Best Way to Manage Soil pH Levels

soil pH

As you start to think about spring planting for your backyard gardens and front flowerbeds, consider the quality of your soil. When the pH balance of your soil is off, your plants and flowers suffer; so it pays to evaluate the soil pH before you start investing in new plants. Discover the best way to manage soil pH levels in your yard and garden.

Understanding Soil pH

Soil pH gauges the level of acidity or alkalinity of the earth in a specific area. If the soil is too alkaline, or “sweet,” it contains heavier amounts of various minerals and is deficit in other substances, like phosphorus, which plants need to thrive. On the other hand, overly acidic soil impedes the plants’ ability to absorb certain nutrients. 

Your soil pH is affected primarily by your local climate. Areas that receive heavy rainfall often have acidic soil, while dry regions typically suffer from overly alkaline soil. For healthy plants, you need neutral or slightly acidic soil.

Testing Soil pH

You can test soil pH easily, by purchasing an inexpensive test kit and performing the examination yourself on a soil sample. The kit will tell you if the soil is neutral, acid, or alkaline. You can also have a landscaping expert come to your home or business and test the quality of your soil.

Installing the Right Plants

Once you know the tendency of your soil, whether acid or alkaline, you can introduce plant life that is more adaptable to that soil type. For instance, linden trees thrive in soil with an alkaline bent, while blueberry bushes appreciate acid soil.

Applying Lime

If you really want to alter the pH of your soil, you can purchase different types of amendments. For low pH soil, try applying some powdered or ground lime to slowly improve the earth’s quality. Don’t overdo the application; the key here is to gradually, naturally increase the pH level.

Adding Sulfur

If your soil pH is too high, purchase some ferrous sulfate, regular sulfur, or aluminum sulfate. Ferrous sulfate is particularly helpful because its iron content can boost the health of plants suffering the effects of unbalanced soil.

Using Organic Amendments

Many landscapers and gardeners recommend using organic amendments to ensure optimal pH levels. Using compost or manure can ensure that necessary balance.

Bringing fresh organic matter into your garden or yard re-introduces microbial life that may have been killed off by the inhospitable soil. Remember, you won’t see the effects immediately, especially if your soil is dramatically acid or alkaline. Treat the earth with organic matter regularly, to slowly improve the soil’s structure and improve plant health.

Introducing Fresh Soil

Another way to improve the pH balance of your soil is to introduce significant amounts of new, well-balanced soil. Kurtz Bros., Inc. provides a broad array of soil varieties, from potting mixes to rich loam that is sure to perk up your lawn and garden beds. Explore the soil options online, or call Kurtz Bros., Inc. to speak with a landscaping expert and receive professional recommendations for amending your soil.