What Is Soil pH and Why Should I Care?
A Very Good Question! “What is soil pH and Why Should I Care?” Read about acidity vs. alkalinity & correcting soil pH in your lawn & garden.
At some point, you’ve probably heard that your soil’s pH level should be “at the correct level.” And you’ve probably heard 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?
pH stands for “Potential Hydrogen,” and 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 from 6 to 7.
In other words, you don’t need to get too bewildered 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. But as we mentioned, there are certain plants that need the soil to be more acidic or more alkaline. A couple of examples are blueberries and asparagus. Blueberries thrive in pH of 4.5-5.5, while asparagus will thrive in a pH as high as 8.
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 Does the pH Level of My Soil Matter?
We’ve discussed what soil pH is and shown you how some plants require different 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 the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. Her porridge was “just right,” so she was 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, your plants won’t be able to absorb the nutrients from the soil. This is because some of the nutrients simply won’t be available. 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 mean the soil is not acidic enough. Other problems, like stunted growth, can mean that plants aren’t receiving the nutrients it should be receiving from the soil. This is why it’s very important to be aware of your soil’s pH level.
How Do I Fix the pH Levels?
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 products are formulated with over 50 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, including 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.
Now, the next time a friend asks you, “What Is Soil pH and Why Should I Care?” You’ll be able to give an expert answer!
Want to keep learning? Check out this post on Improving Garden Soil: 3 Ways to Healthy Garden Soil.