For healthy plants, test your garden’s soil for pH level

May 2, 2023  -Healthy plants are the most critical component of a thriving garden. And one of the best ways to keep them that way is to make sure your soil’s pH level suits their needs.

Every plant requires a specific soil pH range within which it can best absorb essential nutrients. Because the optimal range is different for every plant, gardeners should learn the pH requirements of each one.

For example, carnations require a pH range of 6.7-6.9; turfgrasses, 6.3-6.8; tomatoes, 6.2-6.8; rhododendrons and azaleas, 4.5-6; blueberries, 4.5-5.5.


Soil pH indicates the degree of acidity or alkalinity of the soil, as measured on a 14-point scale. A pH of 7 is neutral. Values below 7 are acidic, and those above 7 are alkaline. Each unit on the scale is 10 times removed from the next, so a pH reading of 7.0 is 10 times higher than a reading of 6.0. That means a mere 1-unit difference is huge.

If the pH isn’t suited for a specific plant, it won’t be able to absorb enough nutrients, whether naturally occurring or applied as fertilizer. That results in deficiencies that present as stunting, discoloration and even death. Improper pH can also poison your plants, because just as it inhibits the uptake of essential nutrients, it can also increase the absorption of other nutrients to the point of toxicity.

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