How to Lower the PH of the Soil?

Don’t know how to lower the pH of the soil to grow acidic-soil-loving plants? If so, read the article to know about the organic and inorganic ways of reducing soil pH.

The pH of your soil indirectly represents its nutrient content. pH generally represents the concentration of hydrogen ions in the soil and a pH scale (0-14) is divided into two parts; acidic part (0-6) and basic or alkaline part (8-14) whereas 7 indicates the neutral nature of substances.

Most plants, including vegetables, fruits, berries, and turf tend to grow best in acidic soil (the soil having a pH range of 5.0-5.5). And if the soil pH fluctuates from this optimum pH range, it results in the stunted growth of plants due to nutrient inadequacy. Remember, if your soil pH reaches 7.5 or 2.0, not even a single beneficial plant would be able to grow in it.

Thus, to make your plants flourish brilliantly, do a soil pH test every month. If you find it much higher or much lower than the recommended point, you better use soil amendments or add chemicals or nutrients to bring the pH back to the optimum range.

And if you are growing plants like marigolds, peppers, blueberries, azalea, potatoes, etc., your main interest should be in keeping the soil pH as low as possible. Thus, in this article, I’m going to discuss some of my favourite methods of lowering the soil pH quickly. Read the article further to know more about the chemicals and methods you can employ to reduce the soil pH!

how to lower the ph of the soil

How to lower pH of soil

Natural and organic ways to lower soil pH

If you do not feel like moving towards the option of using chemicals or other inorganic amendments, here I’ve come home remedies – the organic methods, that can solve your problem of increased soil pH. Remember that these organic methods may take some more time to show desirable results but the results are guaranteed though.

Natural and organic ways to lower soil pH

Freshly ground coffee beans

The very first tip is to use freshly ground coffee beans. Yes, you read the right thing! Coffee comes with the miraculous power of increasing soil acidity because of containing enormous amounts of nitrogen. Also, the coffee beans consist of plenty of organic acids which, when coming into contact with water, get dissolved and lower the pH.

Thus, to use the ground coffee beans as your soil amendment agent, you need to dissolve some coffee in your watering can and make a dilute solution. Then pour this solution into the pots and containers. One thing which is worth mentioning here is that you always have to get the freshly ground coffee beans since as time passes, the pH of coffee beans start shifting towards the alkaline zone.

On the other hand, freshly ground coffee beans possess a pH near 4.5 – enough to do a miracle to your soil. This organic method of reducing your soil pH is best if you have, mostly, the container or potted plants. Otherwise, arranging that high amount of coffee beans to feed your total yard is something that will cost you an arm and leg

Freshly ground coffee beans

Compost tea

Another natural way to make your garden soil acidic is to use compost tea. The best part of using this technique for soil amendment is that it’s cost-effective and also helps you get rid of bio-waste. Also, it doesn’t matter how large the area you are working on, the compost tea will be enough to feed the entire space, without costing too much.

To make a compost tea, you need to get water in a wide-mouth gallon and let it stay under sunlight for a day or two. Doing so will allow all the chlorine particles to evaporate from the water so it won’t react with the soil and plants. After two days, add one cup of compost into the gallon, stir it thoroughly, and let it be there for three days at least (so every single compost particle gets dissolved properly.

It would be much better if you get the compost in well-decomposed form so dissolving it would not take days. Once your compost tea is ready after two to three days, pour it into the watering can, sprayer, or hose to feed the entire lawn. The compost will not only reduce the pH rapidly but the nutrients present in it will also become a part of the soil and your plants’ bodies much faster.

Compost tea

Organic mulch

Inorganic and commercial ways to lower soil pH

 Elemental sulphur 

The most common substance used by horticulturists and gardeners to reduce the soil pH is elemental sulphur. The results are guaranteed but you have to wait for as long as six to months to observe them. Why? Because elemental sulphur only starts its job when it would get dissolved in water and turn to sulfuric acid.

Doing so will take at least six months so you better add it to your garden soil six months before the planting season. One thing that is worth mentioning at this point is that sulphur is a tough element that doesn’t only need time to get dissolved completely but also external agents like decomposing bacteria and high temperature.

So, you better add sulphur during the summer. As a long-term investment, you can add granular fertiliser or manure into the soil as well. As a result of it, you’ll get loose and the optimally acidic soil after six to eight months. Just make sure the soil remains moist, temperate, and full of bacteria, 24/7.

 Iron sulphate 

If you are living in colder regions, where the elemental sulphur can’t serve you to reduce your soil pH, iron sulphate is your go-to solution. This pH reducing substance acts nearly in the same manner, as elemental sulphur does but a bit faster (takes about three to four months).

You’ll need to get five kilograms of iron sulphate to cure an area of about 100 square feet. To make sure that all the soil grabs this additive to amend itself, you better add 2.5 kilograms of iron sulphate first, at the start of the month and the remaining 2.5 kilograms of iron sulphate at the end of the month.

The best thing about iron sulphate is that it’s not temperature-dependent and can work with equal efficiency on both loose and compact soil.

 Aluminium sulphate 

The super fast way of lowering soil pH is to use aluminium sulphate which acts as soon as you apply it. Unlike other acidity boosting substances like elemental sulphur and iron sulphate, aluminium sulphate doesn’t require two to eight months to show the results.

Due to being all-time highly active, it readily dissolves into the soil and boosts the pH in a few days. However, the point on which you need to think thoroughly is how much aluminium sulphate you should use at a time. Remember, since it’s a highly active substance, its overdose may cause sulphate poisoning which, in turn, might ruin all the vegetation overnight.

As a general rule of thumb, you need to get a half kilogram of aluminium sulphate to cure every ten square feet. Calculate every inch thoroughly and attentively so you won’t put your beloved plants at risk.

Wrapping up

Finding the most effective and most efficient way for lowering the pH of the soil is essential since mostly the water we get from the water pipeline is alkaline which in turn, reduces the soil acidity. Above, we have mentioned some ways to reduce the soil pH – both organic and inorganic.

Which method you should opt for depends upon the type of plants you are growing and the area which you are up to amending. All in all, for smaller areas and container plants, opting for the organic and natural means of lowering soil pH is the best solution. On the other hand, if you want to reduce the soil of larger areas like your yard and garden beds, go with the inorganic solutions since they are most cost-efficient and fast-to-act.

We hope the methods we listed above will help you bring your garden soil in the best possible condition. Good luck!