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How to lower pH in soil - the essentials

Soil acidity is one of the vital factors of successful gardening. Knowing how to lower pH in soil will help you achieve perfect growing conditions for your plants. You need to keep in mind that with pH levels too high or too low, the plants will not be able to assimilate some of the necessary nutrients. Today, we will look at the following aspects of the topic: 

  • How to lower pH in soil – and why does it matter
  • How to lower pH in soil – practical tips
  • How to lower pH in soil – professional products

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How to lower pH in soil - and why does it matter

Before we look at how to lower pH in soil, we should have a look at the importance of soil acidity for plant development. The relative acidity or alkalinity of soil is indicated by its pH. The pH scale runs from 0 to 14, where a pH of 7 is neutral, and any reading below 7 is acidic, and above 7 – alkaline. Read this Iowa State University article on "the meaning and importance of soil pH" to learn more. The pH is important because it determines the availability of essential micro- and macronutrients. The preferred pH for most crops is between 6 (slightly acidic) and 7.5 (slightly alkaline) although there are a few plants that love more acidic conditions. For example blueberries, azaleas, or rhododendrons require soil pH of 4.5 to 5.5. 

Although the desired pH value will depend the crop type, it is always an important factor in your plant’s development. The acidity of the soil affects the form in which nutrients are present as well as their availability. For example, acidic environment can hinder nutrient availability and stunt root development, which will influence plant’s nutrient uptake. On the other hand, high pH levels might cause nutrients to take on different forms that cannot be absorbed by plants. For example, one of the plant macronutrients, nitrogen (N), necessary for any plant to renew its cells and grow, becomes unavailable in alkaline pH. The bacteria that is responsible for the nitrification can only work successfully in pH level up to 7.5. Plants with nitrogen deficiency are weak and their growth is hindered. To learn more about this topic, check our blog entry on “the importance of optimal soil acidity“.

How to lower pH in soil - practical tips

There are various ways of how to lower pH in soil. To start with, make sure that this is what you need by making a pH test of your soil. Once you make sure that your soil is too alkaline, there are some organic additives that you could use. Peat moss or pine needles are a good source of organic carbon and can help to reduce soil pH. However, these organic materials are slow acting and are best added to the top 12 inches of soil a year before planting. If you need a quicker fix, using elemental sulfur or aluminium sulfate might be a better fit. Click here to learn more. Professionally made products can also be a great help in learning how to lower pH in soil.

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How to lower pH in soil - professional products

One of the most secure ways of how to lower pH in soil is to go with good quality products made by professionals. BAC online offers highly concentrated pH- or pH+ products. If you have more questions about how to lower pH in soil, feel free to contact BAC professionals here.


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