Lilies forum: soil PH

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Name: Dave
Southern wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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Nhra_20
Mar 11, 2017 10:49 PM CST
Given once the weather gets better, I want to test my soil in various places for their PH. Are those rapid tests good enough? also anything else I should test in my soil?

Also, adjusting ph . Say I need to bring a soil to a slightly acidic level, will using ph down, will that work just in the spot I pour it down? And how long does it last? or is there a better way to acidify the soil if needed? Or what if I need to make soil more neutral? I tested a few spots last fall, and they were around 6.0. But with having put down compost in the fall, I want to make sure ph is where I need it. Thank you everyone
Name: Joshua
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Australis
Mar 11, 2017 11:08 PM CST

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Compost is likely to make the soil more acidic, although slowly. I use sulphur granules to lower the pH and lime to raise it (there are two types available here - Garden Lime and Dolomite Lime - I use Garden Lime, as I recall there being a good reason not to use Dolomite for my application - martagons - but can't find my notes on it at the moment). The key point is not to change the pH too quickly.
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MichiganMike
Mar 12, 2017 6:43 AM CST
I use the same methods as Joshua to if I need to adjust PH. The sulphur granules also takes some time to work their magic.

As for the effectiveness of those rapid PH testers, I have not used any yet. I assume you get what you pay for, but would be interested in what people have found with their experience.

Name: Rick R.
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Leftwood
Mar 12, 2017 6:38 PM CST
I also use sulfur to help acidify soil, but it doesn't last forever. It's not the sulfur element that acidifies, rather, it's the compounds that sulfur forms; sulfuric acid is one of them. Many (all?) of these compounds are mobile in the soil and can leach out. Changing the pH of your soil is a lot trickier than you think, and the tendency is always to overdo it, so be careful.

Compost is a most wonderful thing. It improve the soil structure, soil flora and soil composition in so many ways. It is also a great pH buffer with the tendency to keep the soil pH at or near its own pH. "Its own pH" can vary quite a bit depending what it is made from, but is usually about 6-6.5.

If you are talking about using pH Down for swimming pools in soil, I don't know. But I would never use it unless I researched its mode of action and could apply that (somehow) to soil application. I would guess that being very soluble in water, it would leach out of the soil quickly, so it would not be a good soil acidifier.
Name: Lee-Roy
Bilzen, Belgium (Zone 8a)
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Arico
Mar 12, 2017 6:49 PM CST
The cheap testing kits you can pick up in a garden center will do the trick just fine and give you a basic reading of the soil pH (be sure to use distilled water as tap/rain water influences the result). For a more accurate reading of pH and perhaps even some basic elements (fertility: nitrogen, magnesium etc..) you're looking in the direction of a soil test done by a lab. They're not "too expensive" (not here at least) and usually they'll give advise about how to correct certain parameters too.

Name: Dave
Southern wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Region: Wisconsin Birds Irises Peonies Bulbs Seed Starter
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Nhra_20
Mar 12, 2017 7:09 PM CST
Rick,

I'm attach pictures of the ph downI was referring to for clarification. I have seen it in a couple of stores.

Thank you for the Info everyone. Much appreciated.
Thumb of 2017-03-13/Nhra_20/1231cb


Thumb of 2017-03-13/Nhra_20/08423f

[Last edited by Nhra_20 - Mar 12, 2017 7:09 PM (+)]
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Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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Roosterlorn
Mar 12, 2017 7:31 PM CST
Isn't this product designed more for soil-less gardening? I think I'll stick with the good old fashion way.
Name: Dave
Southern wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Region: Wisconsin Birds Irises Peonies Bulbs Seed Starter
Pollen collector Plant and/or Seed Trader Hybridizer Daylilies Garden Photography Dog Lover
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Nhra_20
Mar 12, 2017 7:40 PM CST
Wasn't sure. But I can easily use sulfur. Fine by me. I'd rather use that versus a liquid that woohoo probably last a week during a rainy week

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BUGGYCRAZY
Mar 17, 2017 8:53 AM CST
If your lilies look good ( no yellowing on the acid lovers) you are probably fine. I had a clay soil that was neutral become acidic after years of mulching with sawdust and one spring the orientals were coming up yellow, I spread sulfur flakes (for smoking out rodents) and thanks to plenty of spring rain the problem corrected itself fairly quickly.
Then we moved to the farm and the soil was acidic. Raising the pH is much harder than lowering it, but I did not need to. The trumpets and other plants all did fine in a pH of 5.6 - 5.9.

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