Sweet or Sour, Alkaline or Acid Soil pH

September 14, 2016

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Sweet or Sour? I’m not talking about pickles, but rather the pH of your soil. 

Acidic soils with pH below neutral (7.0) are often referred to as sour, while alkaline soils with a pH above 7.0 are called sweet.  Soil pH influences which nutrients in the soil are available for the plants to absorb and utilize for growth.

Blueberries, azalea and red maples are examples of acid-loving plants. Clematis, crabapple and spirea are a few of the alkaline tolerant plants.

Always start with a soil test before trying to change the pH. Lime is used to sweeten soils while sulfur is often used to lower pH. Since adjusting pH takes large amounts of energy and materials, it is best to grow plants suited to your soil pH.

A bit more information: It is best to have your soil tested by a certified soil testing lab. Most University Extension services either have soil testing labs or can recommend labs in your area.

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