Adjust Soil pH after Planting. Soil pH indicates if your soil is acidic, neutral, or alkaline. While most of the plants grow in any type of soil, some plants have specific soil requirements. Soil pH affects absorption of nutrients from the soil by the plants. In some cases, minerals are unavailable for absorption by plants. So based on the soil pH, we choose the appropriate plant. Or, we alter the soil based on our choice of plant.
Things to Consider while adjusting soil pH after planting
Even if you begin with an ideal soil, over time the soil pH changes due to a number of factors. Excess use of chemical fertilizers can alter the soil pH. Heavy rainfall or too much watering can drain your soil of the essential nutrients and can change the soil pH. Similarly, pollutants and resulting acid rain can make the soil acidic. Excessive farming of a crop can lower the pH. E.g. Legumes. So we need to take corrective measures, as often as possible, to revert the soil pH.
Analysis of How to Adjust Soil pH after PlantingpH scale for various soils
Begin by taking a Soil Test at various depths across various areas for an appropriate result. Along with the soil pH, test result also gives us the list of nutrients and minerals absent in our soil. Even if the soil pH is appropriate, lack of some nutrients can cause inconsistencies in plant growth. If we have to alter the pH as well as supply a specific nutrient, we can choose an amendment correctly based on the results.
How to Raise Soil pH
- Fluid lime and pelletized lime can immediately raise soil pH. Hydrated Dolomite lime can be added if magnesium is also deficient. Adding lime improves phosphorus and calcium availability in acidic soil. The high amount of lime can hinder potassium and magnesium absorption by plants.
- Highly soluble potassium carbonate can be used instead of lime as part of irrigation. It acts quickly, reaching greater soil depth. But it is a synthetic material.
- Wood ash that is produced from unpainted wood can also be used sparingly, instead of lime in sandy soils to raise pH.
- Oyster shell flour, crushed egg shells, or, aragonite can be used to increase the pH.
How to Lower Soil pH
- Adding organic material like treated manure, green manure, compost, alfalfa meal, peat moss, pine needles, etc. to your alkaline soil, improves microbial activity, reduces pH, improves soil, and increases phosphorus availability. But it lowers pH gradually.
- Similarly, humic acid and fulvic acid in powdery or liquid form can be mixed with seaweed to lower the pH.
- Vinegar or citric acid diluted with water can lower pH of the alkaline soil.
- Synthetic fertilizers like Aluminum sulfate and ammonium sulfate are acidifying. They quickly lower pH and you should use them cautiously. Elemental sulfur is organic, requires bacterial action to lower pH and is slow. Copper sulfate chelated with citric acid may be used if copper is also deficient in the soil.
How to apply?
While adjusting soil pH after Planting, these amendments can only be added on the surface. So, it will alter the pH of the soil only to some depth. Mix powdery forms with water to use as liquid fertilizer. Take care to avoid direct application on roots, leaves or other plant parts. The pH of water differs – most tap water is alkaline, while rainwater is acidic. Take this into consideration while diluting the mixture. Take soil test at regular intervals, to check the progress. Continue altering your pH, only if required.
Conclusion – How to Adjust Soil pH after Planting
Mulching with organic material can help prevent draining of nutrients during heavy rainfall or watering. Similarly, adopt such natural organic methods which promote sustainable farming, to achieve and maintain the soil pH.