The Q&A Archives: Alkaline Soil: How To Lower pH

Question: How do I go about lowering the pH of a high alkaline soil? I bought one of those soil check test kits and found that my soil was over the ph of 8.0. I know that lime will bring up the ph, but what brings the ph down? I hope that a crop of winter rye will help, because I did put that in my garden.

Answer: Soil pH can be lowered on a temporary and localized basis. In other words, it isn't a one-time fix. A high alkaline soil is a bit unusual for your part of the country, unlike the Southwest, which has native alkalinity. You may want to have a soil test done by a company. Sometimes the simple tests that come in kits aren't highly accurate. To lower pH, you can incorporate soil sulfur. Follow package instructions for the amount to spread. Peat moss also helps lower pH, but it is usually quite expensive in large amounts. Cover crops are excellent for adding organic matter to the soil, which will improve fertility and drainage and ultimately the health of your plants. They don't really alter the pH, but it's still a good thing to do, so your effort is not wasted.

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