Blueberries-Home Garden (Code #098)
Soil Test RatingPotassium

Low K

Coast: 0-70 lbs/A

Pied: 0-70 lbs/A

Medium K

Coast: 71-120 lbs/A

Pied: 71-150 lbs/A

High K

Coast: 121-275 lbs/A

Pied: 151-275 lbs/A

Very High K

Coast: 275+ lbs/A

Pied: 275+ lbs/A

PhosphorusSee Comments

Low P

Coast: 0-30 lbs/A

Pied: 0-20 lbs/A


Medium P

Coast: 31-60 lbs/A

Pied: 21-40 lbs/A


High P

Coast: 61-100 lbs/A

Pied: 41-75 lbs/A


Very High P

Coast: 100+ lbs/A

Pied: 75+ lbs/A


Coast = Coastal Plain    Pied = Piedmont, Mountain, and Limestone Valley


Recommended pH:Coastal Plain: 4.0 to 5.0
Piedmont: 4.2 to 5.2

If soil test Mg level is low and lime is recommended, use dolomitic limestone; if soil test Mg is low and lime is not recommended, apply 3 ounces magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) per plant.

Coastal PlainLow: 0 - 60 lbs/acre Medium: 61 - 120 lbs/acre High: >120 lbs/acre
Piedmont Low: 0 - 120 lbs/acre Medium: 121 - 240 lbs/acre High: >240 lbs/acre
Sulfur:If soil pH is greater than 5.3, sulfur will be recommended to decrease soil pH to the sufficient range. If sulfur is applied prior to planting, apply the recommended amount at least six months before planting and mix it into the soil thoroughly to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. If sulfur is recommended for an established crop, apply broadcast no more than 300 pounds of sulfur per acre. Do not apply sulfur when the foliage is wet.
Important:Read comments on Fact Sheet when preparing fertilizer recommendations.



These recommendations are for rabbiteye blueberries. For southern highbush and highbush, see Commercial Southern Highbush Recommendations (Code #133).

If the soil test calcium (Ca) level exceeds 900 pounds per acre or if the soil test phosphorus level is greater than 200 pounds per acre the site is not well suited for blueberries. Try to find a better site.

If soil organic matter is less than 2%, use liberal quantities of peat moss or pine bark mixed with the soil when planting. Following planting mulch heavily with pine bark, rotted sawdust, or pine straw if practical.

Plant the blueberry bush the same depth it grew in the nursery and spread the roots apart if pot bound.

After the plant has been settled by rain, apply 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) 10-10-10 or 12-4-8 or 4 level tablespoons (2 ounces) of azalea special fertilizer (4-8-8) evenly over a circle of 18-inch diameter centered on the plant. Refertilize at the same rate in May and July if rainfall or overhead irrigation has been adequate (at least 4 inches since the previous fertilization). Blueberries are sensitive to excess fertilizer salts. Do not pile fertilizer at base of the plant. In March and July of the second year apply 2 ounces 10-10-10 or 12-4-8 or 4 ounces 4-8-8 evenly over a circle of 2-foot diameter centered on the plant. In later years each bush should receive 1 ounce 10-10-10 or 12-4-8 or 2 ounces 4-8-8 per foot of bush height to a maximum of 6 ounces per application for 10-10-10 or 12-4-8 and 12 ounces per application for 4-8-8. Increase the area the fertilizer is broadcast over also. If both phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) soil test levels are high or very high, ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) can be used at 1/2 the rate of 10-10-10 or 46-0-0 at 1/4 the rate of 10-10-10. Avoid use of nitrate nitrogen (sodium nitrate, calcium nitrate, etc.) on blueberries.

Soils vary in their natural ability to supply the plant available forms of nitrogen (N). The N fertilizer recommendations given here are based on soils with 1 to 2% organic matter (OM). Soils with higher OM (4 to 6% OM) generally supply more N; therefore, less N fertilizer is needed on high OM soils. Likewise, be aware of conditions that may increase the need for additional N. On new plantings to which pine bark has been added (especially pine bark with white wood), additional N fertilizer may be needed to overcome N tie-up by bacteria. Sufficient nitrogen should be applied to grow good lateral fruit wood 5 to 8 inches in length. However, do not add too much nitrogen because it may lead to growth of highly succulent shoots that are susceptible to Botryosphaeria stem blight. In general, N should not be applied after early September in South Georgia or mid-August in North Georgia. Nitrogen fertilizer is used more efficiently if added through drip irrigation systems; therefore, recommended N rates may be reduced by about 20%. Because of these many complex factors, we recommend plant tissue analysis and grower observations as the most reliable guide for adjusting the rate of N fertilizer to apply. For more information on plant analysis, go to