Gardening Tips /

Is your soil’s pH level right for your plants?

Did you know that plants don’t all need the same pH? Most prefer soil with balanced pH while others, like berries, need lower pH soil for optimal growth.

strawberries

The pH level affects the soil’s ability to release nutrients – and the plants’ ability to absorb them. When the soil pH is off, the plants cannot absorb all the nutrients they need, even though they are present in the soil.

What is pH?

The pH (hydrogen potential) represents the soil’s acidity or alkalinity level on a scale of 0 to 14 (pH 7 = neutral). A pH level of below 7 is considered acidic, while a pH level of higher than 7 is considered alkaline. To give you an idea, vinegar and cola have a pH level of below 3 while baking soda and soap have a pH level of above 8.

How to measure pH?
To correctly determine your soil’s pH, you can use a pH-metre or soil test kit. Some garden centres even offer the service – ask them!

The results of this test will allow you not only to determine the pH but also the nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium levels in your soil. This will help you understand what adjustments to make to correct the pH level and fertilizer requirements of your garden.

Plants generally need a slightly acidic pH of between 6 and 7, but there are some exceptions!

Plants that prefer “acidic” soil
Many plants prefer acidic soil (pH 5.5 – 6.0). These include Serviceberry, Chokeberry, Blue Beech, white and red oak, Sweetfern, alternate-leaved dogwood, false cypress, spruce, fern, strawberry, raspberry, Witch-Hazel, Holly, Yew, Magnolia, larch, hemlock and fir.

Fafard’s Acid loving plants and berries soil mix is specially designed for these plants. Apply it by mixing it in equal parts with the existing soil.

Plants that prefer “highly acidic” soil
Some plants prefer highly acidic soil (pH 4.0 – 5.4) including Bog Rosemary, Azalea, Blueberry, Heather, Sweet pepperbush, Hydrangea, Laurel, Rhododendron, Bearberry, and Wintergreen.

Fafard’s Acid loving plants and berries soil mix is used exclusively. There’s no need to mix it with the existing soil.

To ensure your project is successful, regularly use Natural fertilizer for acid loving plants and berries to keep the pH at the right level.

Download our fact sheet: How to Grow Berries in Pot?

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