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thin acidic soil  RSS feed

 
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Just starting to experiment with permaculture for my small 2 acre lot that mostly consists of virginia pine, blackjack oak and cedar. We have removed enough of the pines to begin planting but my question relates to building up the soil. For the past couple of years I've let the leaves and pine needles decompose so that they could build up the thin organic layer (most areas of the yard its just red clay) But now that I'm starting to put in trees (apple and persimmon), perennials, and living mulch (dutch clover) I'm wondering if I should begin continually removing the leaves/pine needles to attempt get a more neutral soil (currently the soil ph ranges from 5.0 to 6.0) or should I just let the leaf/needle mixture stay to assist in the soil build up process. Any thoughts?
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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well you might want to take areas of the property where you are planting things that prefer more neutral soil and lime those areas..and use the acidic areas to plant things that like the acid soil..like blueberries, cranberries, etc.

remember if you add lime or ash or whatever to neutralize..you would damage any acid lovers..so keep them separate.

you also could add less acidic mulches and rock powders..etc..where you want to plant more neutral loving plants
 
steward
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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More organic matter is pretty much always the answer to everything
As far as I know, acidic leaves etc break down to pretty much neutral. People talk about pines acidifying soil though, so that may not be true.
Do you have the wood from the trees you cut down? Hugel goodness...and trees love chipped tree mulch.
I think it's a lot easier to increase ph than reduce it, just be aware that it usually takes at least six months for the soil beasties to increase the ph noticeably.
5s pretty low, but 6 is very handleable. Many plants would be fine around there, although brassicas wouldn't be very happy.
Do you have access to (clean) wood ashes? wood ash is a great addition, with plenty of trace elements, although I wouldn't use it if my potassium levels were high as it has lots of k.
 
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