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Testing Soil Acidity

Updated on May 23, 2010
The proper soil acidity ensures healthy plants
The proper soil acidity ensures healthy plants

Testing Soil Acidity

In order to thrive, plants require a soil pH that is balanced within a range from 6.0 to 7.0 (“Soil pH/Soil Acidity”). The soil can easily be tested to learn your soil’s pH, with home testing kits, available at any hardware store or home and garden center. If you prefer, a soil sample can be sent to your local, county or state agricultural agency. The advantage of this method is that they often include soil amendment and fertilizer recommendations along with your test results. (Components and Uses) The process for gathering the sample is simple and straightforward, regardless of the testing method used.

Clear away winter debris from the soil and dig about twenty small holes, about six inches deep in different areas of the garden. Take subsamples from the walls of each hole and mix them together in a bucket. Remove about one pint of soil from the bucket for testing.

Test soil pH by following the instructions for a home testing kit. Testing kits vary, so it is best to follow the instructions for the individual kit. Soil samples can also be sent in to your local, county or state agricultural agency for testing. These agencies usually send back detailed recommendations for soil amendment along with their analysis.

Add finished compost, which is slightly acidic, to unbalanced soil. When added to a alkaline soil, compost balances the pH, bringing it more towards the neutral range. Compost helps to increase plant’s tolerance to pH, broadening the range of pH that they can tolerate, (pH 6.0 to 8.0), as well. (“pH factor”).


“Soil pH/Soil Acidity”. Improve-Your-Garden-Soil.

“Components and Uses of Fertilizers in the Garden”. The Garden Helper. September 12, 1999.

“pH factor”. rancho mondo compost manual.


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