You may be wondering why your plants are not growing like you think they should, you water them daily and make sure they get the sunlight they need, but still you see your plants drooping and even dying. You figured out that the culprit behind your sickly plants was the soil itself and you even had the soil tested to discover the levels of pH in the soil.
The next thing you must do is change or balance the soil according to your plants’ needs. This may be tricky, not only because amending the soil to its proper pH levels takes time, but you also need to know what levels of pH are best for each type of plant you have. Changing the pH levels in your soil is best started in fall or the beginning of spring but again it may take some time to properly raise or lower levels.
To change acidic soil into more alkaline soil (increasing pH of soil):
Amend your soil with lime, which you can get at your local home and garden store in four forms: pulverized lime which is ground into a fine powder, granular and palletized, and hydrated limestone. All forms can be spread using a manure spreader or lawn seeder. If you decide to use the hydrated limestone you will find that changes in your soil’s pH level will increase rapidly which may actually be detrimental to plants.
Another option to increase pH of soil, thus making soil more alkaline is by using wood ashes. Wood ashes hold small quantities of different minerals and nutrients like potassium, phosphate, and boron. To effectively change the soil’s pH wood ashes must be spread over the soil in winter and amended into the soil during the spring. Beware that using large amounts of wood ashes in your soil may cause your soil to actually loose nutrients.
To change alkaline soils into more acidic soil (decreasing the pH of soil):
Amend you soil with aluminum sulfate to lower the pH. Aluminum sulfate changes your soil’s pH immediately.
The second option is using sulfur. This option takes time and uses the soil’s natural bacteria to change the pH values. Both of these materials can be found at your local garden stores, and both options should be used in your garden with care, due to the fact that if materials fall onto plants they may burn the plants’ leaves.
Other materials that can affect the pH of your soil are compost and manures. These are easy to apply but take quite a while (many months) to change pH values in the soil.
Plants that thrive in Acidic soil
- Many types of evergreens
Plants that need alkaline soil
- Most vegetables, fruits and other plants