When the pH of the soil decreases, it may damage the health of plants. A substance that has calcium and/or magnesium in it is used to raise the pH of soil. The most popular way to raise the pH of soil is to add something that has lime in it, but baking soda or eggshells are also good options.
It is important to measure pH because plants need the right pH to absorb nutrients and grow. This is an important part of keeping a yard healthy. A pH level between 6.0 and 7.5 is good for most plants, but you should check the specific plant’s pH needs before you start growing it.
To grow plants successfully, you need to know what the pH levels of the soil are and if you need to make any changes. There are many common compounds that can be added to soil to change its pH. Once the pH is right, plants should be healthy and produce food.
The main thing that affects the pH value of soil is the stuff that it is made from. Most of the time, soils formed from basic or alkaline rocks have a higher pH value than soils formed from acidic rocks.
When it rains, water moves through the soil and changes its pH. Usually, this makes the soil more acidic because acidic elements replace alkaline nutrients like calcium and magnesium that are washed away.
Soil can become more acidic when ammonia or urea from fertilizers is added to it or when organic matter breaks down.
Baking soda is cheap because you can buy it in bulk and it works almost right away; if you use it correctly, you can see changes in the pH of the soil in less than 24 hours.
By adding baking soda to the soil to make it more alkaline, you will never hurt it or the plants that are growing in it. Other chemicals are much rougher on soil than baking soda. It can be used even while plants are growing.
You can buy stronger liming agents that will change the pH for a longer time, but they might cost more than baking soda.
Now that you know the pH of the soil, check to see if it really is too low for the plants you want to grow. Do nothing if the pH is in the right range.
If not, here are two things you can add to the soil before planting to raise the pH:
Calcitic lime, which is sold as yard lime or limestone, is the most common way to make soils less acidic. It is ground limestone that comes in pulverized, granular, pelletized, and hydrated forms.
Lime changes the pH of the earth more quickly when the particles are smaller. Pulverized lime works the fastest, but it can get clogged more often than granular or pelletized lime.
Hydrated lime quickly raises the pH and can be used at any time during the growing season. However, it is very reactive and should be handled with extra care because it can irritate the eyes, skin, lungs, and digestive systems.
For lime to work, it needs to be worked into the ground well and mixed with water.3 How much you use varies on the soil’s texture and the pH you want to reach. To get the same pH rise, heavy clay soils need more lime than soils that are high in organic matter and low in clay.
Calcium is the only mineral in calicitic lime. Dolomitic lime has a lot more magnesium, which is a micronutrient. The two materials are not different, though, in how well they reduce acidity in the soil. Most of the time, dolomitic lime is sold in the form of pellets.
To plant a food garden in the spring, the soil should be worked over in the fall or winter. On the other hand, you can add dolomitic lime in the early spring, late spring, and fall to established plants.
For example, you can raise the pH of the soil to turn blue hydrangeas pink.
The same goes for putting lime on your yard. Adding lime in the summer is not a good idea unless you live somewhere that has wet summers. Lime needs water to respond, and the pH of the soil needs time to change.
What kind of rocks are in a place affects whether the soil is acidic or alkaline. Soil that is acidic is made up of granite rock, while soil that is alkaline is made up of shale or limestone.
Over time, strong rain that falls often washes away the soil’s alkaline parts, leaving it more acidic. In dry places where it doesn’t rain much, these alkaline elements stay in the soil, making it more alkaline.
Leaves and pine needles from many deciduous trees, along with other organic matter that is breaking down, can also change the pH of the soil and make it more acidic.
Changing the pH of your soil might sound scary and like something only scientists can do. But it’s not hard to raise the pH of your soil, and you can do it with easy, natural soil amendments.
Which soil additive you use in your garden will depend on how much room you have, how much time you have, and what you can easily get. If you have a hearth, wood ash might work.
If you live near the water, oyster shells might be a better choice. No matter what amendment you choose, make sure you follow the directions on the package to change the pH of your soil and grow better plants.
People know that hydrangeas have flowers that change color depending on the pH of the soil. Flowers that grow in acidic soil are blue, while flowers that grow in alkaline soil are pink or even red. The pH of your soil needs to be above 7.0 for your hydrangea flowers to turn pink.
The plants you choose to grow may affect how acidic or alkaline your soil should be. As a general rule, most yard plants do best in soil that has a pH level between 6.5 and 7.0.
The pH level affects how well plants can take in nutrients. If the pH of the soil isn’t balanced, it can show signs of nutrient deficiency like grass or leaves turning yellow, growth being slowed down, leaf veining being obvious, and bad harvests.
Yes, you can use simple test kits or soil tools to find out what the pH level of your soil is at home. For more exact results, though, you should send a sample of soil to the cooperative extension office in your area. These offices can not only give you accurate soil test results, but they can also tell you which soil additives are best and how much to use of each.
What happens if the soil is too alkaline?
If the soil is too alkaline, your plant might not be able to receive nutrients properly. The plant may show signs of a nutrient deficiency, like yellow leaves, slow growth, and lower harvest outputs.
Is acidic or alkaline soil better?
If you want to grow certain plants, you may need to change the pH of your soil. Most plants do best in neutral or slightly acidic soil, but this can change for each type of plant.