What is pH??
Updated: Jan 29, 2022
pH is a measure of how acidic/alkali water or soil is. The figures range from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. pH of less than 7 indicates acidity, whereas a pH of greater than 7 indicates alkali. pH is really a measure of the relative amount of free hydrogen and hydroxyl ions in the water/soil.
Why is it important for plants??
pH can affect a plant's ability to absorb vital nutrients from the soil. If pH is too acidic or alkaline, this can stunt or retard root growth and consequently, restrict water and nutrient uptake. Additionally, if the pH is extreme, it makes major plant nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) unavailable.
Great! Now, what do I need to take from this?
•Plant nutrients are generally most available to plants in the pH range 5.5 to 6.5
•Garden crops will do well within a soil pH of 6.2 to 6.8 = slightly acidic.
•Have your soil pH tested every 3 years (local cooperative extension office)
What if my Soil pH is off??
•Dolomitic Limestone - adds calcium and magnesium while also raising soil pH
•Wood Ash - contains potash, phosphate, boron, and other elements and raises soil pH •Agriculture Sulfur - used to acidify or lower soil pH.
•Aluminum Sulfate - used to acidify or lower (will change pH instantly as it dissolves)
•it influences several soil factors affecting plant growth, such as (1) soil bacteria, (2) nutrient leaching, (3) nutrient availability, (4) toxic elements, and (5) soil structure.
•Bacterial activity that releases nitrogen from organic matter and certain fertilizers are particularly affected by soil pH, because bacteria operate best in the pH range of 5.5 to 7.0. •Plant nutrients leach out of soils with a pH below 5.0 much more rapidly than from soils with values between 5.0 and 7.5