HOW TO MEASURE SOIL pH
Correcting Soil pH takes time and will have to be repeated periodically. It is easier to keep on top of this if you will purchase a “pH Soil Analyzer.” They are definitely worth the money.
In a pinch, you can “guesstimate” the pH of your soil by noting the types of plants and trees that are already growing well on your property. The pH requirements of those plants will give you a clue.
CORRECTING THE pH OF YOUR SOIL
Altering the Soil pH could take a few months. If you use organic methods, it could take a couple of years. To alter Soil pH use:
- Elemental Sulphur, which is sometimes called Soil Sulphur, added to the soil will lower the pH. This is the fastest way to correct soil that is too alkaline. Do NOT use Aluminum Sulfate. It can be toxic.
- Dolomite Lime can be used to raise pH.
USING ORGANIC METHODS
Many years ago, when people couldn’t afford the more expensive products, they had to “make do” with what are now called organic methods. The following were frequently used in place of sulphur and lime.
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TO LOWER SOIL pH, TRY:
- Canadian sphagnum peat (moss)
- Pine needles
- Oak leaves
- Coffee grounds or cold coffee diluted 50/50 with water
TO RAISE SOIL pH, TRY:
- Bone meal
- Dried, crushed eggshells (They will also increase calcium.)
- Wood ashes
- Baking soda
RELATED ARTICLE: CHOOSING THE PERFECT FRUIT TREE
TREES AND PLANTS NEED DIFFERENT “DIETS”
There is strong disagreement on the Soil pH requirements for just about every fruit tree, berry bush, or grape vine that you could mention. This applies both to the opinions of home gardeners and professional gardening authorities.
As a “happy medium” if your soil stays somewhere around 6.0, that seems to satisfy most fruit bearing plants and trees. The one exception is the Blueberry, which is happiest at between 4.0 and 5.5.
Generally, the preferred Soil pH levels for the following trees are:
- Apple 5.5 to 6.5
- Cherry 6.0 to 7.0
- Peach 6.0 to 7.0
- Pear 6.0 to 7.5
- Plum 6.0 to 7.5
Vegetables and Herbs vary in their pH requirements. Anything between 5.5 and 7.5 Soil pH is good.
“MELLOWING” WITH AGE
Plants and trees tend to be fussy about Soil pH when they are young. As they become well established, they become less so. Some gardeners tell me they haven’t messed with Soil pH in years, and their plants and trees don’t seem to mind.
Once your plants and trees receive the right “diet,” they will reward you with an abundant harvest. So, let’s “Get Those Hands Dirty!”
HAPPY PLANTING! Susan
For more in-depth information on GROWING YOUR OWN FRUIT