How to Control Soil pH levels

 In Blog

Before taking on the task of describing how to control the pH level of soil, let’s take a look at  what exactly pH level is? According to mighty Google, “Soil pH is a measure of the acidity and alkalinity in soils. pH levels range from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral, below 7 acidic and above 7 alkaline. The optimal pH range for most plants is between 5.5 and 7.0”. That means plants and trees will not be able to grow well when the number goes too low or too high.



Then, how can homeowners check the pH level of the soil in their garden? The easiest way is to buy a check kit from nurseries or garden centers. Homeowners can do it themselves with vinegar and baking soda. Here are the steps to follow: Collect 1 cup of soil from different parts of your garden and put 2 spoonfuls into separate containers. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the soil. If it fizzes, you have alkaline soil, with a pH between 7 and 8. If it doesn’t fizz after doing the vinegar test, then add distilled water to the other container until 2 teaspoons of soil are muddy. Add 1/2 cup baking soda. If it fizzes you have acidic soil, most likely with a pH between 5 and 6. If your soil doesn’t react at all it is neutral with a pH of 7.



If the level of the pH is too low, there are several methods to increase it. One of the ways is to apply granular limestone to the soil to raise the pH level. Limestone is alkaline, so it will make the soil less acidic. Finely ground limestone will give a faster result to the soil than large chunks will. The other way is to apply wood ashes to the soil. Homeowners can simply shovel and spread ashes from burnt scrap wood throughout the soil.


If the level of the pH is too high, homeowners can make it lower with aluminum sulfate or sulfur. They both are available at most nurseries or garden centers. Do not forget to water the soil after applying these ingredients to dissolve them. Smaller particles work much faster than big chunks, just like limestone does.


It may take several days or even more than a week to change the level of the soil totally. Just be patient and keep testing the soil after applying the proper ingredients, and you can tell the difference.


If you have any inquiries, please give Royal Tree a call at (720) 626-3352. We can go anywhere in Denver, Golden, Westminster, Lakewood, Aurora, Centennial, Littleton, Parker, Greenwood Village and Boulder to help with your trees.