Soil pH refers to the relative acidity or alkalinity in the soil. It is directly proportional to the amount of nutrients that will be absorbed by the plants. read more to learn about this.
The most common range of soil pH is 4 to 8 pH. The optimal availability for most plant crops is 6.5 pH to 7.0 pH. If the pH is below 6. 0 some nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, are less available. When pH exceeds 7.5, iron, manganese, and phosphorus are less available. Plants have a proclivity to grow in a pH status of slightly acidic to neutral soil.
The pH level of soil is influenced by the environmental factors of vegetation types, precipitation and temperature. Areas endowed with a high amount of rainfall and has bounty of forest cover has a moderately acidic soil. On the contrary drought-prone regions of Western USA have an alkaline pH level. Regions receiving feeble rainfall have neutral pH value. Apart from this nature pH value of soil undergoes change due constructions and humanization of nature. Hence, the soil pH is not static and can be altered. An acidic soil can made alkaline with an organic matter like compost or through pine needles or peat moss. Similarly alkaline soil can be made acidic through ground limestone. Soil pH can alter throughout the year owing to amount of rainfall or depletion in certain nutrients of the soil.
While most plants can grow with ease in moderately acidic to neutral pH there are certain plants like blueberries, potatoes, azaleas, and rhododendrons. Close to neutral pH is generally very compatible to plant root growth. Both macronutrient and micronutrient is affected by the pH value of the soil.
The pH value of the soil has direct bearing on the plant. A plant growing in extremely acidic soils may exhibit symptoms of aluminium (Al), hydrogen (H) or manganese (Mn) toxicity. It may suffer from potential nutrient deficiencies of calcium and magnesium. Most nutrients that plants need can dissolve easily when the pH of the soil solution ranges from 6.0 to 7.5. Below pH 6.0, some nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, are less available. When pH exceeds 7.5, iron, manganese, and phosphorus are less available. Soil with high level of manganese can prove toxic for the plants steering way for wrinkled or cupped leaves.
Here is a list of selected ornamental plants, food plants and trees according to their affinity for pH level:
pH Value Ornamental plants Food Plants Trees
pH 4.5 Anemone, Mecanopsis and Gentians Billberry and cranberry Magnolia, Pin oak and sweet gum
pH 5.5 Chrysanthemum, Phlox and violet primrose Apple, Pineapple, Billberry, Cranberry, gooseberry and strawberries Birch, Pine, Birch, Strawberry tree, Holly and Hemlock.
pH 6.0 Calendula, Begonia, Iris, Marigold , Ageratum, Campanula and Daffodil Aubergine, Pepper, Eggplant, Gooseberry, Lemon, French Beans, apple, almond, blackberry and broccoli. Almond, Crab, Juniper, Hawthorn, Holly and Monkey Puzzle.
pH 6.75 Begonia, Bluebell, Aster, Burning Bush, Bleeding heart, Coral Bells, Feverfew and Daisy Artichoke, Beet sugar, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Avocado, Celery, lentil, cucumber, horseradish and cherries. Almond, Hawthorn, Cherry, Douglas fir, Mulberry, Holly Lilac, Eucalyptus and Poplar
So know your soil before you decide to grow your favorite plants and trees. Whether you are aiming for a fruit orchard or a floral paradise knowing the pH value will determine the growth of your plants and if your soil doesn’t have the desired pH value for growing your pet plants then you needn’t worry. All you need to do is to change the acidic soil into alkaline and vice versa. Till then happy and clean gardening!