Checking and adjusting ph levels
It is suggested to check the ph level of soil acidity or soil alkalinity. A soil with a pH lower than 7.0 is an acid soil and one with a pH higher than 7.0 is alkaline. Generally speaking, it is easier to make soils more alkaline than it is to make them more acid. Because different soil types react in different ways to the application of lime, you will have to add more lime to clay soils and peaty soils than you will in sandy soils to achieve the same result.
To increase your pH by 1.0 point and make your soil more alkaline:
- Add 4 ounces of hydrated lime per square yard in sandy soils
- Add 8 ounces of hydrated lime per square yard in loamy soils
- Add 12 ounces of hydrated lime per square yard in clay soils
- Add 25 ounces of hydrated lime per square yard in peaty soils
Correction of an overly acid soil should be considered a long term project, rather than trying to accomplish it in one year. It is better to test your soil each year and make your adjustments gradually.
The addition of hardwood ash, bone meal, crushed marble, or crushed oyster shells will also help to raise the soil pH.
Lowering the soil pH to make it more acidic:
If your soil needs to be more acidic, sulfur may be used to lower the pH if it is available. To reduce the soil pH by 1.0 point, mix in 1.2 oz of ground rock sulfur per square yard if the soil is sandy, or 3.6 oz per square yard for all other soils. The sulfur should be thoroughly mixed into the soil before planting.
Sawdust, composted leaves, wood chips, cottonseed meal, leaf mold and especially peat moss, will lower the soil pH.