Understanding pH Levels: What Your Soil pH Meter is Telling You

Understanding pH Levels: What Your Soil pH Meter is Telling You


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  • Source: Microbioz India

  • Date: 03 Feb,2024

There is very valuable information on the acidy or alkalinity of the soil from a soil pH meter. For effective farming and gardening, knowledge in pH levels is vital because it affects how nutrients are accessible to plants.

Here’s what your soil pH meter might be telling you:

pH Scale:

  1.  From 0 to 14, pH scale ranges with 7 being neutral. Below seven signals acidic soils, whereas above seven means alkaline soils.
  2. Soil with a pH between 6 and 7 is ideal for the majority of plant life.5. Possible Problems with Acidic Soil (pH Less Than 7):
  3. First, nutrient availability: soils that are acidic make it harder to plant certain vital nutrients.

Aluminum Toxicology:

Acidic soils have the potential to release harmful amounts of aluminum.

Important Signs:

  1. On acidic soils, blueberries and azaleas do quite well.
  2. Nutrient deficits can be indicated by yellowing of the leaves, which is called chlorosis.


  1. Add lime over time, so as to raise the pH gradually
  2. Adding organic matter into the ground will help improve structure of your soil

Neutral Soil (pH Around 7):

Ideal Conditions:

  1. Most plants can thrive in neutral pH.
  2. Generally balanced nutrient availability


Many vegetables and ornamental plants prefer neutral soil


Regular testing is necessary but only minor adjustments are required.

Alkaline Soil (pH Above 7):

Potential Issues:

Nutrient Lockout:

Certain nutrients become less available

Iron Deficiency:

Plants may struggle to absorb iron


  1. Yellowing between leaf veins(interveinal chlorosis) may occur.
  2. Plants like lilacs and clematis thrive in alkaline conditions.


Add sulfur, elemental sulfur or acidic organic materials to lower pH.

Testing Frequency:

  1. When starting a new garden and experiencing plant health issues, soil pH should be tested regularly.
  2. To test for each growing season is common practice at the beginning.

Adjusting pH:

  1. Avoid shocking plants by gradually adjusting pH.
  2. Lime and sulphur are some amendments that can be used when following recommended application rates.

Choosing Plants:

  1. Choose plants that do well in your soil’s natural pH
  2. Some plants are more adaptable while others have specific pH requirements.

Observation and Monitoring:

  1. Regularly monitor plant health and growth.
  2. Adjustments might be required as time goes on since soil conditions change.

Understanding your soil’s level of acidity provides the base upon which you can create optimum growth parameters. Always adhere to best practices of amending soils and consult with local agricultural extension services for region-specific guidance on what to apply.

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