With green as the colour of the day, it begs the question:
How can you make your crop or garden flourish?
Perhaps measuring pH can provide some answers. Measuring soil pH indicates more than just alkalinity or acidity; it signals nutrient availability, soil life and assists in selecting types of plants that should thrive.
Typically, the pH range of soil varies from 4.0 to 8.0; optimal availability of plant nutrients is a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0.
Soil’s ability to provide nutrition to the plant depends upon:
- Essential elements in the soil—Available nutrients depend on the elemental nature of the soil and its organic material content. Soil nutrients can be complex insoluble compounds (organic materials) and simple soluble forms.
- Nutrient release to plants—Simple elements in the soil are available for plant uptake. Complex forms (organic materials) must be broken down through decomposition to simpler, more available forms to benefit plants.
- pH of the soil solution—pH directly affects the availability of essential nutrients. For example, though iron, manganese, and zinc become less available as the pH rises above 6.5, molybdenum and phosphorus become more available. When the soil is acidic, minerals such as zinc, aluminum, manganese, copper, and cobalt become more soluble for plants’ uptake. Yet, an excess of these ions can be toxic to plants. Alkaline soil contains a higher quantity of bicarbonate ions, which interferes with the normal uptake of other ions, harming plant growth.
Soil bacteria that assist in the decomposition of organic material thrive at a pH of 6.3 to 6.8. Fungi and mold prefer a more acidic soil, making soil more prone to souring and putrefication. Test the pH of your soil to determine how to treat it.
See ph meters and water quality products to measure your soil.
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