Understanding Soil pH values

The pH value of a medium is how acidic or alkaline it is on the pH scale. The pH of a medium is measured based on the pH scale. The scale ranges from 0 to 14. Value of 7 on the scale is considered to be neutral, while values below 7 are acidic and above 7 are alkaline.

In soils, the pH values control most chemical processes such as nutrient availability. It is very crucial to maintain a proper level of pH in the soil to enable the plants to reach their full potential.

For most plants, the optimal pH range is between 5.5 to 7. However, some plants prefer a pH value of more or less than the common range. For example, blueberries and barley prefer a more acidic medium. While Lilac and Leather flower prefers an acidic pH value to grow in.

In certain cases, the pH value of a certain part of soil can become acidic. This happens due to a few reasons:

  1. Removal of produce

The parts of a plant, except the roots, is generally alkaline. Only the roots tend to be acidic. Therefore, when the plant is removed from the soil, some part of the roots remain and causes acidity

2. Nitrogen leaching from the roots of the crop

Since most fertilizers contain nitrogen, most of the nitrogen is stored in the roots of the plants. There is no doubt that a certain amount leaches out of the roots into the soil, thus increasing soil acidity in the area.

** Credit: Dwight Sipler @ Flickr for the Blue Hydrangea