What is soil pH and why should I care?
At some point, you’ve probably heard that your soil’s pH level should be “at the correct level” and that it should be “monitored and adjusted as needed.”
But what is soil pH, why does soil pH matter, and how do you even adjust your soil’s pH level?
If you’re thinking about entering the world of gardening, these are all important questions that should not be left unanswered. So let’s take a few minutes to answer the biggest questions about soil pH.
What is soil pH?
Soil pH is simply the level of how alkaline or acidic your soil is. You can think of it as a scale, going from 1 to 14. Anything below 7 would be considered acidic, and anything above 7 would be considered alkaline. And of course, a pH level of 7 would be “just right.”
But then again, a measurement of 7 is not always “just right.” In some cases, certain plants call for soil that’s more acidic or more alkaline (but more on that later), and over time, many plants have adjusted to thrive in pH levels ranging anywhere from 6 to 7.
In other words, you typically don’t need to drive yourself crazy striving for that perfect soil pH level of 7. However, you still might be asking yourself, “What’s the right pH level for my soil and the plants growing in it?” So let’s just go ahead and answer that question.
What’s the right pH level for my soil?
Again, anything between a pH level of 6 and 7 will typically fare pretty well for most garden plants. As we mentioned before, however, there are certain plants that need the soil to be more acidic or more alkaline — like blueberries and asparagus.
But rather than list every tree, vegetable, shrub, and flower out there, just take a look at this comprehensive list from The Old Farmer’s Almanac. This list is a great starting point.
Why should I care about the pH level of my soil?
So we’ve discussed what soil pH is and shown you the path to a well-built list of common plants and their desired pH levels — but why should you care?
What does a good or bad soil pH level do to your plants? Will they die if the soil isn’t right or will they just come out looking a little wonky?
To answer this question, think about Goldilocks. Her porridge isn’t too hot or too cold, and because of that, she’s able to eat all her porridge and receive all the sustenance from it. That same concept can be applied to your soil.
If the pH level is too high or too low, then your plants will not be able to soak up all the nutrients from the soil — mainly because some of them simply won’t be available. And this is incredibly important to understand since many of the nutrients essential for plant growth come from the soil.
Actually, you might even be able to tell whether or not your soil is more acidic or more alkaline just by looking at your plants.
For example, yellowing veins on plant leaves could indicate an iron deficiency, which could also mean that the soil is not acidic enough. This problem, along with others like stunted growth, can mean that your plant isn’t receiving all the nutrients it should be receiving from the soil — again, making it incredibly important to be aware of soil pH.
How do I fix soil pH?
When it comes to adjusting the pH level of your soil, there are a variety of techniques you can use (most of which won’t solve your problem overnight). And for many people, their go-to solution is to purchase an in-home pH testing kit. But those kits do nothing to actually fix the root of the issue, and to make matters worse, those kits might not even be entirely accurate.
However, we’re only going to give you one suggestion — because it’s the simplest way to keep your soil’s pH level at its best and there’s no in-home testing required.
GardenMAX from Green As It Gets is a soil treatment for gardens, and TurfMax from Green As It Gets is a soil treatment for lawns. Both soil products are formulated with over 50 different ingredients to transform your soil into a place plants love to grow. These innovative soil products can treat and correct a wide range of soil problems simultaneously — and that includes your soil’s pH level.
And what’s even better is that all you have to do is apply GardenMAX or TurfMAX to the top of your soil — no mixing or tilling necessary.
Want to keep learning? Check out this post on how to achieve healthy garden soil.