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pH levels

The pH rating simply means how much acid (acidity) or how much alkaline (alkalinity) is present in the soil.

The pH range is 1 14 and 7 is the mid-point, meaning ½ acidity to ½ alkalinity. Each plant has a level it will tolerate, past that level the plant will look sickly and generally not grow at all in some situations. The basic pH test only gives the acidity/alkalinity level and is one of the easiest ways to improve the soil.

Liming raises the pH and sulfur lowers the pH.

How much do you add? This is what a soil test will tell you, as well as the texture of the soil— loose sandy soil all the way to hard clays , each need different amounts of chemicals to alter the pH. Complete soil testing can also tell you what trace minerals or additives are needed.

Soil testing and soil samples

Your local state or county extension offices are paid by the public to help in giving you all kinds of information on how to take these soil samples and for a small charge they will usually give you detailed written recommendations onwhat should be added to the soil and suggested fertilization rates for lawns.

Lime is not a fertilizer

Lime adjusts the soil chemistry, it is not a fertilizer. A little too much can raise pH to undesirable levels, causing serious management problems. Make certain you know how much lime is needed, then apply it over a number of seasons until your soil is back in balance.

Also read: 4 things a gardener should know about pH