Reasons soil acidification maybe a few. If you are going to grow such shrubs as blueberries, lingonberries, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, then you need to create the right soil composition in the area with a pH of 4.5-5.5.
Let's consider in more detail: methods of soil acidification, reasons for soil acidification, which plants like acid soil, how to increase soil acidity in the country.
How to change the acidity of the soil for normal life and plant health?
Most horticultural crops require a neutral or slightly acidic soil reaction for normal growth from 5.5 to 7.5 pH.
If pH above 7.5 then the reaction is considered alkaline, such soils have a bad effect on fertility, important trace elements are poorly absorbed, becoming inaccessible for plants, water-physical properties of the soil deteriorate (in the dry state, the soil becomes dense, after rains it becomes viscous with poor aeration.
If the soil is alkaline in your area you will have to bring its acidity level to neutral and carry out loosening.
Under trees like apricot, peach, quince do not rush to acidify, they prefer soil with a pH of 7-8. Also prefer this level peonies, clematis, plane tree.
Neutral soil - in which acids and alkalis are maximally balanced and neutralize each other. Such soil is personally suitable for growing most root crops, garden crops, and it is also the optimal environment for the development of beneficial soil microorganisms.
Crops such as acidify neutral soil potatoes, which grows better and bears fruit on soils with a pH level of 5-6.
Acidic soil plants
In nature, plants growing in coniferous forests, swamps, peat bogs need acid soil. The root system of such plants has adapted to absorb nutrients from an aggressive environment.
A distinctive feature of such plants is the lack of suction root hairs, the microscopic fungi that live on the roots and supply water and trace elements took on this work.
This symbiosis is called mycorrhiza. They cannot exist without each other, as well as a prerequisite for an acidic environment.
The group of plants that prefers an acidic environment for growth is extensive.
Shrubs - rhododendrons, ledum, azalea, heather.
Conifers - pine, spruce, juniper, fir.
Berry bushes - blueberries, cranberries, blueberries, lingonberries.
Perennial flowers - dicenter, gravilat, primrose, ferns.
Houseplants - camellia, azalea, cyclamen, fuchsia, monstera, violets, representatives of the myrtle family.
Features of agricultural technology
For hydrangea cultivation, fertile clay areas with low acidity are most suitable. Hydrangea grows very poorly on sandy areas, slightly better on red soils.
Continuous sunlight and the absence of wind are very important for the plant. It is advisable that the sun be on the site in the morning. When growing plants in partial shade, it is not possible to achieve abundant flowering.
When diluting hydrangeas on slightly acidic compositions, you can get the most bright flowers. If the balance is neutral, then the growth of the plant decreases, and the flowers lose their brightness. Alkaline soils do not fit the flower at all. The plant grows very well on soil collected at the place of coniferous trees.
Note! In some types of hydrangea, the shade of flowers directly depends on the balance of the soil. With increased acidity, blue flowers can be seen, when grown on neutral soils - white or beige, on alkaline - pink or lilac.
Hydrangea and soil acidity
This plant can rightfully be called the queen of the garden. Many argue that it is unpretentious in care, but pleases with long and plentiful flowering only on correctly selected soil.
What soil does hydrangea like
The following requirements apply to the soil:
- Water should not stagnate.
- Soil ventilation is important.
- A certain level of acidity.
How to make the soil acidic for hydrangea? For abundant flowering, slightly acidic and medium-acid soil will be optimal. A balance of 5.5 pH is the most suitable option.
In the process of hydrangea growth, nutrients from the soil will pass to the plant, and the level of soil acidity will gradually decrease. This is a natural process, you should not be afraid of it, there is an opportunity to acidify the earth.
On a note. When applying organic and mineral fertilizers, you can acidify the soil. So, acidity increases with the introduction of urea, iron sulfate, nitrate.
You can determine this by changing the color of the flower. With sufficient soil acidity, the plant pleases the eye with a variety of blue shades. These are blue, purple, blue flowers. On alkaline lands, the flowers will be pink and purple. In this case, blanching of the leaves may be noted.
With excess soil acidity, it can be deoxidized. There are several ways to do this. The simplest is the application of formulations containing lime. But when growing hydrangea, deoxidize the soil with extreme caution, since she is a lover of acidic environments.
How to deoxidate the soil with lime
Before acidifying the earth, it is necessary to determine its balance. To do this, you can use the litmus test, which is sold in specialized stores. You can do this in a popular way, for this you need 9% vinegar. It is necessary to pour a little vinegar on the loose earth, with alkaline soil a characteristic foaming will appear.
On a note. How to pour hydrangea with citric acid? A simple and safe way to acidify the soil is to add ordinary citric acid: 1 tsp. bred in a bucket of water. You can also acidify with oxalic, acetic or malic acids. They are bred at the rate of 100 ml per 10 liters of water and watered flower beds.
Another affordable way to improve soil quality is to use rotten foliage. It has a beneficial effect on the quality of the seat and water exchange. Also, acidification is carried out using sawdust, peat, bark. First, their acidity with acidic water or sulfur is adjusted to 3.5-4.5 pH, then brought into the soil.
How to acidify hydrangea soil? Before planting, plants need to take care of the soil. During soil preparation, a deoxidized electrolyte solution is introduced into the soil, or a solution of sulfuric acid can be prepared. To prepare an acidifier based on an electrolyte (it is still poured into batteries), add 10 ml of the drug to 10 l of water. Use a solution for watering the soil.
Compost from rotted foliage
Tips for increasing soil acidity:
- Loose soil is easier to acidify. This is done by adding organic matter.
- Acidification of clay and heavy soil is more difficult to do. Here, the same introduction of organic substances, on the contrary, lowers acidity and makes the soil alkaline.
- When organic matter is introduced into loose soils, it will not be able to acidify immediately, but gradually, when they decompose. If active assistance is required, then sphagnum, compost from oak leaves, is added for acidification.
- On heavy clay garden soils, sulfur can be added. With the participation of bacteria, sulfur is converted to sulfuric acid. For this, 1 kg of sulfur is added per 9 square meters. m, it is best to do this in advance, at least a year before landing.
- Iron sulfate is also used to increase the acidity of clay soils. This method can be used directly in the year of planting. Its action is quite fast, soil balance can be acidified in 15-20 days. Only in this case, it is necessary to oxidize iron sulfate. The consumption rate is 0.5 kg per 9 square meters. m
- Ammonia-based fertilizers are one way to acidify the soil. There are a lot of such fertilizers, but potassium and calcium nitrates are contraindicated for hydrangea, due to the fact that these ammonia fertilizers, on the contrary, alkalize the soil.
The first level of determination can be attributed to laboratory methods. If you want to get accurate data of your pH level and you will not regret it for certain money. Then you need to contact special laboratories.
These laboratories are called soil science. Specialists will take the necessary samples from your site, with the help of this material they will be able to conduct a multifaceted study and give you accurate results of the level of acidity throughout the land.
The second option is to determine the level of acidity at home. But using this method, you will not be able to determine the exact acidity level of your soil. This method will help you save money and roughly determine your acidity level. In order to determine the level it is necessary to make the following points:
When growing hydrangea, it is important that not only the earth has the right acidity, but also the water used for irrigation that meets the required indicators, because it also happens to be alkaline. Therefore, before irrigation, the acidity level of the water is determined and, if necessary, it is acidified - this is a very effective way to grow hydrangea on alkaline soils and not only.
How to acidify water for hydrangea irrigation? Panicle hydrangea loves sunlight. In bright sunshine, it needs daily watering. For these purposes, you can use electrolyte. The consumption rate is 1 ml of electrolyte per 10 liters of water with which one plant is watered.
Cooking does not take much time. A large barrel is taken. An electrolyte solution is diluted in it in the above proportions. The same amount of ammonium nitrate is added. Use for daily watering.
Succinic acid for hydrangea home is the first emergency aid for flower disease. She will help him adapt to inappropriate conditions. You can also use regular lemon juice to acidify the earth.
Hydrangea top dressing with citric acid is applicable. If the soil balance is acidic, then to maintain the acidity level, you can feed it with a solution of citric acid about once every 30 days. Add 1 tsp to a bucket of water. acids.
Interesting. If you follow these simple recommendations, you can choose a site for planting with the right soil and, if necessary, safely acidify the soil. In response to this, hydrangea will please you with long and abundant flowering.
Method with litmus paper
You will need litmus paper and soil solution. The solution should be settled and well mixed. To determine the level of acidity, it is necessary to lower the litmus paper in this solution and monitor how the paper will change color.
If the paper has a blue hue, then the soil has an alkaline environment. If red color begins to appear on the paper, then the acid level of the medium prevails in your soil. If a yellow-green hue appears on the table paper, then we can safely say that in your soil the two environments are equal and in the soil a neutral environment for plants.
You can also roughly determine the level of acidity and alkalinity, then you should look at the contrast of the color that appeared litmus paper. For example, the brighter the red color, the higher the acidity level of your soil. Also with alkaline pH.
How not to harm hydrangea
The soil composition is very important when growing hydrangea. It depends not only on how quickly the flower will grow, but also how it will bloom.
In order for hydrangea to please its owner, it is necessary to create the right conditions:
- Choose the right place
- Prepare a nutrient ground,
- Water in a timely manner,
Hydrangea grows well on acidified, well-fertilized soil, needs regular watering, but without stagnation of moisture and timely pruning. She is responsive to the right growing conditions and thanks them for their bright colors for a long time.
Using specialized tests
For the next method, we will need special tests that can be purchased at many gardening stores. This method is the most accurate of all tests at home. You can find out everything necessary for the test in the test instructions.
The latter method, but no less effective. For the test, we don’t have to do anything complicated, nor do we have to buy anything. Since all the necessary things are in almost everyone in the house. For the test, we need soda and acetic acid.
This method will not cause you any difficulties. To determine the environment, you still need to take a little land from your site. Divide it into two parts, pour a little vinegar in one of them, and add a pinch of soda to the other and watch the reaction. If the soil in which you poured vinegar began to bubble and hiss, it means that the alkaline environment prevails in the soil. Also, if the reaction began to manifest itself in contact with soda, it means that an acidic environment dominates the earth.
Determine the pH of water
If you do not want to do any research, then this method is suitable for you. To do this, find out what is the pH level of your water. Nothing is needed for this. Well, besides what water you water your land.
If you water the land with piped water, then most likely an alkaline environment prevails in your soil. Since the pipeline uses alkali to disinfect water. In this case, your land needs to slightly increase the level of acidity.
It is best to water the ground with filtered water, because after such water your soil will be as close to a neutral environment as possible. But this method of watering is considered very expensive, since it will be necessary to water a large number of plants and for this you will need a lot of filtered water.
For those who are not particularly versed in pH, we will now talk a little. The pH level ranges from 0 to 14 points. The higher the pH, the higher the alkaline environment. Also in reverse order. For an example and a better understanding, acetic acid has a pH of 0, and household products have a pH of 14.
How to increase the acidity of the soil
Before proceeding with the oxidation of the soil in the garden, it is necessary to find out its mechanical composition. The method that will need to be used to increase acidity will directly depend on the composition of the soil.
The first method is perfect for fairly loose soil. In this case, the best way is to add a large amount of organic substances to the soil. Compost, dung, or sphagnum moss will be the best organic remedy. When the humus process occurs, the pH level in your soil will begin to drop significantly, so that the process is more efficient and noticeable. A large amount of organic matter will be needed.
The second method is suitable exclusively for dense and heavy soil, this soil is mainly called clay. In this case, to increase acidity, you will need a lot of time and much more strength. If you decide to use the first option with such soil, then nothing good should be expected. Since using organic compounds you will only increase the alkaline level of the soil.
- One of the ways that you can increase the acidity of the soil is to add sulfur to the clay rock. Over time, the clay soil will begin to turn into sulfuric acid. In order to lower the pH c 7 to a level of 4.5. It will take about a kilogram of sulfur to a bed of land measuring three by three meters. Earlier, we said that the process of increasing acidity takes a long time, in this method it manifests itself as well as possible. Since the effect of this manipulation will be visible only after a year.
- In the next method, we need iron sulfate. Also, this method is the fastest, which is possible with clay soil. For this method, one kilogram of iron sulfate per 15 square meters of land will be needed. After this method, the results will be visible after a few weeks. This speed is due to the fact that this substance is much less than sulfur, and this is also affected by the temperature of the medium.
- The final method is the use of urea or other fertilizers with a high ammonia content. The main thing in this method is that in no case can you use different mixtures that contain calcium and potassium nitrate.
How to maintain the required level of acidity
When you reach the required pH level, you should not immediately relax, since only half the difficult path has been covered. In order for your plants to begin to grow properly, you need to maintain this level of acidity. Since with slight deviations from the required pH level, emergency measures must be taken, otherwise you can say goodbye to your plant.
One of the emergency measures is the use of sulfur, this substance is the most optimal for your plant, as it will not harm it in any way, and it will also gradually lower the pH level so that your plant does not encounter stressful situations. Для того чтобы максимально не навредить растению требуется добавлять серу только во влажный грунт и не трогать корни растения.
Также отлично подойдут натуральные подкислители, так как они никак не навредят почве и имеют продолжительный эффект действия. Такими веществами является листовые перегнои и жмых семечек хлопчатника.
In no case can acetic acid be used; unconditionally, it will give a quick and visible effect. But this effect will not only not last long, but even after acetic acid in the soil all useful bacteria and fungi will die, which will not appear again.
The most effective way is to add aluminum sulfate to the bait layer, this manipulation must be done din once a year. But when you add sulfate, make sure that the roots of the plant remain intact.
Electrolyte Soil Acidification
The soil suitable for the cultivation of such plants can be created in any garden plots using peat, foliage, bark, sawdust or other acidic materials, adjusting their acidity (pH) to sulfur, or better, spilling with acidified water (10 l of solution per 1 m).
For acidification, you can use citric or oxalic acid (based on tablespoons per 10 liters of water), as well as acetic or apple 9% (based on 100 g of vinegar per 10 liters of water). But it is best to use electrolyte for batteries (this is diluted sulfuric acid).
Use only FRESH electrolyte to acidify the soil!
Fresh electrolyte does not contain impurities, and the sulfate residue (SO4) is an important component of fertilizers used for feeding heather. Its sulfur is a very valuable trace element that plays an important role in the metabolism and nutrition of plants.
To acidify the soil before planting heather, you can use either a ready-made electrolyte or sulfuric acid to prepare it. But at the same time, the amount of electrolyte or the amount of acid used to prepare the solution will differ significantly. The fact is that the concentration of sulfuric acid in the electrolyte solution directly depends on its density:
- If you bought an electrolyte with a density of 1.22 g / cm2, then you have a 30% sulfuric acid solution.
- If the density of the solution is 1.25 g / cm2, the acid concentration is 34%.
- The density of the solution is 1.30 g / cm2 corresponds to a 40% concentration,
- The density of the solution is 1.39 g / cm2 - 50% acid concentration.
- At a density of 1.80 g / cm2, the acid content in the solution is 88%.
- Concentrated sulfuric acid has a density of 1.84 g / cm2.
Read the label carefully before preparing the solution!
The amount of electrolyte or acid for preparing a solution that acidifies the soil depends not only on its density or percentage concentration, but also on the pH of the water used for this purpose. For example, 1 ml of an electrolyte with a density of 1.22 g / cm2, dissolved in a liter of water, whose pH is equal reduces this indicator from to units. Accordingly, the lower the pH of the water and the higher the density of the electrolyte solution, the less sulfuric acid is needed to prepare the solution.
Before acidifying the soil in its area, you need to determine the initial indicators, i.e. the natural acidity of the soil and the acidity of the water used for irrigation and preparation of acidifying solution.
If the pH of the soil and water is within 3-5 units, then you do not need to acidify - all the plants mentioned above will feel great. If these indicators are 6, 7, 8 or more units - you need to acidify the soil, otherwise your heathers, ferns, etc. will have problems with the assimilation of nutrients from the soil.
Calculation of the amount of electrolyte
It is necessary to calculate the amount of electrolyte added per 1 liter of water, based on the natural pH values of the soil of the plot and water.
If the pH of the soil and water in your area are equal to units - such soil should be shed with a solution whose pH is equal to 2-3 units. For this, an electrolyte with a density of 1.22 g / cm2 is added to 1 liter of water with a pH of 6. If you have a solution of sulfuric acid with a density of 1.81 g / cm2 (90%), then its amount is reduced to 1 liter of water, etc.
The ratio of the amount of electrolyte and water for the preparation of an acidifying solution must be calculated for each specific case separately. Therefore, a modern gardener needs such a device as a pH meter. Currently, cheap household appliances are on sale. You can replace the pH meter with a paper soil acidifier, the packaging of which is sold in many garden centers and stores.
Maintaining an optimal level of acidity
To maintain the optimum level of soil acidity during the growing season, it is advisable to water the area with heather acidified water once a day (or at least 1 time per month), the same as when preparing the soil for planting.
The fact is that the soil is a buffer system, it quickly restores its original properties (including its original acidity). Deoxidation occurs due to irrigation with neutral or alkaline water (this may be in your well or water supply), due to rain and subsoil water.
Hydrangea Soil Acidification
The color of hydrangea inflorescences is determined mainly by the hydrogen index of the soil (ph) on which they grow:
- On very acidic soil (pH of hydrangea inflorescences is blue or blue-violet.
- On slightly acidic soil (pH bushes adorn the caps of white flowers
- On a neutral or slightly alkaline (pH, the color of the inflorescences changes to pink.
Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla), source Wikimedia Commons
By adjusting the hydrogen index of the soil under hydrangeas, it is possible to achieve a varied color of their flowers. However, this effect is manifested only if the soil pH is constantly maintained at the same level throughout the growing season, starting from the moment of sap flow (March 1-2).
How to raise pH
Raise the pH to the desired level using dolomite flour. Dolomite flour is applied to the soil in February-March, as it acts slowly.
Throughout the season, maintain soil pH at the level of 7-8 units. it is possible with the help of water, in which lime is added and its pH is increased to 9-10 units.
To control the pH of the soil and the solutions used to regulate this indicator, you can either use a pH meter or a paper determinant of soil acidity.
The acidic environment is able to create:
Overripe coniferous sawdust, coniferous litter
Organics should be used on well-aerated, permeable, loose substrates. Organics slowly acidifies the soil, gradually decomposing, but it works for a long time.
In addition, organic matter preserves the loose structure of the soil, enriches with nutrients and humus. This method is not suitable when it is necessary to achieve a rapid increase in acidity.
Heavy clay soils are more efficiently acidified with minerals. It can be - colloidal sulfur, iron sulfate.
Colloidal sulfur used to change acidity substantially. 1 kg of sulfur introduced per 10 m2 reduces the pH by 2.5 units.
It is recommended to add sulfur in the autumn when digging to a depth of 10-15 cm, the result of oxidation will be in 8-12 months.
Iron sulfate acts faster than sulfur, but softer. When you make half a kilogram of powder per 10 m2, it reduces the pH per unit in a month.
If you need to slightly acidify the site, you can use ammonium nitrate (in spring) ammonium sulfate (during autumn digging), potassium sulfate (in the fall).
Acidification by acid solutions
If you need a quick result of acidification, then use acid solutions.
Sulphuric acid (electrolyte for batteries) is the best option for acidification. Dilute 50 ml of electrolyte into 10 liters of water and treat 1 m 2 of the area for sowing.
Lemon acid - 1-2 teaspoons of powder per 10 liters of water.
Some use 9% vinegar diluting 100 ml per 10 liters of water. This is the worst option for acidification, destroys the soil microflora and gives a short-term effect.
To maintain acid-base balance during the cultivation of various crops, green manure seeds planted in the garden after harvesting will help.
Covering the green mass of green manure into the soil, as well as decaying of the root system, provides the plants with nitrogen in an accessible form, slightly acidifies the soil.
Siderata acidifying the soil - white mustard, oats, rapeseed, colza. Legumes also support pH well - soy, lupine, vetch.