Effect of soil pH on various factors.How do you increase the alkalinity of soil pH fast? Alkalinity. Soil acidity comprises 2 parts – active and reserve acidity. Active acidity is the pH of the current soil. Reserve acidity is the pH held by organic matter, nutrients and clay. When active acidity is neutralized, reserve acidity replaces it. So we need to counter both of them to increase the alkalinity of the soil. A soil test provides an effective solution based on these values. Based on the recommendations you can choose an appropriate amendment to make your soil alkaline. But before proceeding, take a pH test to confirm that the soil is indeed, in need of an amendment.
Generally, limestone is an effective soil amendment. But it is slow acting. When the particles become fine, the process is fast. Finer particles are available in various forms:Lime and its role in changing soil pH
- Fluid Lime also called liquid lime or suspension lime or flow-able limestone can raise soil pH rapidly. Finely ground agricultural lime is suspended in an equal proportion of water to form liquid lime. It is easier to spread uniformly through an irrigation system. So it acts quickly, but is ideal for a small garden. For a large area, it is costly and requires frequent use. About 500 pounds of lime and 500 pounds of water is required for an acre. Since only 50% lime is present, quantity of fluid lime required is double the amount of dry lime.
- Pelletized lime is also finely ground lime compressed to form pellets or granules. It is water soluble and acts fast in increasing soil pH. It is easy to spread the pellets. A minimum of about 25 pounds of pelletized lime is required for 1,000 square feet land. Water the soil after applying lime.
It is also known as potash or potassium carbonate. It is water soluble and can be used in your irrigation system. Using Potash satisfies the high potassium requirement of some plants. Use about 2 to 5 pounds for an acre. Keep the pH of the resulting solution below 7.5 pH. Otherwise the pipes will get clogged. Use a high-nitrate fertilizer that contains calcium and magnesium before or after applying potash. It will remove the excess potassium content and restore mineral balance in the soil. It is a highly effective, fast option to raise the soil pH.
Wood AshWood ash is used to increase alkalinity of the soil pH.
It is a cost-effective, efficient, organic method. Don’t use wood subjected to chemical process like painting. Spread ash on the soil and mix it well. Avoid contact with roots or other plant parts. Water the soil, to start the reaction. Ideal recommendation is 20 pounds of wood ash (same as lime) per 1,000 square feet of soil per year. Amount may vary with your soil type and soil pH. In general, it very quickly raises the soil pH and is long-lasting. So, don’t add it to neutral or alkaline soil.
Generally pH changes with irrigation and fertilizer usage. Therefore, in addition to the above measures increase the alkalinity of the water used for irrigation, use basic fertilizer to maintain the achieved pH. Test the soil pH after each amendment. Follow the product instructions for store-bought products. Soil pH and soil type varies with each region. So there is no definitive solution. Choose a method based on the availability and your requirements.