Adjusting soil ph Obvious to some but not me

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by pinenut, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. pinenut

    pinenut Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Whitehorse, Yukon Zone 0b or 1a
    When you want acid soil, is it possible to get it with "fertilizer for acid loving plants", or do you have to add something different to the soil?
    Carl
     
  2. lhuget

    lhuget Active Member

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    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada Zone 3a
    I'm certainly no expert but I increase the acidity for certain plants by digging in pine and spruce needles and duff. I grind them up in my leaf vac and I've also used a food processor to do it. If you don't have pine/spruce it's probable that your municipality would appreciate a clean up under these trees in the municipal parks so that's a good source. Call them and I bet you'll get a green light. Also a great source for leaf mulch in the fall. Hope this helps.

    edit: just noticed your location. Get yourself into the bush my friend. Black spruce fallout aplenty. If you dig down you will find great decayed needles (duff). It will be perfect to increase your acidity.

    Les
     
  3. Chuck White

    Chuck White Active Member

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    Location:
    Florida,USA
    IF your soil is NOT acid, it is difficult, if not impossible, to amend the soil as to make it permanently acid. There are, however, many ways to amend the soil so as to create an acid root environment that is longer or shorter lasting, depending on what it was that you used as an amendment. If you read the label on a fertilizer that is for "acid loving plants" you will probably find that there is one or more constituent(s) containing the element Sulphur. This might be manesium sulphate, iron sulphate, sulphur, or any number of chemicals that are carrying sulphur that can be acted upon by bacteria with a by-product being sulphuric acid, which will tend to acidify your soil.
    The addition of pine bark mulch, fir bark mulch, or similar acid bearing top dressings will tend, again, to acidify your soil on a temporary basis(from a few weeks to maybe 3-4 months), but it is a temporary 'fix'.
    A plant product perveyer will surely have or be able to get an inexpensive pH tester for you. 7.0 being chemically neutral, ANY number below that is ACID, and any number above the 7.0 is on the alkaline side. Some test kits are very inexpensive, and if you have an Agricultural Extension Office of your State University in Whitehorse, their lab is in business to test your soil for you. Good luck!
     
  4. lhuget

    lhuget Active Member

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    Location:
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    Chuck with the abundance of natural acidic mulch in the arctic I think Pinenut will be just find with local additives. Yes it won't be a one time "fix"; the soil will have to continually amended but its easily doable in my opinion. I did it spring, mid-season and fall when I lived in the Arctic and it worked for me.

    Les
     
  5. Chuck White

    Chuck White Active Member

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    Les, you can safely presume that I have no acquaintance with what pinenut might have available as an amendment material, but I guess most of us have some generic modifier, like 'bark'. You are a little closer to pinenut than am I, and would have a better 'feel' for that which would be near at hand. Thanks for jumping in. Chuck
     
  6. lhuget

    lhuget Active Member

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    Thanks Chuck. I'm in a more urban environment now so rely heavily on advice like yours for what will work for me now.

    Les
     
  7. pinenut

    pinenut Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Whitehorse, Yukon Zone 0b or 1a
    Thanks folks. I'm not too concerned about the dirt in my yard which originally supported spruce/pine/aspen and now an overabundance of rosebushes. Was mostly looking for answers for seedlings which are still indoors. Now I have enough ideas to play with. Thanks.
    Carl
     
  8. cowboy

    cowboy Active Member

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    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    Rain water has a pH of 5.4. So using rain water for watering seedlings would be a good way to help keep the pH down.
     

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