Video: How To Determine If The Soil Is Acidic And Reduce Its Acidity
Of course, if you have the financial ability, you can contact an agrochemical laboratory and order a soil analysis.
Its staff will take samples from different parts of your site, and then you will get an accurate picture of the acidity of the soil on it.
This is a very important indicator. The fact is that many plants can develop normally only at a certain level of acidity. This level is determined by the pH value.
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Taking into account its soil are divided into three types:
- slightly acidic soil - the pH value starts from pH7 and above;
- neutral soil - pH7;
- acidic soil - below pH7, truly acidic soil is well below this value, for example, pH4.
Moreover, most plants, especially vegetables, grow best when the soil is neutral or slightly acidic. For example, the beets you are complaining about prefers neutral soil.
Moreover, even by the appearance of this plant, one can determine that he does not like this soil. When beets grow on favorable soils, their leaves are juicy green, and the petioles are bright red. Moreover, it develops well, forms a standard or even larger root crop.
If the soil on the site is slightly acidic, then red streaks can be seen on the leaves. With acidic, unloved beet soil, its leaves are smaller and turn red. If you saw such foliage, take the necessary measures right away, otherwise it will not give you a harvest.
The acidity of the soil can be determined in another, natural way. The fact is that wild plants also have their own preferences. If horse sorrel, horsetail, moss, plantain, wild mint, Ivan da Marya, creeping buttercup grow abundantly on your site or next to it, then this is a sign of acidic soil.
If nettle, wheatgrass, clover, burdock grow well on the site, it means that your soil is neutral or slightly acidic.
Crop plants have the same preferences. For example, on slightly acidic soils, the following vegetable crops grow well: cucumbers, zucchini, potatoes, radishes, radishes, eggplants, peas. They also love this soil. Growing roses, chamomile, chrysanthemums.
Neutral soils are preferred by the already mentioned beets, as well as onions, cabbage, and garlic.
More acidic soils are preferred by popular crops such as tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin, sorrel, and parsley. But there are also champions among lovers of acidic soils. This is, for example, garden blueberries or a beautiful ornamental rhododendron plant. They have to especially try to create the soil they need. And the reason that many novice gardeners do not want to grow these two crops in any way is precisely because they did not have enough acidic soil. True, such soil is usually loose, since it consists of peat and coniferous litter.
There are special indicator litmus strips on sale in gardening stores. To determine the acidity of the soil, samples are taken from different parts of the site - a handful of earth in gauze, which is dipped into a glass of distilled water, insisted for a while (according to the instructions), and then litmus paper is dipped into this water. It will be painted in one color or another. The color scale attached to the set of strips compares the color of this paper and determines the acidity of the soil.
You can also use the latest achievement of science - a special acid meter. It is inserted into the soil with the lower pointed part, and after a couple of minutes, the scale will reflect the pH level of your soil with an accuracy of tenths. It seems that in all gardening you need to have such a device. If you buy it with a joint, it will not be at all expensive, but it will be beneficial for all members of the partnership, since they will be able to determine the acidity of their soil and will know what needs to be done to get a good harvest.
But what should be done if the device showed that you have high soil acidity? It is necessary to fight this phenomenon, since acidic soil is less fertile than, for example, neutral, and many vegetables and fruits grow poorly on it, plants are oppressed and get sick a lot. Their roots branch poorly, the yield decreases.
Therefore, if, after applying one or another method for determining the acidity of the soil, it turned out that they are acidic, then they need to be deoxidized. Several agents can be used to neutralize such soils. The most ancient method, it was used by our distant ancestors, is the introduction of wood ash into the soil. True, they did not collect it. They used the so-called slash-and-burn agriculture, which was based on the burning of the forest, after which cultivated plants were planted in this place.
The ancestors, of course, did not know then about the acidity of the soil. They simply freed some territory from the forest and knew that after a fire it would be good to give birth to rye, oats, cabbage or turnip. Ash from numerous burnt trees and shrubs reduced the acidity of forest soils, and, in addition, as you know, it is a good fertilizer, which contains more than thirty elements that feed plants. For example, ash contains potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, silicon, sulfur and others. There is only nitrogen in it. When this piece of land was depleted, our ancestors freed a new one for crops by fire, and a forest was gradually revived on the old one.
Of course, collecting such an amount of ash, which was formed as a result of forest burning, will not work now, but if you constantly live in the country and use firewood for heating, then it is quite possible to collect several bags of dry ash. Or you can build a small stove on the site in which to burn all the dry branches from the garden and the nearest forest. Then, with the help of the resulting ash, you can deoxidize part of the garden or garden.
According to experts, if the soil is highly acidic, then you need to add about 700 g of ash per square meter. But if you add it to the soil and less than this rate, but regularly, then you are unlikely to have it sour. Most likely, it will already be neutral. If you store quite a bit of ash, try to bring it to the garden bed where you sow the beet seeds, then you will definitely be with the harvest, if, of course, you provide the seedlings with good care.
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This is an effective but long-standing method of soil improvement, but not everyone can stock up on ash. Therefore, now other methods are more often used. Acidic soils are now most often corrected by adding lime or other calcareous materials to the soil. Unlike ash, they are sold at gardening stores. Agronomists recommend adding up to 50 kilograms of lime to one hundred square meters of the garden to correct highly acidic soils.
On acidic soils, up to 40 kilograms will be required, on slightly acidic soils - at least 30 kilograms per hundred square meters. They bring it in in the fall, scattering it in an even layer over the soil surface before digging the site. It is necessary to try to mix lime with soil when digging, then the effect of its introduction will manifest itself faster. It should not be applied unevenly, as in case of an overdose, this can lead to plant burns.
Having calcified your site in this way, you will provide the soil with a neutral reaction for almost ten years, and then the liming will need to be repeated.
If you have fresh manure, it should not be brought in for digging in the fall along with lime. From their interaction, a significant amount of nitrogen will be lost from the manure.
In addition to lime, other lime materials can be found in gardening stores. Most often it is dolomite flour. It is not as effective as lime, which means that more of it needs to be applied. Here are the norms that are indicated in the passport of this lime fertilizer:
- acidic soils (pH less than 4.5): 500-600 g per 1m² or (5-6 t / ha);
- medium acid (pH 4.5-5.2): 450-500 g per 1m² or (4.5-6 t / ha);
- slightly acidic (pH 5.2-5.6): 350-450 g per 1m² or (3.5-4.5 t / ha).
On light soils, the dose is reduced by 1.5 times, and on heavy clay soils, it is increased by 10-15%. For a more effective action of dolomite flour during its introduction, it is necessary to achieve a uniform distribution of limestone flour over the entire area of the site. When the full dose is applied, the liming effect lasts for 8-10 years. The effectiveness of dolomite flour increases with the simultaneous introduction of boric and copper micronutrients (boric acid and copper sulfate).
Dolomite flour has one more advantage: it not only deoxidizes the soil, but also enriches it with calcium, magnesium and other useful microelements.
Experts also recommend sowing green manures on the beds vacated after harvesting to reduce the acidity of the soil: rye, white mustard, phacelia, oats, and then mowing the green mass and embedding it into the soil. If this becomes a good tradition for you, then you will forget about the acidic soil.