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Increasing soil acidity from home/garden waste?

My blueberries love acidic soil and I've always relied on ericaceous compost. But I was wondering if I can get the same effect from typical things we throw away... I know people find use for coffee grounds, egg shells, ash, etc. And I have a lot of leaves, wood chippings, etc.

Any tips?
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  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 4,009
    I believe egg shells and wood ash will have the opposite effect and raise the ph.

    Composted oak and beech leaves, pine needles, chipped pine bark and coffee grounds are all acidic and can help, but it depends on the composition and ph of your underlying soil as to whether it will have a tangible effect and even if it does, the effect will be temporary. 

    My soil is extremely alkaline clay which neutralises anything put on it to acidify it, so at best I can reduce the PH a bit by adding an annual mulch of ericaceous compost and using oak leaf mould (I have oak forest so a good supply of leaves). I looked into creating my own ericaceous compost because of the expense of the readymade.  I concluded I needed to start with bought ericaceous compost, which I mixed with oak leaf mould for my raised soft fruit bed. I plan to mulch annually with acidic stuff. 

    If your blueberries are in pots or raised beds in existing ericaceous material then they would similarly benefit from an acidic mulch, but just adding acid material to an existing alkaline soil wont give you the level of acidity blueberries need.

  • debs64debs64 West Midlands, on the edge of the Black Country Posts: 3,055
    Just to clarify adding pine needles to a pot with a camellia in would be beneficial?? 
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 4,009
    Yes, although personally I wouldn’t use it fresh. I have just had a huge pine felled and chipped the smaller branches and the long needles. They are in a big builders bag and I have watered it and will let it rot down a bit then use it in the autumn. 
  • debs64debs64 West Midlands, on the edge of the Black Country Posts: 3,055
    Thank you Nollie. Paid £20 for a gorgeous red camellia want to help it any way I can 
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 26,544
    IMHO a " layer " of pine needles will do nothing to alter the pH of the compost in a pot . Mulching ground with several inches every year might,in time,  but I can't see a layer on top of a pot doing much. 
    I might well be wrong.
    Devon.
  • debs64debs64 West Midlands, on the edge of the Black Country Posts: 3,055
    Hosta I was planning to mix some in with the compost when I plant it, had to wait as I didn’t have any ericaceous cimpost. 
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,825
    IMO, it’s never a good idea trying to change the soil you already have,  grow things that suit your soil,  work with what you have,  anything else, grow in pots with the correct compost. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • debs64debs64 West Midlands, on the edge of the Black Country Posts: 3,055
    I agree, That’s why it’s going in a pot. Just wanted to give it a helping hand 
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,825
     Best is to buy a good quality ericaceous compost.
    I was answering the OP rather than you Debs, I know you’ve got it sussed🙂. He wants to change his garden soil levels. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 8,832
    For long term pot planting, remember to use ericaceous with added JI., rather than just ericaceous MPC.
    Walk out to winter, swear I'll be there.
    Chill will wake you, high and dry
    You'll wonder why.
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