Acidifiers for Blueberries & Forcing Side Branches On Dracaena Marginata.

Question:

 I'm growing Blueberries, and they require an acid soil. It has been recommended that I lower my soil acidity. Aluminum Sulphate and Soil Sulphur are recommended to two low soil pH. So, what if any are the differences between them?

Answer:

  • Aluminum Sulphate and Soil Sulphur are both acidifiers. They are a long time, old school solutions used for making alkaline soil acid. Depending on the date of the publication, your reading, one or the other is usually recommended.
  • Soil Sulphur is applied in the late fall and winter months, while Aluminum Sulphate can be used during the growing season.
    • Aluminum Sulphate is the active ingredient in two other acidifiers, True Blue or GreenAll pH adjuster. These products are easier to apply, as the instructions are written for the home garden. Azaleas, Camellias, Rhododendrons along with Blueberries all benefit from acid soil.
    • Another use of Aluminum Sulphate is it turns pink and white Hydrangeas blue. The ideal pH for most plants is between 6.5-7.5. A pH test is run on a soil sample taken from several inches below the soil surface. A simple pH test is necessary to determine the correct amount required to apply and is available at most garden centers.

Question:

I have inherited a tall and lanky Dracaena Marginata. If I were to remove the top three feet, would it develop side branches? If so, when would be the best time to do this? 

Answer:

  • Dracaena Marginata will develop side shoots if you're to remove a section of the main or central leader. Many times the side shoots grow naturally.
  • You might consider saving the cast-off section and develop a new plant from it. It's not that difficult. All you need to do is dip the cut end in a rooting hormone powder, available at your favorite garden center. It's then placed in potting soil about six to eight inches deep.
    • The rooting process takes several months. When rooted, you'll have a mature plant. Another technique gardeners will use is to root the section while it is still attached to the main stem.
    • This is called Air Layering. You select a two to three-inch-wide area on the main stem, score it with a knife, wrap it in moist sphagnum moss and cover the area with aluminum foil. In about six to eight weeks, the new roots should have formed.
      • The section is then cut off below were the roots are forming and planted. The remaining plant could be tossed away, or you can wait for the new growth to develop.
    •  Any of these plant propagation techniques can be done at any time of the year.
    • If you're impatient and can't wait, you transplant the existing plant into a larger container with additional new plants.
      • It is very common to have multiple plants in the same container. The original plant becomes instantly full by selecting two to three plants of varying heights to fill in the void. The new plants could be other complementary varieties rather than Dracaena marginata. It's really an individual choice.
      • The lanky appearance is resolved as soon as the transplanting is completed.