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