If you have finicky plants like azaleas or blueberries, or color-changing ones like hydrangeas, your soil’s pH can have a dramatic effect on their health, lifespan and output. Certain plants only grow well in alkaline soil, while others need acidic soil. In a hydrangea’s case, the soil pH determines whether the flowers will be blue or pink. Understanding what your plants need—and what they can’t tolerate—is the key to a healthy, thriving garden. Read on to learn how to adjust your soil’s pH, then call for professional plant fertilization services in Chazy, NY.
How does pH affect plants?
Most native plants have adapted to your region’s soil quality, which might be balanced, acidic or alkaline. This measurement is called pH, and it affects how available nutrients are in a given type of soil. Most plants need a pH level of 6 to 7.5; soil on either pH extreme is generally not conducive to a lot of plant life.
This means you have two options when it comes to your landscaping: you can either use plants that work with your existing soil pH, or you can try to adjust it yourself to suit the plants you want to grow.
How to change your soil pH
Before you start trying to adjust your soil, it’s smart to get a soil test. Your county office may offer soil information, or better yet, you can collect soil and send it off to a lab for analysis. This will give you a hyperlocal baseline before you begin.
If you need to make your soil more acidic, you can use organic mulches, elemental sulfur, aluminum sulfate, iron sulfate, acidifying nitrogen and sphagnum peat. Smaller garden beds are best adjusted by using sphagnum peat, which is also a natural fertilizer. Since it’s expensive, you wouldn’t want to use this method for large areas of the yard. If you try it, work one to two inches of peat into the top eight to 12 inches of your garden bed.
For larger areas that need to be more acidic, granular sulfur is the easiest, safest and most cost-effective way to lower your pH. You’ll need to determine whether your soil is sandy, normal or clay, as that will affect how much sulfur you use per 10 square feet. Note that this is also the slowest way to lower the pH, but the benefits outweigh the cost.
To make your soil more alkaline, landscapers recommend using limestone. (You can also use hydrated lime, but it’s easy to overdo it.) Again, you’ll need to know whether your soil is normal, sandy or clay in order to get the right amount for the area.
If limestone is unavailable or you prefer to use something different, wood ash can also raise the pH.
Working with professional plant fertilization services in Chazy, NY is the best way to ensure you get the right treatment for your specific soil needs. Reach out to Rand Hill Lawns, Inc. today to learn more about our services.
Categorised in: Plant Fertilization