How to improve soil ph for better production
Soil pH refers to the alkalinity or acidity of the soil. It’s a measure of how nutrients can survive and thrive in a particular type of soil. The pH values start from 0 and go all the way to 14. Seven is considered the middle pH and refers to neutral soil.
A Soil PH value of less than seven is acidic, while soil with a PH value of more than 7 is alkaline. Soil pH value is one of the many environmental factors that influence the quality of plant survival. That is because it directly affects the availability of nutrients and how they are synthesized in the soil. Some plants do better in acidic soils, while others do better in alkaline soils, but most plants do best in a PH value that is close to neutral.
Here is how you can improve the PH value of your soil:
Use Baking Soda
Applying baking soda to your soil is one of the most affordable, quickest, and easiest methods to increase soil’s PH value. Most people have baking soda at home, making it easier to apply it to the soil.
Baking soda is affordable because you can find it in stores. To see how effective baking soda, you can do an experiment by putting soil with plants on a table as big as an air hockey table and put baking soda on then observe for several weeks. It is also a good choice since it produces instant results. Farmers had reported their soil pH changing in less than 24 hours from when they applied baking soda to their soil. Furthermore, baking soda is a good choice because it does not harm or hinder plants’ growth.
Some people prefer using organic compounds to improve the pH of their soil. Wood ash is one of the compounds that can make your soil more alkaline. All you have to do is sprinkle a few drops of wood ash on the soil. However, this method should be carefully done because it can oversaturate the soil and alkaline it.
The best way to apply wood ash is to introduce it slowly and early on. Many farmers prefer to introduce wood hash before planting and then applying small doses over a long time. Just get a few spoonfuls of wood ash from the fireplace and apply it to your soil.
Oyster Shell Lime
Oyster shell lime is an organic compound consisting of oyster shells. It is mostly derived from the aquatic industry. Oyster shell lime is a good pH adjustor because it is composed of about 40% calcium. It is this calcium that rectifies compound deficiencies and makes the soil more alkaline.
Oyster-shell lime decomposes very fast and is a safe choice for plant health. On top of that, it does not affect human health, unlike other soil pH components. Experts advise that you should apply about three tablespoons of the lime for every 1000 square feet. However, you should conduct a soil analysis and establish crop PH requirements before introducing the oyster shell lime.
Sulfur is the best way to increase soil acidity. It takes some time to change the soil pH, so it should be applied at least one year before you start planting. The good thing with sulfur is that it can stay in the soil for many years and do a great job making the soil more acidic.
The best time to apply sulfur is in the summer or early fall. This is the time when it’s ideal for digging deep into the soil. At the same time, you shouldn’t add sulfur to soil that is supporting existing plants. Just like you handle any soil supplement, you must conduct soil analysis before applying any sulfur.
Iron sulfate works the same way as sulfur. However, you must add it in large amounts to produce the desired pH. Iron sulfate is a good soil additive because it can also address the issue of iron deficiency. And unlike sulfur, iron sulfate produces results in a shorter time. That means you can add it a month before you plant your crops. You should be careful because, in large quantities, iron sulfur can damage your plants.
Most plants require neutral or alkaline soils to thrive. This means that most acid-loving plants are usually located among alkaline loving plants. The acid-loving plants may encounter pH problems when getting nutrients from the soil. To remedy this situation, farmers use acid fertilizers to reduce soil pH. This is a very complicated process that requires trial and error before you can get the right products.
Aluminum sulfate has been the most common soil pH additive. It is used in blueberry farms because it’s easier and quicker to introduce into the soil than other fertilizers. In recent times, farmers have raised concerns about the high toxicity level of aluminum sulfate.
The high toxicity level can be dangerous to children’s health. It can also destroy underground water supplies and contaminate drinking water. Therefore, you should use aluminum sulfate in extreme cases only.
If you are worried about the adverse effects of aluminum sulfate, then you should try ammonium sulfate. It has the same convenience as aluminum sulfate, but it does not destroy underground water reservoirs. Nevertheless, you should add it with care because it can burn plants and make the soil too acidic.
Growing plants successfully is a daunting process. You must choose the correct plant variety and add a plethora of minerals. But the soil pH is one of the most important things you must take into consideration. These tips will help you adjust your soil pH to suit the type of plants you want to grow.