There are a lot of misconceptions about soil pH that keep on popping up, and this fake information can hurt a lot of gardeners and farmers. To clear things up, we’ve listed four things that you need to know about soil pH.
But before we begin to discuss these four facts. Let’s first understand the basic concepts of soil pH. These simple concepts will help you understand the importance of knowing what soil pH is and how it can affect your plant’s growth throughout its life.
Basic knowledge of soil pH will go a long way. Understanding how it works will not only help you grow better and healthier crops. It will also help you make the right purchases when the pH level of your soil is not balanced.
Understanding Soil pH Level
Soil pH stands for the acidity level or the presence of alkalinity levels in the soil. Each patch or a lump of soil contains different levels of pH. This is because as time goes by, the natural erosion of soil mixes other compounds into the soil.
The natural or neutral level of soil pH is 7. The measurement of acidity of the soil is based on a scale of 0 to 14. And as the numbers go down, the acidity of the soil increases. The soil pH level changes depending on the environment and weather.
Depending on the type of plant, the pH level of the soil also varies. This is because each plant has a preferred pH level to grow properly. And when the soils pH level is out of range, the plant will slowly decay over time.
Four things that you need to know about soil pH
Now that you have a general idea of what soil pH is. It’s time to know the different facts regarding soil pH that you might not be aware of. These facts have come from different researchers and testimonies of gardeners and agriculturists alike.
- Iron Deficiency
The first fact that you need to know is that iron deficiency in plants is caused by lack of acidity in the soil. Plants are dependent on the soil to get the nutrients that they need, but when the soil lacks acidity, its effects will manifest on the plant.
Lack of iron will cause discoloration of the plant’s leaves and stem. You will know when a plant is lacking in iron when yellow pigments are present. The yellowing of the leaves and stem is a sign that the plant is not receiving enough nutrients. When this happens the only solution left for you to do is to transfer the plant. You can make a fresh patch of soil with the right pH level. You could also add fertilizer or plant food to your pot or soil to balance out the deficiency.
- Plant Poisoning
The next fact that you need to know about pH is that it could poison plants. Plants can die from poisoning when the pH level of the soil reaches to below the minimum level. Low pH levels to plants are poisonous.
What causes the poison is not the lack of nutrients in the soil per se. But the formation of aluminium which interferes with the growth of the plant. Aluminium is not a plant nutrient. And by absorbing this non-nutrient the plant gets poisoned.
Low pH level is not only the cause of plant poisoning. A high pH level could also lead to plant poisoning. Whether it is a high or low soil pH, the effect is still the same. Only the right amount of pH can bring the best out of your plant.
- Soil pH shifts over time
Nothing is permanent when it comes to soil pH. You might think that your potting soil will stay the same as long as it doesn’t mix with other soil. This is where you’re wrong. This is because soil pH shifts even if you don’t mix it with other compounds.
It’s natural to think that soil pH wouldn’t change because the conditions don’t change. But this proves different from soil pH, as chemical changes happen even without any intervention. There are different factors that affect the change in pH in the soil.
When this happens all you need to do is to adjust the pH level in the soil to balance it out. When you notice something strange happening to your plant immediately check the pH level of the soil as this might be the main reason for the change.
- Soil pH can easily be Adjusted
You don’t have to throw away the soil that you use on your plant just because the pH level is off. This is because you can easily adjust the pH level of your soil with just a few additives. These additives are easy to find and easy to use.
Take note however that before you adjust your soil’s pH level you need to check its current state. To check the current state of your soil all you need is a pH checker. You can get a pH checker in your local and gardening stores.
When you already know what the pH level of your soil is, the next step is to adjust it. To increase the pH level of your soil, just add limestone to your mix. To decrease the pH level of your soil, just add sulphur.
You can get powdered limestone and sulphur in your local garden shops. But beware, there are powdered sulphur and limestone that’s being used as chemicals. Avoid buying this kind of product by purchasing from trusted stores only.
We need to separate fact from fiction if we truly want to progress in gardening. And one way to do this is by spreading true and informative articles. The pH of the soil is one of the most important factors in growing plants.
It’s important to know the causes and effects of this element to our plants. Knowing when to adjust the pH level in your soil will help you grow better crops. So, the next time you encounter something strange about your plant, check its pH level.
Author Bio: Hi! This is Ella Wilson, the founder of TinyPlantation.com. Being a devotee with plants and gardens, you will find numerous things with me. I have developed enough interest in plants for them to be my passion.