Put on your lab coats and pop on your goggles because it’s time to talk science.
We know what you’re thinking—this is a landscaping blog; why are we breaking out the microscopes and using fancy scientific words?
Because much of landscaping is science.
Now that your mind is sufficiently blown, let’s get to the point. Soil pH is a big deal, and it has a tremendous impact on the health of your landscape. After all, the plants adorning your property grow in—you guessed it—soil, making dirt a pretty big deal.
What is soil pH, and why are we coming at you with hard and fast science? You’ll have to read on to find out!
The Down and Dirty on Soil pH
Lean in, and we’ll tell you a little secret—pH is not a term exclusively reserved for soil. We know; we know; you didn’t sign up for a science lesson. So, we’ll keep this brief.
First, let’s break down what the letters represent. That funky lowercase “p” stands for the word “potential.” The capital “H?” That one represents hydrogen. Based on this, we can conclude that pH means potential hydrogen.
Since that might mean nothing to you, let’s go a step farther and try to make this science lesson more applicable to the real world. pH provides a way to measure the hydrogen ion activity within any given substance. So, when we talk about soil pH, we are actually referring to its level of acidity or alkalinity.
At the bottom of the pH scale, we have acids (not good for soil). At the top of the scale, we have extreme alkalinity (also not good). Because this scale goes from 0 to 14, we can conclude that the center (7) is neutral.
What Soil pH is Best?
Tired of the science lesson yet?
We hope not because this is where things get interesting and applicable to the real-world.
Plants perform their best and are healthiest when grown in soils with certain pH levels. Further, different plants have different pH preferences, meaning that one plant may thrive in your property’s soil, while another may struggle to even survive.
The keys are knowing the pH levels of your soil and planting accordingly or adjusting your soil’s pH levels to be more suitable for the plants you have or want. As such, there is not necessarily a universal “best” soil pH; rather, the best soil pH is dependent on your desires and needs!
Determining and Adjusting Soil pH
You now know that the pH of your soil needs to be within certain ranges for particular plants to thrive. The next step, then, is to evaluate your soil’s pH.
The good news is that you can retire your lab coat, gloves, and goggles because your local landscaping professionals can test your soil for you. They’ll simply send out some technicians to collect several soil samples from around your property, mix them appropriately, and send them off to a lab to be assessed.
When the results are returned, they are reviewed before any action is taken on your property.
Once the pH levels are determined, steps can be taken to correct them and make them more suitable for your plants. This is done by applying certain elements to the soil that affect the pH levels. For example, if the pH levels are low (acidic), lime can be added to increase pH and make the soil less acidic.
If you want your property to be lush and vibrant, checking and adjusting the soil’s pH levels can lead to integral insights and corrective measures to ensure those goals can be attained. While you can take on this task alone, it is far better to employ the aid of experienced landscape professionals.
Landcrafters has honed its reputation as professional industry experts over 20 years of elevating Florida properties. It can test your soil’s pH levels and work with you to develop an appropriate plan of action to boost your property from average to exceptional.
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