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Why & How To Use pH Meters For Soil Testing

Why & How To Use pH Meters For Soil Testing

19th Dec 2018

If you've had trouble with gardening in the past, it might not be because you're lacking a green thumb. The true culprit could be that your soil's pH level is too high or low for your plants to live in comfortably. Thankfully, all it takes to fix this problem are a few extra gardening materials and a soil pH meter.

Why Should You pH Test Your Soil?

Soil is as necessary to promoting plant growth as water and sunlight; it's how your plants gain most of the nutrients necessary for staying healthy and beautiful. The pH level of your soil, or how acidic or alkaline it is, play a large role in how well your plants can absorb those critical nutrients. Most plants do best in soil that's nearly neutral, falling in a pH range as low as 6.2 and as high as 7.5. To find out what end of the pH spectrum your soil falls on, you need to perform a pH test.

How To Use pH Meters For Soil Testing

The best time to test your soil's pH level is when it's fairly dry, since added moisture can skew your results. Before testing, clean all the tools you'll be using along with your soil pH meter — they should be cleaned before and after each test to ensure accurate results every time. Special film, such as Kelway Soil pH Acidity and Moisture Meter Conditioning Film, is required to properly clean the metal plates of soil pH meters.

After preparing your tools, dig a few small holes where you'll be planting, or simply insert your meter into the ground. If you were testing the soil for lead content, you would only need to sample at a depth of around ¾ of an inch, which is what people are most likely to be exposed to. But for most plants and grasses, your holes should be 6-8 inches deep, while holes for trees and shrubs should be around 12 inches deep. When soil testing for small areas such as home landscaping or gardening, take 5-10 samples to ensure an accurate reading. Larger areas, such as athletic fields, will require 10-15 samples or more. Once everything is prepared, simply insert a soil pH meter, such as the Kelway Soil pH Acidity and Moisture Meter, and wait a few moments for your results.

Correcting Your Soil pH Level

Now that you have your readings, you can determine whether your soil is too acidic or alkaline. A reading in the 1-6 range is acidic while a reading of 8 or higher is alkaline. You can lower pH to correct alkaline soil by adding a sulfur mix or household solutions like coffee grounds, citrus scraps or pine needles. To raise pH and correct acidic soil, add a lime mix, or try adding crushed egg shells or bone meal to your soil.

After adding your chosen solution to the soil, wait a few days for everything to be thoroughly incorporated before resampling. You can use the Kelway Soil pHD meter to re-test your soil and determine whether additional solution should be added to your garden or other land. If you've reached the neutral range, congratulations! It's time to plant your flowers, grasses and trees in the enriching environment you've created for them.

Find All The Soil Testing Equipment You Need At Certified Material Testing Products

Whether you're testing the pH level in your garden or the soil density at a construction site, Certified Material Testing Products has the high-quality, reliable soil testing equipment you need. Discover the benefits of our soil pH meters when you browse our products today.