Useful Tips

9 ways to determine the acidity of the soil in the area


Acidity is the level of free hydrogen ions in the soil released as a result of chemical reactions. The acidic environment is characterized by a high content of manganese and aluminum. Most crops cannot fully grow and bear fruit in this type of soil, so they die within a few weeks after planting.

How to determine soil acidity in plants

To determine whether the acidic environment or not, you can visually by looking at what plants grow on the site. Hydrangea hydrangea can be attributed to indicator plants - the higher the acidity, the closer the shade of its flowers to blue. With an abundance of alkali, hydrangea blooms only in pink. Beets planted in acidic soils are distinguished by the red color of the tops.

Soil Acidity Levels

The following plants grow well in soil with high acidity:

  • Vegetable crops - cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, pumpkin, potatoes, beans (only a slightly acidic environment is suitable),
  • Fruit group - sea buckthorn, gooseberries, currants,
  • Flowers - roses, geraniums, peonies, buttercups, daffodils, tulips,
  • Weeds - horsetail, clover, plantain, bindweed, fern, nettle, euphorbia, cornflower.

Sorrel is not a weed, it does not apply to vegetables or fruits, but accepts an exclusively acidic environment. If the acidity has reached a pH of less than 4, you must add sand and lime to the soil, water it with the addition of nitrogen fertilizers. It is advisable to do this 2-3 times a month, early in the morning or late in the evening. Otherwise, even this unpretentious plant may die.

With red cabbage

The leaves of red cabbage must be crushed to a state of gruel, pour water and boil over low heat for about half an hour. After the boiling water acquires a purple hue, it will be necessary to insist for several hours and strain. Having placed a soil sample in the container (1 teaspoon per 200 ml of solution), you can immediately get the result:

  • Violet - neutral soil,
  • Blue or green solution - alkaline soil,
  • Pink - sour.
Methods for determining soil acidity

Litmus determinant of soil acidity

Paper strips soaked with litmus infusion turn red in an acidic environment and turn blue when alkaline. Compared with folk methods, litmus determines the type of medium with minimal error. Similar devices are used in medicine. The cost of such an indicator is from 30 rubles. To get the correct result, the study must be carried out according to the following algorithm:

  • From a depth of 25-30 cm, take a sample of the earth and place it in gauze,
  • Pour 5 tablespoons of distilled water into the container,
  • Put gauze and earth in water for 15 minutes,
  • Pull out the sample and place the indicator in the container for several seconds,
  • Compare the color that the strip acquired with the indicator scale on the package.

Using chalk

Pour a soil sample (about 1 teaspoon) into the bottle, chopped chalk and fill it with warm water. A fingertip is put on the neck. If in a few minutes he began to inflate - the soil is acidic. For the accuracy of the experiment, it is necessary to do several experiments, taking the soil at different elevations: from the surface, depth 10, 20, 30, 50 cm. If acidity is observed at the minimum elevation, soil can be deoxidized by mixing it with lime. In other cases, it is better to plant the plot with crops with a superficial root system (legumes, cauliflower, dill).

Using vinegar

At a depth of about 25 cm, a soil sample is taken, which is placed in a container and poured with table vinegar in a 1: 1 ratio. It is important that the soil taken for research is dry, otherwise the result may not be correct. Next, follow the reaction:

  • Zero - acidic soil,
  • Stormy, with a lot of foam, hissing and steam - alkaline,
  • Negligible amount of foam - neutral.

Using grape juice

A soil sample is placed in 50 ml of natural freshly squeezed juice. If there is a reaction with abundant release of foam, the soil is alkaline or neutral. The absence of changes indicates that an acidic or slightly acidic soil was investigated. It is not possible to determine more precisely how oxidized the medium is. The method gives only a general idea.

Using hydrochloric acid

A pit about 1 m deep is dug. A 5% saline solution is gently poured inside. Boiling and hissing indicate that the soil is alkaline. The absence of reaction or its slight manifestation - the soil is acidic or slightly acidic. The experiment can be carried out at different depths to get a more accurate result. A check at a depth of 1 meter is relevant if the orchard is planned to be laid at the investigated site.

Soil Acid Detector

Quickly and accurately determine the type of soil using special tools. They are offered to consumers in a wide range. Optimal in terms of price and quality are:

  • Alyamovsky device. The kit includes: instructions and a scale for exemplary paints, an indicator, a solution of potassium chloride, test tubes and a tripod. Determination of soil acidity is identical to the procedure for working with litmus paper. Cost - from 500 rubles.
  • Megeon 35280. It belongs to the category of professional equipment used by specialists whose activities are related to gardening. You just need to insert the tripod into the ground, and after a few seconds the result will appear on the display. Price - from 720 rubles.
  • AMT-300. A portable device that performs the functions of several instruments for soil: pH meter, moisture meter, thermometer and light meter. It can be used by professionals and amateurs, it gives an accurate result in a few seconds. Cost - from 1500 rubles.

Method number 1. Litmus test

This simple acidity analyzer is sold in horticultural stores, pharmacies, chemist specialty stores, and online. It consists of a number of strips treated with a special reagent, which changes color depending on the reaction of the medium. All the necessary data on the correspondence of the obtained color and pH level is in the kit.

The order of your actions is as follows:

  1. Take samples of the earth from different depths and from different beds. If you want to calculate the average value of acidity in the country, just choose the soil from different places in random order. Just keep in mind that according to the laws of statistics, the average value will be reliable only if the number of samples is at least 30. Ten samples are the minimum, although then there will be a serious error.
  2. Wrap the selected soil in a three-layer gauze and dip it into a jar of clean distilled water. It must be purchased separately at the pharmacy.
  3. Shake the jar of liquid thoroughly and then dip the litmus test into water for a couple of seconds until it changes color.
  4. Determine the acidity of the insert in the kit and repeat this procedure for the remaining samples.

Method number 3. Soil meter

Now the modern gardener is available a whole line of multifunctional devices. They allow you to accurately determine the reaction of the soil, its moisture, temperature, illumination and other parameters.

The advantage of such gadgets is that they are purchased once and for a lifetime, and the biting price is a fat minus.

Method number 5. Vinegar or hydrochloric acid

Next, I will describe several popular methods for measuring soil pH. They are not as reliable as various purchased devices and laboratory laboratory tests, but they are cheap and quick to execute..

With this method, you need to lightly pour a handful of earth from the garden with firmly diluted hydrochloric acid or ordinary vinegar. If the moistened earth begins to “boil,” that is, small bubbles will appear on its surface, which means that the pH value for this sample is normal. If you did not wait for any reaction, then the soil requires liming.

Method number 6. Currant leaves (cherries, bird cherry)

In the glass container, place the leaves of one of the plants and pour boiling water (4-5 leaves should be used for 1 glass). After cooling the water, throw the prepared soil sample into the resulting broth. If the water changes color to red, the soil is acidic, blue to slightly acidic, and green to neutral.

Method number 7. Grape juice

For this option, you will need a glass of grape juice into which the soil taken from the garden is lowered. If the juice changes color and for a long time there will remain bubbles on its surface - you can rejoice, you have normal (neutral) soil in the area.

Method number 8. Chalk

The method is more complicated than the previous ones, but I consider it necessary to mention it to complete the picture.

You will need: two full tablespoons of garden soil, five tablespoons of room temperature water, one teaspoon of chalk.

All this good is poured into a bottle, on the neck of which they put a fingertip (for sewing), previously freed from air. The bottle is placed on paper so that the heat from your hands does not distort the results of the experiment.

If the soil on your site does not have enough lime (that is, it is acidic), then during the chemical reaction carbon dioxide will appear in the bottle. It will begin to rapidly fill the fingertip and it will straighten up. If the soil has a slightly acidic reaction, then the fingertip will only half straighten, with a neutral one it will not straighten at all.

Method number 9. Weeds on the site

The simplest indicator of soil acidity is weeds that have chosen your summer house. The only thing here is to analyze wisely and look only at the most common weeds. After all, random guests brought in with seedlings cannot serve as a reliable basis for reliable conclusions.

In the table below, I have provided a list of weeds grouped by the nature of their preferred soil.

An error crept into the tablet - nettle in the area indicates neutral, not acidic soil!

This is not an exhaustive list of methods for determining acidic soil. At my site for testing soil acidity, I use Garden Show litmus paper. The set includes 80 strips, which I have for three years - I usually measure twice a year, in spring and autumn. At the same time, every time I spend 10-12 strips in a garden of 5 acres.

Share it if you have any of your methods or best practices on this topic and I will definitely supplement them with this article.

About folk methods for measuring the pH of garden soil in detail and interestingly described in the video.

What is soil acidity

Remembering that in the composition of different soils in certain combinations there are many chemicals, you need to take into account a special element - hydrogen. It is the amount of hydrogen ions that determines the level of soil acidity, which is denoted as pH. Having determined this level, it is checked with a special pH scale to know exactly what soil you have to deal with.

Anything less than this indicator indicates a different degree of soil acidity. A level above 7.0 indicates that we have soils with a predominance of varying degrees of alkali.
Soil soil in terms of acidity refers to one of the main types:

Highly acidic soilpH = 3.5 to 4.5 units
Acidic soilpH = 4.6 to 5.3 units
Slightly acid soilpH = 5.4 to 6.3 units
Neutral soilpH = 6.4 to 7.3 units
Alkaline soils of varying degreespH = 7.4 to 9.0 units

The relationship of soil acidity to plants

Knowing the acidity of the soil you work on is not just for information. The main thing is to put this information into practice.
Gardeners should consider the effect of soil acidity on plants. After all, the nutrients that they bring into the soil, in different soils dissolve and assimilate differently, are more or less accessible for plantings.

To provide timely and necessary assistance to your plantings, you need to know what the acidity of the soil is on your site.

Video "How to determine the acidity of the soil"

Determine the acidity of the soil

Determination of soil acidity is a process, the results of which are necessary for each owner of a personal plot.
It is most correct to perform soil analysis at the initial stage of land development. However, it is never too late to find out the features of the soil of the site. If you still do not know the acidity of the land on which you grow plants, you should determine it. Your care of plants will become more literate and beneficial.

You can find out the acidity of the soil using chemical analysis of the soil, performed by special laboratories.
The industry also offers a special instrument for measuring soil pH to help land owners.

Gardeners have gained extensive experience in determining the acidity of the soil and independently, from plants on the site. At the same time, observation and analysis methods are also used, and various plants and the features of their development become the object of study.

In addition, when determining the acidity of the soil, you can use improvised means:

  1. Litmus,
  2. Vinegar,
  3. Plant-based fluids.

Let us consider in more detail how to determine the acidity of the soil at home.

We buy the device and the litmus

If you want to use special tools, they will have to be purchased in specialized stores.
Such funds include:

  • PH tester

Having bought a special device - an acid meter, they determine the pH level of the soil, following the instructions. Since the device has a long probe, you can determine the level at different depths. The figure that appears on the scale after a while, it will be enough to correlate with the types of soil.

Using such a device is not difficult. However, it is worth buying if it is supposed to be used repeatedly, for example, by teaming with neighbors in the plots. Buying a device for single use is hardly advisable for most land owners.
In this case, it is cheaper to purchase special litmus strips.

Purchased indicator strips should also be used in accordance with the instructions. Determine the level of acidity using litmus can only be in a liquid medium. Therefore, you should prepare a solution using the analyzed soil. Soil samples for analysis are recommended to be taken from the entire site. Soil samples are dissolved in a small amount of water (a glass is enough), then the litmus strips are lowered there and a change in their color is observed. The resulting color is checked against the scale on the package, and having learned the pH data, correlate them with the indicators of different soils.

But even when there is neither a device nor indicator strips at hand, you can determine what type of soil a particular soil belongs to.

Weeds to help

Weeds, which gardeners consider their enemies, can help in this case! Because weeds, like other plants, show selectivity to the type of soil. Having carefully looked at what exactly prevails on the site, soil acidity can be determined quite accurately from weeds.

  • On acidic soils (clay, peat bogs), stagnation of water is often observed due to the high level of soil density. This will not become an obstacle to the abundant growth of sorrel and plantain, horsetail or moss, wild mustard, woodlice, sedge, lupins or buttercups.
  • Neutral soil (chernozem) or slightly acidic soil (loam) is preferred by wheat grass and quinoa, bindweed and chamomile, nettle, clover and cornflower.
  • Alkaline soil (with a predominance of sand) can be recognized by plants, wild poppy or field mustard, wormwood.

Using tea

To determine the type of soil, you need to make special tea, using not tea leaves, but cherry leaves or currant leaves. After insisting for 15-20 minutes, the soil is added to the resulting solution. Now pay attention to the color change of the infusion. The solution stains blue when acidic soil is added, it turns green if neutral or alkaline soil has been added.

Acidity and garden crops

When planning your beds and flower beds, you should take into account what soil acidity should be for certain plants, know their peculiar preferences.

Many cultivated flower crops need soil with a neutral pH index.

Acidic soil is suitable for junipers, azaleas, violets, lilies of the valley, lupins, hydrangeas.

Did you know that the color of garden hydrangea flowers depends on the acidity of the soil, read How to change the color of hydrangea

Slightly acidic soil will also provide an opportunity to develop well already listed crops. Roses, chamomiles, lilies, phloxes, and also pine trees grown on such soil will delight.

On alkaline soils, clematis, peony, delphinium and other plants will feel good.

Soil acidity reduction

Knowing which soil is the most optimal for the plants that you have chosen to plant, and also having an idea of ​​the pH level of the soil of vegetable and flower beds, you will know in which area of ​​the site you need to change the soil. Повлиять на ее кислотность, сделать ее более или менее кислой, в зависимости от предназначения для выращивания определенных культур, возможно.
Чтобы снизить кислотность, «раскислить» почву, необходимо внести в грунт специальные вещества: золу, известь, мел или специальные препараты.

Способы снижения кислотности почвы.

Один из доступных и результативных способ раскисления почвы — добавление древесной золы. It is used to reduce acidity in the fall, application rates: 600 g of ash per 1 sq. Km. m of soil.
It should be noted that the alkaline basis of ash, in addition to deoxidation of the soil, can deprive plants of access to nutrients in the soil due to a chemical reaction. This should be borne in mind for the next year, using foliar methods of feeding.

Slaked lime (fluff) is a very strong deoxidizer. It is also used in the autumn period, when fertilizer application to the soil is stopped. An even layer of lime applied to the soil is recommended to be repaired with soil using a rake and then watered. This procedure is carried out before the autumn digging. The rate of lime per 1 square. m are different: from 250-350 g - on slightly acidic soil to 500-750 g - on strongly acidic soil.

Video "How to determine the acidity of the soil and methods for its deoxidation"

On sandy and sandy loamy soil, a less powerful deoxidizing agent, chalk, can be used. It can be applied not only in autumn, but also in spring, applying to moist soil.
Application rates per 1 sq. Km: from 100-200 g - on slightly acidic soil, up to 300-400 g - on strongly acidic soil.

Other deoxidation methods

In addition to the introduction of these alkaline substances, it is possible to deoxidize the soil by purchasing special preparations for a comprehensive effect on the soil. They should be applied in the fall according to the instructions, then it is recommended to water and dig the soil.
You can also use natural deoxidizers - siderates. They are sown in the winter, and then planted in the soil when digging.

Soil Acidity

Often, a gardener needs to increase the acidity of the soil, make it less alkaline and more suitable for seedlings.
It is possible to make the soil softer and saturate it with air using substances that act as oxidizing agents of the soil:

All of the listed substances, except for needles and urea, are recommended to be added to the soil in the fall, followed by digging.

The needles act as an oxidizing agent when used for mulching.

Urea has the ability to reduce the alkaline indicator of the soil, leading it to a neutral state. Therefore, urea as a component is present in special complex mineral fertilizers.

When introducing oxidizing agents, one should be attentive to changes in soil quality by constantly analyzing its pH index so as not to make the soil excessively acidic.
Armed with knowledge of soil acidity, how to check this level and change it, you will make the results of your work more effective.