Soil PH

Adjusting our Garden Soil for our Plants to Survive

What is soil ph and how does it relate to plant life?

Without a balanced soil ph, it would be impossible for plants to survive because soil ph greatly affects plant life.

Garden soil

All ph simply means is a percentage of hydrogen. There is alkaline soil and there are acidic soils. Both of these soil types affect plant growth and plant life.

Different types of plants require different soil types. Some plants love acidic soil while other plants prefer alkaline soil and still there are some that prefer more neutral soil.

So when you are preparing to plant a garden it is best to get a soil ph test done to determine what soil type you have, this is one of the factors that will determine if you have a successful garden or not.

Or you may have an existing garden and want to add more plants, make sure however that before you purchase that plant you find out the needs or the requirements of that plant including what type of soil is best.

In order to find out your soil ph, you must gather several soil samples from the planting site, place in a plastic bag, and send it to the lab to be tested or you can buy a soil ph kit it comes with the instruction on how to test your soil ph.

Soil Ph Scale

Hibiscus plants

Soil ph is measured on a scale from 1-14, any number below 7 means that the soil ph is acidic. Any number, above 7 means that the soil is alkaline, and if the number measures at exactly 7 0n the scale, that means the soil is neutral.

Most plants grow pests in a ph range of 5.5-6.5. Well, drained sandy soils, low pine flat woods, and organic soils are frequently acidic in Florida.

Also note that many pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and liquid forms of fertilizers perform best with a ph of 5.5-8. Test your water as well as your soil.

Soil Ph should always be tested before adding soil amendments.

Pull background covers, mulches, and grass to expose the soil in order to get a proper soil sample. A soil ph test will also let you know the nutritional status of your soil.

How to adjust soil PH

In order to raise your soil ph, materials such as dolomite, crushed agriculture limestone, or hydrated lime should be used. Be very careful when using hydrated lime because it can burn plants.

Lime must be incorporated within the top six inches of the soil. Ph adjustment with lime must be done prior to planting. Be mindful and follow directions remember that the label is the law.

Lowering soil PH

If after you have tested your soil, the results show where the ph must be lowered, the material you would use is Sulfur. Super-fine wettable or dusting sulfur will help you to accomplish this.

The amount of sulfur applied should not exceed 1 pound per 100 square feet at any one application.

If sulfur is being applied around living plants, the same amount should be applied. Two separate applications should be made 60 days apart.

Iron sulfate can also be added to lower soil ph. The recommended rate for iron sulfate is 1 lb per 100 square feet, and it may be necessary to reapply in 60 days.

Soil PH

Soil nutrients

I want to make a note here also that plant nutrient which is present in the soil are also affected by soil ph. If soil ph is not adjusted to meet that plant’s requirements even though that plant may be surrounded by an abundance of nutrients, the plant can still suffer from a lack of nutrients because soil ph affects the number of nutrients available to plants. In other words, the nutrients will be in an insoluble form or locked up.

The solubility of these nutrients is only made available as the soil ph is adjusted. So from this, we can see how soil ph plays a big part in plant growth and development.

Adjusting PH in Soil-less mixes

When seeking to adjust nursery-grown plants, most foliage and woody crops would tolerate a ph range from 4.5 – 6.5. For foliage crops, it would be anywhere from 5.o – 6.5.

Low ph levels can be raised in potting media by adding lime materials such as dolomite or calcium carbonate.

High levels are lowered by adding sulfur.

In sandy potting media small amounts of lime or sulfur are needed while larger amounts are needed to affect the ph of peat.

The final word

A natural way to adjust soil ph is by adding organic matter such as mulches. As mulch breaks down it not only adds nutrients to the soil but can also help in the adjusting of soil ph.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

4 thoughts on “Soil PH”

  1. Hello, thanks for providing information about soil pH.
    I see that there is a real science about it.
    We need to know it, because soil pH is a measurement for alkalinity or acidity in the soil.
    It can depend on many factors such as climate, rainfall, consistency of soil, minerals in it and so on.
    If we want to have nice looking plants, we must to know, which plants want which type of soil.
    It is a reason why we need to know soil’s pH.
    I see that you offer many solutions for choosing a right soil and plants.
    Your visitors will find here a lot information for their gardening needs.
    All the best, Nemira.

  2. Hi! You have a beautiful website. The pictures are colorful and it’s easy to read although there are a few grammatical errors. I will definitely be using your website in the future to help with my gardening. Do you recommend any specific products to take care of the soil ph? Are there any that you liked better than others?

    • Good morning Mary thanks for the follow, and hope all is well with you. My website is still under construction, So as i speak to you i am going back over my website and making the needed corrections. And as for your soil ph you need to get it tested fist to see if it needs to be raise or lowered. You can buy a soil ph kit or you can take some samples from your garden are and have it sent to a lab, If you want to raise you soil ph you would use dolomite, crushed agriculture limestone or hydrated lime

      And if the soil needs to be lowered you would need to use, super-fined wettable or dusting sulfur. I also have a section on my website that goes into more details that talks about soil ph. Hopes this helps, and thanks again.


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