How to measure the pH of the soil at home - Tips

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Many plants have specific requirements regarding the acidity or alkalinity of the soil in which they are found, so it is common that, when consulting the care of some plants, we see things such as "requires acid soils" or certain pH requirements . Because of this, it becomes necessary to know how to measure soil pH in a homemade way and be able to alter it in case of soil pH problems.

Does all this sound very complicated to you? Do not worry and join us in this Green Ecologist article, you will see that measuring and changing the pH of the earth is within everyone's reach.

Why measuring soil pH is important

The pH marks, as we just mentioned, the level of acidity or alkalinity of your soil, so it is very important to know what you can or cannot grow in it. The land tends to have a pH close to neutral, but the natural composition of certain soils can make it more acidic or alkaline, as well as certain cultivation techniques or the use of certain fertilizers or substances.

Without a proper pH, the beneficial microorganisms in the soil will not be able to sustain themselves, nor will the plants absorb the nutrients they need. In this case, the so-called acidophilic plants are known, such as hydrangeas, gardenias, azaleas and camellias, among others. These plants cannot develop adequately in soils with a low pH, suffering from chlorosis in alkaline soils due to the inability to absorb nutrients.

How you can measure soil pH at home

To measure the pH of the soil at home you need to follow these steps:

  1. Buy pH strips, which you can easily find in any hardware store or large supermarket, or even buy it online on large platforms without any difficulty.
  2. You will also need distilled water, which must be distilled due to its neutral pH of 7. If it is tap water or mineral water, the test result will not be valid, as the water would alter it. Distilled water can also be purchased without problems in hardware stores, supermarkets and large stores.
  3. Ready this, it only remains to get the soil sample you want to measure the pH of, which cannot be taken at a random point, as the soil can suffer alterations in specific places. Divide the area of land whose pH you want to measure into about 10 plots, and take a sample from each of these areas, all of which are the same size. It is advisable not to take the sample from the surface, but from a depth of between 10 and 45 cm.
  4. Then mix them with distilled water, both weight in water and weight of the sample, stir them well and let the samples rest for a couple of hours.
  5. After this, there is only dip the strip in the water in the container and it will adopt the color corresponding to the pH of the earth, which you will have to compare with the guide that comes with the strips.

Another more inaccurate but faster method of measuring soil pH is to use vinegar. For measure soil pH with vinegar. Simply add vinegar to your soil sample and pay close attention to whether or not bubbles appear. If there are, it means that the soil is alkaline, that is, its pH is more than 7.

How to lower the pH of the soil

If you need to know how to lower the pH of the soil at home, the most common is add aluminum sulfate to the soil. This achieves immediate effects on the level of acidity or alkalinity of the same, and if you do not go over with the amounts it has no major effect on the plants. Of course, it is very important that you do it in the right amounts, because if you exceed it, you will trigger the acidity level of the soil, making it unsuitable for any type of crop.

If what you want is to know how the pH of the soil is lowered in horticulture, for example because you have decided to start making a garden, the most common thing if you want to do your best and without haste, is add sulfur or organic matter. This method requires planning because it takes several months to achieve effect. Usually, the normal thing is to use between half a kilo and a kilo of sulfur per square meter and to measure the pH again between 3 and 6 months after its application. If it is not enough, the following year you can add sulfur again. Here you can learn more about Sulfur for plants: benefits and how to apply it.

How to raise the pH of the soil

If it comes to how to correct the acidic pH of the soil, what you need to know is how to raise the pH of the soil at home. Follow these tips:

  • In this case, the most common is to use ground limestone, which must be mixed with the soil by spreading it.
  • Raising soil pH can be difficult, but another recurring, sometimes unintentional method is water with hard or lime-rich water, as is the tap in many places. This water ends up raising the pH of the soil, which is why acidophilic plants cannot be watered with running water. Watering like this is another way to raise the pH of the soil, in fact, one of the simplest and most comfortable.
  • Acidic organic matter, such as blonde land, also serves to acidify soils, or the common manure, which fertilizes in addition to raising the pH.

If you want to read more articles similar to How to measure soil pH, we recommend that you enter our category of Cultivation and care of plants.

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