alkaline soil - Knowledgebase Question

Cottonwood, Ar
Question by metoodee2
November 14, 2009
my soil is so alkaline, it is off the chart in soil test; old river bottom, pink and as fine as talcum powder, same even four and five feet deep. no nutrients. cactus thrive and red yuccas do well. planted spanish daggers but they are yellowing; water once weekly. planted in very large holes mixed with 50% kellogg's ammend. think i need to adjust the ph but not sure what or how much to use. ty


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Answer from NGA
November 14, 2009

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I don't envy you your alkaline soil! Mixing Kellogg's into the planting area was the right thing to do, but I suspect the problem with your Spanish dagger is not with the pH but with overwatering. As a member of the Yucca family, it should be watered sparsely, even during your scorching summer weather. Instead of weekly waterings, water deeply every 2-3 weeks and the plant should perk up. If not, root rot has set in and it will need to be replaced. Yucca naturally grows in dry, alkaline soils so even if yours is really off the chart, it shouldn't be necessary to adjust the pH. Just choose native plants (such as your Spanish dagger) and be careful with watering. Your soil holds much more moisture than you might expect. Best wishes with your landscape.

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