How great it would be if all the land that we get for gardens and orchards had neutral, alkaline, or at least slightly acidic soil. Then we would not have to deal with soil deoxidation to please most of the crops that we are going to grow.

However, in fairness, it should be noted that among plants there are true connoisseurs of acidic soils. Such gourmets of the plant world include, for example, coniferous crops, a luxurious rhododendron, a beautiful hydrangea and numerous representatives of the Vereskov family. To please them, the soil will have to be acidified.

The soil can indeed be made acidic. But then you need to pick up a whole list of plants for which we want to do such work. After all, the level of acidity for these crops will need to be maintained from year to year. If this is not done, the plant will not be able to absorb the nutrients it needs from the soil, which will undoubtedly affect its survival and development.

How to independently determine the acidity of the soil

Soil acidity scale is not that wide. This indicator varies from 1 to 14 pH units. Depending on the pH level, the following typical types of soils are distinguished:

  • 3-4pH — strongly acidic;
  • 4-5pH — acidic;
  • 5-6pH — slightly acidic;
  • 6-7pH — neutral;
  • 7-8pH — alkaline;
  • 8-9pH — strongly alkaline.

To determine the level of soil acidity on the site, you can use litmus paper, which is familiar to us from school chemistry lessons. It can be purchased at gardening stores.

However, improvised means are also used to determine the acidity of the soil. Using the methods suggested below, we will not get accurate pH values, but sometimes a general idea of ​​​​the state of the earth is enough.

Pour a few leaves (5-6 pieces) of blackcurrant or cherry with a glass of boiling water. Let the impromptu brew steep and cool. Now you can remove the leaves, leaving only the infusion itself. Place a lump of earth in the infusion. Shake and let the slurry stand to see how the color of the liquid has changed. If the soil is acidic, the liquid will turn brownish-red, if neutral, it will acquire a blue tint. The green color comes from the reaction with slightly acidic soil.

On the surface of the glass we place a little soil to be studied. Pour it on top with table vinegar (9%) and monitor the reaction. If the soil reacts to the acid with active foaming, then it is alkaline. Weak carbon dioxide emission indicates moderate acidity. And the complete lack of reaction is that the soil is acidic.

If you have received a rough idea of ​​the state of the soil in one of the areas of the garden or garden, remember that even in a relatively small area, the indicators may fluctuate. Acidity is best determined locally where you currently need it.

Another way to determine the level of acidity is by weeds growing on the site. Take a closer look. If you have to regularly deal with clover, chamomile, yarrow, cuff and coltsfoot, then your earth is most likely neutral. The presence of plantain, oxalis, wild sorrel, caustic or creeping buttercup, horsetail, Ivan da Marya indicates increased acidity. Alkaline soils are preferred by quinoa, field loach, self-seed poppy and garden purslane.

This method of determination only works if one does not pay attention to single plants that may appear accidentally and briefly along with fertilizers, for example. Focus on thickets of the same type of weeds.

Crops that prefer acidic soils

On acidic soils, many flowers will feel good:

  • cloves;
  • zinnias;
  • anthuriums;
  • delphiniums;
  • hyacinths;
  • gladioli;
  • chrysanthemums;
  • crocuses;
  • tulips;
  • roses;
  • petunias and many more.

There are lovers of acidic soils among shrubs and trees. This, of course, is the majority of conifers, junipers and acacias, as well as birch, rhododendrons, heather, dogwood and magnolias. Cranberries, hydrangeas, viburnum and Japanese quince can be added to the same list.

How to acidify the soil for your favorite plant?

To plant your favorite plant, you can make the specific area where this crop will grow sour. In this place, it is better to change the soil to a special substrate, which is placed directly in the planting pits.

If we take rhododendron as an example, then for its shallow root system you need a hole up to 40 cm wide and at least 70 cm deep. In clay soil for this shrub, make a hole wider (up to 1 meter), but not too deep (about 20 cm. ).

When planting low-growing crops of the Vereskov family, you can simply replace the soil with a substrate to a total depth of 10-15 cm. We are talking about growing wintergreen, erica, bearberry, lingonberry or cranberry.

If you have to plant a coniferous crop, then an earthen clod or a container in which the seedling is located can serve as a guide for determining the size of the pit. The finished pit should be half a meter larger than the size of an earthen coma or be twice the size of the container.

The composition of the acidic substrate

The substrate for plants that prefer acidic soil can be prepared independently.

As a basis, you should take high-moor peat, the pH of which is 3 units. Nutrient soil and rotted pine litter will serve as additives. Two parts of peat should account for one part of litter and soil.

For each cubic meter of the resulting substrate, one hundred grams of fresh sawdust, 5-10 grams of garden sulfur and a kilogram of sand are added. Sand is needed if the soil in the area is clayey.

Annual support for high soil acidity

In order for the soil in the selected area to be acidic for a long time, it should be mulched annually with coniferous litter or sawdust. And do not forget to add up to 10 grams of garden sulfur for every square meter.

To feed plants on the site, you must use the following fertilizers:

  • ammophos;
  • urea;
  • ammonium sulfate;
  • ammonium chloride;
  • ammonium nitrate;
  • superphosphate.

For the most effective maintenance of acidity, watering plants with specially acidified water can be used. But you can do this no more than once a month. If vinegar (9%) is used for this purpose, then only 1 tablespoon is taken per bucket of water. If you use citric acid, then in the proportion of 5 grams per 3 liters of water.

Guided by the information received, you can literally in any area not only find a place for conifers, hydrangeas or heather, but also provide them with the necessary conditions for good survival, growth and development.


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