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pH

 
                                
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What is the correct procedure to test the soil pH? Shall I dissolve (at least the dissoluble part) the dirt into water and test the result or....?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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As someone with a fairly broad and rigorous background in chemistry, who has used a pH meter at work on several occasions...

...I'm really curious to hear the answer to this one, too.

(soil is way too complicated for people in my discipline to dare approaching in any academic context)
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
 
              
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I live in Upstate New York.  I had my PH tested on my lawn and it was 8.0.  I know I have to use sulfur to lower the PH but the only bags I see that are sold locally are 5lb bags.  I have an acre lot.....5lb bags would never work.  Any idea where I can order larger bags that I don't have to pay a small fortune to ship?  Is a PH of 8.0 really that bad?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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If your lawn is doing OK, then I say it's really not that bad. The proof of the pudding is in the rooting, you might say. Maybe those soil nutrients that become less bioavailable at high pH, happen to be abundant in your soil, or maybe you have a crack team of mycorrhizae taking care of things behind the scenes.

Composting conifer waste (maybe Christmas trees? a no-turn pile can be built with loppers really easily, and can be sifted after six months or so) to spread on the lawn might help bring the pH down in the long run, and so would the general advice Paul's lawn article offers on increasing organic matter content.

If you need a lot of gardener's sulfur, you might try a feed store.
 
              
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My lawn is in ok shape.  I have tons of crabgrass and creeping charlie growing right now .  I just started the organic way last fall.  I'm a newbie at it.  I am planning on using ringer this fall and corn gluten in the spring.  When in the spring is CMG the most effective?  I have been teribble at mowing high which might be my biggest problem.  Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.   
 
Suzy Bean
pollinator
Posts: 940
Location: Stevensville, MT
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For appropedia's summary on soil pH, you can visit: http://www.appropedia.org/Soil_pH . Any contributions to the page would be appreciated as well!
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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