How to determine if the soil is acidic and reduce its acidity
From letters to the editor:
I am a beginner gardener. I noticed that some crops grow in my beds is difficult, for example, I can't get a good harvest of beets. Friends, whom I showed our garden and complained about the failures, suggested that, apparently, on our site there is acidic soil. What does acidic soil mean? How can this acidity be reduced?
Of course, if you have the financial ability, you can contact an agrochemical laboratory and order a soil analysis.
Its staff will take samples from different parts of your site, and then you will get an accurate picture of the acidity of the soil on it.
This is a very important indicator. The fact is that many plants can develop normally only at a certain level of acidity. This level is determined by the pH value.
Taking into account its soil, they are divided into three types:
- slightly acidic soil - the pH value starts from pH7 and above;
- neutral soil - pH7;
- acidic soil - below pH7, truly acidic soil is well below this value, for example, pH4.
Moreover, most plants, especially vegetables, grow best with a neutral or slightly acidic soil reaction. For example, the beets you are complaining about prefer neutral soil.
Moreover, even by the appearance of this plant, one can determine that he does not like this soil. When beets grow on favorable soils, their leaves are juicy green, and the petioles are bright red. At the same time, it develops well, forms a standard or even larger root crop.
If the soil on the site is slightly acidic, then red streaks can be seen on the leaves. With acidic, unloved beet soil, its leaves are smaller and turn red. If you saw such foliage, take the necessary measures right away, otherwise it will not give you a harvest.
The acidity of the soil can be determined in another, natural way. The fact is that wild plants also have their own preferences. If horse sorrel, horsetail, moss, plantain, wild mint, Ivan da Marya, creeping buttercup grow abundantly on your site or next to it, then this is a sign of acidic soil.
If nettle, wheatgrass, clover, burdock grow well on the site, then your soil is neutral or slightly acidic.
Crop plants have the same preferences. For example, on slightly acidic soils, the following vegetable crops grow well: cucumbers, zucchini, potatoes, radishes, radishes, eggplants, peas. They also love this soil. Growing roses, chamomile, chrysanthemums.
Neutral soils are preferred by the already mentioned beets, as well as onions, cabbage, and garlic.
More acidic soils are preferred by popular crops such as tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin, sorrel, and parsley. But there are also champions among lovers of acidic soils. This is, for example, a garden blueberry or a beautiful ornamental rhododendron plant. They have to especially try to create the soil they need. And the reason that many novice gardeners do not want to grow these two crops in any way is precisely because they did not have enough acidic soil. True, such soil is usually loose, as it consists of peat and coniferous litter.
There are specials on sale in gardening stores litmus indicator strips... To determine the acidity of the soil, samples are taken from different parts of the site - a handful of earth in gauze, which is dipped in a glass of distilled water, insisted for a while (according to the instructions), and then litmus paper is dipped into this water. It will be painted in one color or another. The color scale attached to the set of strips compares the color of this paper and determines the acidity of the soil.
You can also use the latest achievement of science - a special device acid meter... It is inserted into the soil with its lower pointed part, and after a couple of minutes, the scale will reflect the pH level of your soil with an accuracy of tenths. It seems that in all gardening you need to have such a device. If you buy it with a joint, it will not be at all costly, but it will be beneficial for all members of the partnership, since they will be able to determine the acidity of their soil and will know what needs to be done to get a good harvest.
But what should be done if the device showed that you have a high acidity of the soil? It is necessary to fight this phenomenon, since acidic soil is less fertile than, for example, neutral soil, and many vegetables and fruits grow poorly on it, plants are oppressed and get sick a lot. Their roots branch poorly, the yield decreases.
Therefore, if, after applying one or another method for determining the acidity of the soil, it turned out that they are acidic, then you need them deacidify... Several agents can be used to neutralize such soils. The most ancient method, it was used by our distant ancestors, is the introduction of wood ash into the soil. True, they did not collect it. They used the so-called slash-and-burn agriculture, which was based on burning out the forest, after which cultivated plants were planted in this place.
The ancestors, of course, did not know then about the acidity of the soil. They simply freed some territory from the forest and knew that after a fire it would be good to give birth there rye, oats, cabbage or turnip. Ash from numerous burnt trees and shrubs reduced the acidity of forest soils, and, in addition, as you know, it is a good fertilizer, which contains more than thirty elements that nourish plants. For example, ash contains potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, silicon, sulfur and others. There is only nitrogen in it. When this piece of land was depleted, our ancestors freed a new one for crops by fire, and a forest was gradually revived on the old one.
Of course, collecting such an amount of ash, which was formed as a result of forest burning, will not work now, but if you constantly live in the country and use firewood for heating, then it is quite possible to collect several bags of dry ash. Or you can build a small stove on the site, in which to burn all dry branches from the garden and the nearest forest. Then, with the help of the resulting ash, you can deacidify part of the garden or garden.
According to experts, if the soil is highly acidic, then you need to add about 700 g of ash per square meter. But if you add it to the soil and less than this rate, but regularly, then you are unlikely to have it sour. Most likely, it will already be neutral. If you store quite a bit of ash, try to add it to the garden bed where you sow the beet seeds, then you will definitely be with the harvest, if, of course, you provide the seedlings with good care.
It is an effective but long-standing method of soil improvement, but not everyone can stock up on ash. Therefore, now other methods are more often used. Acidic soils are now most often corrected by adding lime or other calcareous materials to the soil. Unlike ash, they are sold in gardening stores. Agronomists recommend adding up to 50 kilograms of lime per one hundred square meters of the garden to correct highly acidic soils.
On acidic soils, up to 40 kilograms will be required, on slightly acidic soils - at least 30 kilograms per hundred square meters. They bring it in in the fall, scattering it in an even layer over the soil surface before digging the site. It is necessary to try to mix lime with the soil when digging, then the effect of its introduction will manifest itself faster. Its uneven introduction must not be allowed, since in case of an overdose, this can lead to plant burns.
Having calcified your site in this way, you will provide the soil with a neutral reaction for almost ten years, and then the liming will need to be repeated.
If you have fresh manure, it cannot be brought in for digging in the fall along with lime. From their interaction, a significant amount of nitrogen will be lost from the manure.
In addition to lime, other lime materials can be found in gardening stores. Most often it is dolomite flour. It is not as effective as lime, which means that more of it needs to be applied. Here are the norms that are indicated in the passport of this lime fertilizer:
- acidic soils (pH less than 4.5): 500-600 g per 1m² or (5-6 t / ha);
- medium acid (pH 4.5-5.2): 450-500 g per 1m² or (4.5-6 t / ha);
- slightly acidic (pH 5.2-5.6): 350-450 g per 1m² or (3.5-4.5 t / ha).
On light soils, the dose is reduced by 1.5 times, and on heavy clay soils, it is increased by 10-15%. For a more effective action of dolomite flour during its introduction, it is necessary to achieve a uniform distribution of limestone flour over the entire area of the site. When the full dose is applied, the effect of liming lasts for 8-10 years. The effectiveness of dolomite flour increases with the simultaneous introduction of boric and copper micronutrients (boric acid and copper sulfate).
Dolomite flour has one more advantage: it not only deacidifies the soil, but also enriches it with calcium, magnesium and other useful microelements.
Experts also recommend sowing green manures on the beds vacated after harvesting to reduce the acidity of the soil: rye, white mustard, phacelia, oats, and then mowing the green mass and embedding it into the soil. If this becomes a good tradition for you, then you will forget about the acidic soil.
Photo by the author
Why consider acidity?
The acidity of the soil for weeds (photo), which will help determine acidic or alkaline soil, is the first indicator that allows you to establish the fact without the use of special instruments and other agricultural techniques.
Every summer resident who respects his work should take into account the acidity of the soil when planting garden crops, because this will make it possible to grow healthy, strong plants and get a bountiful harvest.
Acidified soil adversely affects crop cultivation.
- The likelihood of plant diseases, especially chlorosis, increases, the acidic environment will neutralize the ingress of phosphorus and potassium.
- Lack of nitrogen threatens oxygen starvation.
- Such soils are prone to waterlogging, which affects the reproduction of harmful microorganisms in it.
- The amount of calcium, molybdenum, boron, copper, zinc, magnesium is reduced, which reduces the amount of yield or contributes to a decrease in fruit.
- There is an accumulation of harmful substances that can increase the toxicity of the plant.
The more acidic the soil, the more nutrients are deposited and not absorbed, in such plants protein and carbon metabolism will be disturbed, which will affect their appearance: they will be weak, lethargic and pale green.
Garden crops grow well in a neutral (pH 6.3-7), slightly acidic (pH 5.5-6.2 7), slightly alkaline (pH 7.1-8) environment.
Soil acidification can be caused by:
- frequently applied mineral fertilizers of the same type
- natural environment (type of soil - peat, clay-sod)
- improper alternation of planting garden crops
- acid rain, industrial emissions.
To avoid soil acidification, you need to check the acidity level of the soil in spring and autumn, the first sign of which may be the presence of weeds in the area.
What plants grow on acidic soils and how to identify it?
- Full photo
Soil acidity - what is it?
What flowers like acidic soil?
What bushes and trees grow on acidic soils?
What vegetables love acidic soil?
How to determine the acidity of the soil?
Low acidity - what to do?
High soil acidity - how to lower it?
Having planted a plant in a certain area, the gardener is waiting for exuberant growth and active development. But after a while the shrub is not something that cannot develop, it begins to wither and die. What could be the reason? In the acidity of the soil. Sometimes some plants require a specific pH level. Only by observing the structure and acidity of the soil required for germination and fruiting can positive results in cultivation be achieved.
How to determine the quality of the soil in the summer cottage and its acidity?
About acidity. You can buy strips at the store. And you can less accurately determine with the help of currant leaves. You need to brew four leaves of black currant in a glass of boiling water. Let the water cool down. Then pour it into bowls to see the soil in different beds. Take a small lump of soil and dip one into each bowl. If the liquid turns reddish, then the soil is acidic, if greenish, then the reaction is slightly acidic, if the color turns blue, then neutral.
If weeds grow on the site, then by their types one can also judge the acidity. Plantain, violet tricolor, sorrel, veronica grow on acidic soil. Sow thistle, euphorbia, bindweed grow on neutral, and gardeners just don't like these weeds. but it would be better to love, because they show that the soil is suitable for almost all garden plants. Larkspur and field mustard grow well on alkaline soils. And on slightly acidic ones there are always a lot of nettles, woodlice, wheatgrass, quinoa.
It will be good if raspberries are planted where clover, timothy, alfalfa, and annual legumes grew. They structure the soil well and add nitrogen.
Raspberries tolerate slightly acidic soil, the main thing is that the soil has a structure and organic matter is almost enough. If horsetail, moss grow on the future raspberry, then it is necessary to lime it. But you still have to accurately determine the boundaries of the site and the acidity within its boundaries. Then you decide how much fluff or limestone you need.
How to determine the reaction of the soil using baking soda and vinegar?
First, prepare 2 soil samples in small containers (for example, a bottom cut from a 1.5 liter plastic bottle). To conduct a reliable study, you need to take several or even 10 soil samples from different places in the garden. The general rule is that you need to take 3-4 samples from each hundred square meters. The earth is dug at a depth of 20-25 cm.
The soil is mixed with distilled water.
Take half a cup of vinegar and half a cup of baking soda.
- We take the first soil sample, fill it with vinegar. If the ground starts to "sizzle" and bubble, its reaction is alkaline. Its pH is 7 or higher.
- If there is no reaction with vinegar, take a second sample and pour half a cup of water into it along with half a cup of baking soda. If bubbles appear, we are dealing with acidic soil. The pH is below 7.
This method will not allow us to check the exact pH level. He only proposes to determine an indicative level of acidity, which will help to decide which plants are best suited for our soil conditions. If you need accurate readings, it is worth going to the regional chemical and agricultural stations. This will allow us to rationally form our plans for the future.
How to make a plot fertile
You may have faced such a problem: despite the feeding, the plants grow poorly and bear little fruit. The thing is that not only the amount of fertilizers is important, but also their assimilation. Therefore, instead of the next dose of ammonium nitrate or nitroammofoska, it is worth structuring the soil, that is, increasing its absorbency.
Plants love it when the soil consists of lumps, saturated with moisture and nutrients, and in the intervals there is a lot of air saturated with oxygen. To structure the soil in this way, there are different ways.
Recently, humic preparations have gained popularity. They include natural humates - substances that activate the work of beneficial bacteria, stimulate plant growth and increase their resistance to diseases and pests, as well as improve the physical properties of the soil.
Most often, humic supplements are produced in liquid form.The funds are beneficial to plants at all stages of development, so they can be used not only for feeding, but also for soaking the seeds before sowing and adding them to the hole before planting.
Peat, vermicompost and sapropel (silt deposits) contain natural humic substances.
Modern EM preparations can also be used to cultivate the soil. They contain effective microorganisms, which actively multiply and thereby destroy the painful microflora, form nutrients for plants from organic matter. To treat 1 square meter of land, dilute 3 ml of the product in 3 liters of water. These rules will help you enhance the effect of the drug:
- it is better to carry out processing in May, when the air warms up to 15 ° C, and microorganisms begin to actively multiply
- before watering, be sure to add organic matter to the soil, which will serve as food for beneficial bacteria
- cover the treated area with polyethylene - the heat will start the growth and reproduction of microorganisms
- before planting plants, wait 2-3 weeks after treatment, this will allow the microflora to evenly distribute and integrate into the food chain.
Strictly observe the dosage so as not to oversaturate the soil, otherwise microorganisms will begin to process the planted plants.
So, you learned more about the composition of the soil, figured out what kind of soil you have in your country house, and even studied ways to improve it. Continue observing. You can even keep a diary, where from year to year you will write down the changes that occur to the soil. Read additional literature, deepen your knowledge, and the plants will feel great!
How to find out and change the moisture and acidity of the soil?
Today I'm going to talk about soil and how to make the right potting mix for your specific horticultural species.
Have you ever wondered why some fruit trees, bushes and shrubs stubbornly refuse to grow and bear fruit normally? This article is about the causes of garden problems and how to fix them.
Soil quality is the key to the success of a gardener! I do not pretend to be a GURU, I will present my experience, indicate the main reasons for garden failures in terms of soil characteristics and show how you can fix everything.
This article is a logical continuation of THIS note. To stay on top of the topic and logically perceive the information that I am about to write, be sure to first read that article.
By and large, there are two main characteristics of the soil in the philistine sense. These are acidity and moisture (I am not deliberately touching on the presence of trace elements and fertilizers in the soil - more on them later). Let's take a quick look at each of them.
Learn about Ph. In chemistry, PH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline a solution is. Okay, let's finish the chemistry lesson. Ph is measured on a scale from 1 to 14, normal (neutral) is PH 6.5-7. Readings below 6.5 mean that the soil is acidic (the lower the value, the more acidic the soil), correspondingly higher values mean that the soil is alkaline (the higher the value, the more alkaline the soil).
Effect of soil PH on plants.
Knowing the correct PH before planting is very important as it directly affects the health of the plant. Each plant has its own recommended soil PH range. This is because PH affects the availability of nutrients in the soil and plants may have different needs for normal growth. For example, biogenic nitrogen, a very important nutrient, is found in soil at ph above 5.5. Likewise, with access to nutrient phosphorus, the plant gets it at a ph between 6 and 7.
When a plant does not receive at least one of these substances, problems and various diseases begin. In general, the best pH value for soil is considered to be between 6 and 7, in which case most of the nutrients needed for healthy growth are available to the plant.
But ... there is a big BUT. It was not for nothing that I wrote the definition “in general, it is better that the soil in the garden is neutral. Why did I write like this? Because many ornamental and fruit crops grow in our garden and vegetable garden, the absolute majority of them are suitable for Ph-neutral soils. But there are also plants - exceptions and it is important to know them. We read further carefully. I wanted to have tall blueberries (also called American blueberries) in my garden. I told about this to my uncle who, moreover, ATTENTION, by education AGRONOM. He began to dissuade me from this idea, they say he tried it - nothing happened, only you will waste time in vain ...
What soil did he plant his blueberries in? That's right - I dug up a piece of land, "nazma" with a bucket, dug it up and planted it. So he did all his life for any garden culture and everything worked out, but it did not go with blueberries.
It's simple - blueberries are from the genus of heather crops, and they love light, acidic soils and are afraid of nitrogen like fire (and manure is a real nitrogen concentrate!) What should be the acidity of the soil for heather crops?
Heather fruit crops are blueberries, blueberries, cranberries, lingonberries. It is enough to study the conditions of their growth and it will be clear on what soils and in what conditions they grow. Here I will note that the "working" Ph of the soil for these crops is in the range of 3.5 - 5.5 units. It is easy to create conditions for comfortable growth for plants that love acidic soil, I will write about this in the next article "Tall blueberries in my garden", which I supplemented after 3 years of acquaintance with blueberries (05.24.18g) and recommend that you read it and avoid fatal mistakes. which means to save your own time and money.
Now you are thinking - how to determine the acidity of the soil yourself?
It is not necessary to guess on the coffee grounds what kind of soil you have in your garden and what kind in the prepared substrate.
On YouTube there are a bunch of "collective farm" videos ... they say take the soil, dissolve it in water, stir, gurgle, let it settle, shove in a litmus paper (I once went around all veterinary pharmacies and human pharmacies - there are no litmus papers anywhere).
This is how you read / watch the advice "from the Internet" from the "pros" and you understand what a narrow-minded, incompetent person I am, nothing happens. It turns out that it is not a gardener who is a beginner (we are all in some way once beginners) a loser, and advisers - amateurs and, moreover, saboteurs - give their kitchen advice as the ultimate truth. But the world is wider ... technology does not stand still.
I forgot about my garden failures (and made friends with blueberries the first time) after I purchased an inexpensive miracle device: a 3 + in 1 soil acidity and moisture meter - this is a quick measurement of soil acidity and moisture at home - I stuck an electrode into a wet soil and after 30 seconds I saw the readings on the scale (indicator of soil acidity) - everything is simple and fast ... without dancing with a tambourine (I'm talking about litmus tests and the whole preparatory ritual a la home chemical laboratory) .Ph meter
This miracle device can be bought from this site - here is the link to the product card HERE
Measuring moisture with this device is another magic wand. I regularly use it in the germination of cuttings (any garden crops) - I know exactly when to water so that the moisture at the root level is normal (overflow and drought are the cause of failures). To acidify the soil, use an acid solution (vinegar, electrolyte, etc.) e). The electrolyte is diluted at the rate of 70 g / 10 liters of water. Plants are watered at the root (do not water the foliage!) Usually as needed (after measuring the soil with a Ph-meter), as a rule, one watering is enough for a year or two.
I use a more prolonged and gentle method (the method is reliable and proven over the years by my fellow countryman, the gardener Kuznetsov from the village of Altayskoye) - when planting a blueberry (or other heather) seedling, I put a handful of colloidal sulfur in the planting pit. The initial filling is enough for several years, and then a new portion is simply kneaded into the mulch and that's it ... again, it is enough for several years.
I also searched for sulfur for a long time in stores ... I did not find it, but what was in stock was worth space! Having experienced the difficulties of finding gardening needs, I decided to buy and sell it in my online store. Sulfur can be viewed / bought HERE
Well, the vast majority of horticultural crops tolerate acidic soil very poorly, and if your garden plot is in peat mines, the soil needs to be deoxidized (alkalized).
How to make the soil more alkaline?
If your soil is acidic or slightly acidic, you need to change the parameters before planting the plant. The oldest way to make the soil more alkaline (increase the ph) is to add lime. Lime is a compound of calcium and magnesium. The smaller the limestone particles, the faster your soil will become more alkaline. Dolomite flour can also be used.
Now a little about soil moisture.
There are crops with deep roots (for example, a pear, even more so on a rootstock - a seedling with a tap central root), there are crops with a superficial root system (lemongrass, actinidia, heather).
Of course, the surface root system is more influenced by natural factors and, for example, is very afraid of drying out the surface layer of the soil. As a solution to the problem - good mulching of the plant's trunk circle. For these purposes, I use available and cheap material - sawdust, and also (because I live near the forest) - coniferous litter, but I use it mainly on hazelnuts and heathers, on other crops - sawdust.
Plants with superficial roots are very demanding for watering, especially in hot weather (the level of moisture is determined, again, by the above device). The device in the garden, to determine the moisture content I only use for plants with a shallow root system (I wrote about them above) ... I have no paranoia to run around the garden with it.
There are gardens with surface groundwater. I had a friend whose keys literally beat on the garden plot - the plants (all polls) literally wither away. Why such a garden plot is needed - I do not understand.
Remember, when growing plants, you need to know and take into account the indicators of soil acidity, if you need to take the measures mentioned above in time.
You need to clearly know the correct agrotechnology and biological characteristics of each garden crop that you cultivate, and then the long-awaited well-deserved success awaits you! The plant doesn't need much - just give it what it needs! Finally, watch 2 videos - as they say, it's better to see once than hear a hundred times.
Have you read the article, watched the video? Now you are practically a pro, the most interesting thing remains - your personal garden PRACTICE.
Ask questions and share your experience in the comments to the article. If you liked the article - share it on your social network!
How to reduce soil acidity
The shift of the acid-base balance of the earth to the acidic side occurs due to a decrease in limestone in its composition. Therefore, to reduce acidity, it must be artificially added. I already wrote about the liming of the soil (this is here). There is also a table for determining the rate of application of slaked lime.
I will add that not only lime can be used to reduce the acidity of the soil. Dolomite flour gives a remarkable result, which, in addition to deoxidizing the earth, enriches it with many microelements necessary for plants.
No less effective and useful is the introduction of wood ash and ash. Even a small amount of it (100 - 150 grams per square meter) can solve the problem. It is the use of ash and ash that I usually recommend to reduce the acidity of the soil in flower beds and flower beds. In indoor floriculture, this is also the most acceptable way.
Soil acidity is one of its main indicators. Knowing the acidity of the soil, it is possible with great success to plan the planting of certain crops, and also to regulate this acidity with the help of special chemical compositions.