How do I raise or lower soil ph?

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What’s the best method to raise or lower soil ph ?

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  • Fiddledd224 Fiddledd224 on Nov 18, 2018

    The only way to tell if your garden soil pH needs to be adjusted is to get a soil test. These are available in the U.S. from the Extension Service of your state’s land-grant university. Here’s a link to determine where to go. There are also a number of independent soil testing laboratories. In Canada, check with your local agriculture office. A garden pH test is not expensive and should be performed every four or five years.

    1. Acidic soils are amended with lime to raise the soil pH and make the soil less acidic. The exact amount of lime necessary to properly adjust pH can only be determined by a soil test. Do be aware, however, that not all liming materials are equal. Look to your soil test results to determine if you need calcitic lime or dolomitic lime.

    Calcitic lime is mined from natural limestone deposits and crushed to a fine powder. It is also called aglime or agricultural lime and supplies calcium to your soil as it adjusts the pH.

    Dolomitic lime is derived in a similar manner but from limestone sources that contain both calcium and magnesium.

    If your soil test comes back showing high levels of magnesium, use calcitic lime. If the test shows a magnesium deficiency, then use dolomitic limestone. Pelletized forms are easier to use and allow for more uniform coverage, and the application rate for pelletized lime is lower than for crushed. A 1:10 ratio is the rule of thumb. Meaning you need ten times less pelletized lime than crushed agricultural lime to garner the same pH change. So, if your soil test recommends adding 100 lbs of crushed agricultural lime, you can add 10 lbs of pelletized as an alternative.

    2. If you’re growing acid-loving plants, such as evergreens, blueberries, rhododendrons, and azaleas, you may need to lower the soil pH into the acidic range. If this is necessary, turn to elemental sulfur or aluminum sulfate.

    Elemental sulfur is applied to the garden and is eventually oxidized by soil microbes. It takes a few months to adjust pH. Working it into the soil will yield better results than adding it to the surface because it is more rapidly processed when it’s mixed into the soil. Spring applications are generally the most effective. Elemental sulfur is often found in pelletized form, and while it may take some time to work, it is far less likely to burn plants than aluminum sulfate products.

    Aluminum sulfate reacts quickly with the soil and makes a rapid soil pH change, but there is an increased potential to burn plant roots.

  • Kelli L. Milligan Kelli L. Milligan on Nov 18, 2018

    I go to my local nursery and buy what they tell me. Sorry.

  • Absolutely get a free soil test, and garden lime is helpful in lowering the acidity of the soil. It can be easily found at your local garden center. Good luck!

  • test you soil, then it will determine if you need to raise or lower for that the type of plant that needs it. different additives will help - local plant places will have the best solutions for you area