Preparing Blueberry, Hydrangea and Other Plants for Fall

Want to know how to help your acid-loving plants get bundled up for winter? Acid loving plants, shrubs, and trees such as blueberries, azaleas, camellias, ferns, fuchsias, hydrangeas, gardenias, rhododendrons, maples, and conifers all like a nice organic acid-based soil mix in the fall. Top dressing your garden with the right organic soil mix such as Kellogg Garden Organics Shade Mix For Acid Loving Plants, means your plants will have more success surviving winter.

How to Top Dress Blueberries

In general, top dressing means adding a thin layer of soil or organic material such as manure over your turf grass to help perk up your lawn. However, I’m suggesting that a top dressing is also good for your vegetable or perennial gardens as well as adding a special top dressing to your acid-loving garden family.

When I first moved to my little suburban garden, my soil was hard-packed like cement. While my soil is dark Illinois prairie soil, it also has a heavy clay content. This meant lots of broken shovels, sore backs, and sweat-filled dig sessions. Digging in my soil was like wrestling a large bear every week. In order to improve the digging situation, I needed to first change the soil content. I did this by adding more organic content to the soil. Every season I would top dress the gardens in spring and in fall with natural organic soil mix amendments until eventually the soil was transformed into a loose friable foundation which truly helped the plants explode out of the soil with vigor in the spring. You can do this easily with the Kellogg Garden Organics line of organic soil mixes.


Kellogg Garden Organics

Shade Mix

**Product only available in AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT.

How to Top Dress in the Fall

Steps to Help Loosen Your Garden Soil with Top Dressing

  1. Have your soil tested to see what the acidity content is where your plants are growing.
  2. Add top-dressing and other amendments to the soil based on your soil tests and the plant’s needs – add what your soil is lacking in order to create a better environment for the plants you are growing.
  3. Once you have a baseline understanding of your soil content, work annually to contribute healthy organic amendments to your garden beds such as organic soil, soil mix, mulch, and compost.

My blueberries, Bushel and Berry Jelly Bean®, Bushel and Berry Peach Sorbet®, and Bushel and Berry Pink Icing®, all did remarkably well this season (seen in photos). I planted the berries early in the spring with an organic soil, then I had to add peat moss in order to acidify it. Using the Kellogg Garden Organics Shade Mix to your soil is a better acidic soil mix amendment because each bag of Kellogg Garden Organics Shade Mix For Acid Loving Plants contains 2 ½ cubic feet of Canadian sphagnum peat moss, bark fines, hydrolyzed feather meal, and dehydrated poultry manure (see photo above). This spectacular combination means you don’t have to mix your own custom soil mix combination up – it’s already in the bag. It helps all types of acid-loving plants in your garden get a little soil mix power boost while functioning as a winter cover.

How to Top Dress Acid Loving Plants

How to Top Dress the Acid-Loving Garden

  1. Weed – Weed the garden in fall and pull out any debris or annual plants that have died off.
  2. Trim – Trim any deadwood from your shrubs or plants.
  3. Mulch – Without digging into ground soil, layer approximately 2 inches of the recommended soil mix around your acid-loving plants, leaving a small space around trunk bases or stems so that the plant does not become smothered.

Top dressing blueberries and other acid-loving garden plants in the fall is wonderfully easy using the Kellogg Garden Organics Shade Mix For Acid Loving Plants. Happy Gardening!

Share The Garden Love

Collage of blueberry planters and soil with text, "How to Top dress blueberries for fall"
Blueberry plant with text, "Acid loving planting and fall gardening. How to top dress blueberry plants"

Special thank you to Bushel and Berry for providing the blueberry shrubs in this post.

Shawna Coronado

Shawna Coronado is a successful author, blogger, photographer, and media host who focuses on wellness by teaching green lifestyle living, organic gardening, and anti-inflammatory culinary. Most recently Shawna has written the books, “Grow a Living Wall” and “101 Organic Gardening Hacks”. Shawna campaigns for social and community good – her garden, food, and eco-adventures have been featured in many media venues including television news programming, radio broadcasting, and PBS television. You can learn more about Shawna at

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