Proper Soil pH, Organic Matter Requirements and Terrain and Climatic ConsiderationsSelect a sunny location that is well drained, free of weeds and well worked. Locate in an area where irrigation water is available as best results will be obtained by keeping the root zone moist throughout the growing season.
Blueberries grow best in soils with pH of 4.5 to 5.0. Soils with a native pH above 5.5 will be hard to modify for blueberry culture and should be avoided. The pH of soils with low native pH that has been limed to achieve an artificially high pH may be lowered by adding sulfur. The sulfur should be incorporated into the soil at least six months before planting. See Suggestions for Soil Acidification in the fact sheet Growing Blueberries in the Home Garden by the Ohio State University Cooperative Extension Service (attached below). More information on soil pH also can be found in this publication, Soil pH and Fertilizers from the Mississippi State Universtiy Cooperative Extension Service.
Blueberries have a shallow, fibrous root system that grows best in a well-drained soil with high organic matter content. High soil organic matter will increase plant vigor and fruit production of blueberry plants. The addition of organic matter, such as pine bark, to the soil at planting will greatly increase the productivity of the blueberry planting.
Rabbiteye blueberry cultivars vary in their chilling requirements (hours below 45 degrees F), and these requirements must be considered when selecting cultivars for specific geographic regions. Generally, cultivars that require as few as 300 – 400 chilling hours may be grown in southern Mississippi, 31 degrees north latitude, with adequate frost protection, whereas cultivars having chilling hour requirements of 500 hours or more may be grown throughout the Southeast. Developing flower buds, blooms and fruit of lower chill, early-ripening rabbiteye blueberry cultivars are susceptible to late spring freeze injury and frequently require frost protection to prevent crop loss. Low-lying areas are unsuitable for blueberry production because cold air often settles into these areas and frost damage can occur during bloom and early fruit set, resulting in a reduced crop. Additionally, the soil is often poorly drained in these areas and blueberries will not grow well in excessively wet areas. Marginally wet areas can be modified for blueberry production by the formation of raised planting beds 8 inches to 12 inches high, and 3 feet to 4 feet wide.