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Rhubarb leaves as mulch for blueberries

Can I use rhubarb leaves as a mulch to increase the acidity around blueberry bushes?


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,083
    No - the oxalic acid would quickly be broken down.
    Composted bark chips may help if you can find them, or sulphur, but you'd need to re-apply.
    They're best grown in pots with ericaceous compost, azalea feed and rainwater if poss.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,194
    Yes - if your garden soil isn't acidic enough, you'll have to grow in pots.
    It isn't really possible to alter the soil pH for any length of time.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,069
    In my last garden I had fertile alkaline loam so I grew blueberries in pots until I came home from hols one summer and found our neighbour's teenage daughter had not believe my watering instructions and they had all gone crispy.   After copious watering every day for 2 weeks they recovered.

    I then dug a big hole, 70cms square and deep for each plant and filled it with ericaceous compost and then planted out my blueberries.  I watered them in using sequestered iron and then gave them a good thick mulch of chipped bark.   Lots of rain in Belgium so they did fine and I ended up putting a cage over them so I could get some of the fruits before the birds.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • nick615nick615 SW IrelandPosts: 1,108
    Would I be right in thinking fresh farmyard manure is acidic?  If so, it may help.
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 7,909
    edited 12 March
    You shouldn't use "fresh" farm yard manure on anything other than as an autumn mulch. It's far too acidic and will burn the plants
     Old stuff,yes,you can put round the base of blueberries.
  • Jenny_AsterJenny_Aster In the Cambs FensPosts: 527
    Nursery where I've just bought a blueberry plant says "Plant in fertile soil and regularly add manure for best results!"  I do think they mean mature manure (as @Nanny Beach says.)

    Another blueberry plant received from RHS had bark chippings on the top of the soil.
    Trying to be the person my dog thinks I am! 
  • My soil is very slightly acid and I have three bushes that have grown fine for a few years. I added ericaceous compost to the soil when I originally planted them but it needs topped up now. My rhubarb is growing next to the blueberries and I keep reading that the leaves contain oxalic acid so that is why I wondered if the leaves could be used as mulch directly rather than putting them in compost bin. Thanks for all your replies.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,194
    In that case - add some fresh compost each year @balgowniejane.
    They shouldn't need any more than that, although you could maybe shred up the rhubarb leaves and add those too if you wanted. I can't see it doing any harm  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • nick615nick615 SW IrelandPosts: 1,108
    Nanny Beach  Maybe veg is different?  I plastered a load all round my parsnips once they'd reached 6 inches high, i.e. they'd already headed downwards, and it did what I'd wanted.  It stifled all the weed growth while they matured.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,069
    Horse manure needs to be well-rotted before it goes near plants.

    In my last garden I had a huge rhubarb patch - shared with the neighbours across teh way who were on sandy soil and couldn't grow it despite having stables and masses of manure on tap.   Anyway, I would lay the leaves on the soil when I pulled stalks as I found they were a great slug trap.    I'd find loads hiding under them over the next few days.

    I can't imagine they'd be enough to alter soil acidity but they're great chopped up a bit and bunged on the compost heap.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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