I just received my soil test. It indicated a ph of 7.6. When I called
the company that did the test, they said that 7.6 was not a problem. Other
tests was about normal. The organic mater was 5.4. The reason I ordered
the test that nothing grows very well. What is your thought on this?
Soil must drain well -- if you have clay one foot down, it will never
drain well, & plants will be too wet too often to thrive.
Soil should have a high portion of organic matter in it, requiring in some
cases quite literally tons of compost or peat to be worked deeply into the
soil before planting begins.
Soil should not be compacted on the surface, or mild waterings or rainfall
will not do more than dampen the surface & never reach the plants' roots.
Adequate watering that penetrates deeply but drains swiftly is required of
the majority of garden plants.
Adequate sunlight is required.
Adequate microorganisms in the soil are required because they are what
manufacture nitrogens & make sugars accessible for plant use.
Microorganisms will never be adequate in soil with very little organic
matter in it, or which is too often too dry or too wet.
Gardening takes a knack that can be honed over time, & once you get the
knack, it may not even be possible to figure out what it was you must have
done wrong before things started working out so well. The acts of
correcing whatever is obviously wrong will help in acquiring the knack
that some call a Green Thumb.
Plant choices should be zone-approrpriate so that your weather patterns
don't just kill stuff.
You don't give enough information for a definitive answer, but my guess is
if you deeply worked all the soil with a shitload of compost, you'd see
-paghat the ratgirl
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
On Fri, 20 Aug 2004 21:27:25 -0400, "Gary and Karen Manning"
Is the 5.4 a percentage? If so, add compost to your soil. It will
help neutralize the slightly alkaline condition you have too. I would
not try to adjust the pH, but that depends on what you are trying to
I think one can make the argument that a pH of 7.6 is not the middle of the
scale and may be more detrimental than not. The changes in pH is a
logarithmic progression with each point being a 10 fold increase over the
preceeding. Therefore, ericaceous plants like rhododendrons and azaleas
which would prefer a soil pH in the 4.5 to 5.2 range or more than 100 times
more acidic than the existing 7.6 conditions. Hardly "slightly " more
By far the majority of plants will thrive in soils with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0
or slightly acidic to neutral. Too much digression in either direction will
limit the nutrient availability and restrict the selection. If given a
choice, I'd err on the side of more acidic soil rather one that is more
While soil pH is definitely an important consideration, it is, as paghat has
pointed out, only one consideration in determining how well plants will
survive in the landscape. There are many other issues which may have as
large if not a larger bearing on plant health. Without knowing in more
detail exactly what your soil and growing conditions are like, it is pretty
difficult to speculate on why your plants are not thriving.
pam - gardengal
i would have to agree with a lot of what "gardengal" says below.
i have soil ph at 7.7 and despite adding mountains of organic matter over
the last 3 years, i've yet to get it to budge closer to neutral. my soil is
a sandy loam and with all the organic matter, my garden is more robust than
any of my friend's/family's. so, soil ph of 7.6 can be a limiting factor but
only to the point that you're unwilling to improve your soil. ph of 6.5 is
near perfect for most veggies. it's also possible to lower your ph using
sulfur but many studies suggest that any gain you get is offset by the
negative effects of sulfur.
bottomline - organic matter fixes all soil problems - with fall on the
horizon, rescue as many bags of leaves from the curbside and til them into
your soil this fall. keep doing this til your soil can hold no more (i til
in at least 12 inces every fall). by the time u plant next spring, the
leaves will have rotted into your soil. repeat every fall and watch your
soil pay dividends....
Depends a lot on what you want to grow, but it does sound a little too
alkaline for a lot of plants. But the again will suit many others.
If your interested in rose growing you will find a useful article on the
Bexrose web site http://home.btconnect.com/cadoss/bexrose that discusses
soil Ph values and some remedies for the situation that you might have. The
advice given will also suit the growing of many other plants of course.
Bexrose - Webmaster
Web Site: http://home.btconnect.com/cadoss/bexrose
When I wanted to acidify some soil for blueberries I obtained a 50lb
bag of agricultural sulfur from snow-pond supply. It is pretty hard to
come by locally as out soils tend towards acid in the northeast.
Try snow-pond in a search engine they have a big list of organic
ammendments and such.
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