SEXYWANTOBE Posts: 170
1/5/13 9:51 P

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I used compost last year and I got some tomatoes. emoticon The problem is my garden is big and I can't come up with that much compost. I think the only reason I have gotten anything is because of all the compost I use. I use chicken poop, straw, alflafa, goat poop, wood chips,& leaves. I will check out the site. Thanks a bunch.

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ANCHEN2's Photo ANCHEN2 Posts: 69
1/5/13 7:02 P

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I've never tried to use sulphur, but I think it takes a while to work. As in months.
Check www.organicgardeningguru.com/soil-ca
re
.html
for info.

Depending on how big your garden is, good compost might be a better bet, if you have, or can get, the amount you need.

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SEXYWANTOBE's Photo SEXYWANTOBE Posts: 170
1/5/13 6:34 P

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I need to acidify my garden. I tested the soil and it is an eight. I was very disappointed, emoticon but now I can get this fixed. I feel so stupid that it took me this long to figure out that this was the problem. emoticon I know that sulfur is ok to use in organic gardening so my question is has anyone used it? If so how much to use, and where did you get it?

Edited by: SEXYWANTOBE at: 1/5/2013 (18:36)
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