Lower Soil PH


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What is the best way to lower my soil PH? At the moment, I am watering my blueberries, myer lemon, and tangerine plants with 2 gallons of water - added 2 tbs of distille vinegar per gallon/water each week. In addition, I've use the soil acidifier fertilizer from the store, but it does not appear to make a difference. I got some sulfur from Amazon; I applied it to one plant in a pot, but the PH has not changes in a month.
 
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What is the best way to lower my soil PH? At the moment, I am watering my blueberries, myer lemon, and tangerine plants with 2 gallons of water - added 2 tbs of distille vinegar per gallon/water each week. In addition, I've use the soil acidifier fertilizer from the store, but it does not appear to make a difference. I got some sulfur from Amazon; I applied it to one plant in a pot, but the PH has not changes in a month.
Not the answer you are looking for, but SLOWLY. You are experiencing what is called the buffer. Depending in how that soil was made, a certain mass of material is in use, which you are attempting to counteract with small sips of chemicals in water. Dumping a bunch of one fell swoop action on a root system is going to produce an intensely acid layer which can easily blunt root tips and otherwise muck up the process. Using sulphur or aluminum sulphate or vinegar or whichever, the calender is important, because while you want to move along in the process, you also want to make small changes over time to prevent the neighbors from gossiping about you while succinctly arriving at your goal. This is also true of liming and raising the pH. It is important to know if these plants are all in the ground or just the one in a pot? The sulphur is broken down by the enzyme action of the biodome, as well as oxidation. A potting soil is a poor medium for natural processes.
 
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My tangerine is in ground, but it has struggled so much that I started planting the other citrus and fruit plants in containers. They are all around 6.5 and 7.5PH.
 
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My tangerine is in ground, but it has struggled so much that I started planting the other citrus and fruit plants in containers. They are all around 6.5 and 7.5PH.
It is just about impossible or is impossible to permanently change a soils Ph from acid to neutral or alkaline to neutral or acidic. And 99% of the time, every time you water you are using either acidic or alkaline water which depends on which soil you have.
 
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I agree with Chuck. Scientifically there is very little difference to the readings of th pH scale that affects us gardeners. It is only when entering the higher echelons of soil sciences that for instance a reading of 6.5 & 7.0 For whatever purpose, albeit 7.0pH is accepted as neuteral.. I have for many years wondered about this. Why? Here in the UK. Areas like the South Downs, Isle of Wight etc have great displays of acid loving shrubs, Azaleas and rhododnedrons. Yet in so many areas the soil depth is but a few inches, then below this level is solid chalk.

So cutting it short. To some extent. You can add more green vegative compost. Dig it in. Be cautious as to using chemical suggestions. Perhaps a good idea is to be more selective when obtaining your plants. Without entering the lecture hall and opening up the realms of plant sciences. We need to take into account, the world around us. The changes that a storm can leave behind. Sorry. I'll leave it there.
 
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One note about water. Tap water is treated in no small part to prevent it from being acidic. It turns out that distilled water (6pH) can attack metal, as in the copper pipes of my home. Perhaps distilled, or rainwater caught for the purpose, would be of some good use. Also, there are some calculators for how much sulfur to use, I have used one at garden.org. Fair warning, 6 months wait is realistic.
 
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mvona

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I so appreciate these replies. I'm growing vegetables. My garden is in a location about 1/4 mile inland from Lake Erie. The soil is very light and full of shale and then some clay if you go down about 18"-24 inches. You could run hose all day there and never have a puddle. I've been amending it for 10 years - I work the soil in the spring adding horse manure, and then some compost and some leaves. Then I just keep it watered and weeded during the growing season. I get a yield (that usually comes late) but not nearly what I think I should so this past September I tested the soil of my primary bed- 32x4'- in two places.(used home style Rapid-test) I got two very similar results; ph between 6.5 and 7.25. The nitrogen, potash and phosphorus were nonexistent or almost depleted.
I do think I have to do a better job of feeding the vegetables through out the season but I also think that Dirt Mechanic and Mike Allen are probably right - it is a long slow process to actually change the nature of the soil.
I need to understand the sulphur thing now if I'm going to bring down the ph for the spring- or is that even necessary ??????
TY,
Mark
 
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Elemental sulfur isn't supposed to work in the winter time so your supposed to add it in the Spring. I found that out after I threw some out in Fall. Bacteria convert the sulfur into sulfuric acid and that is what lowers the pH. Bacteria isn't that active when the ground is cold or froze. To further complicate things the sulfur I bought had a coating around it which takes forever to dissolve.
 
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I so appreciate these replies. I'm growing vegetables. My garden is in a location about 1/4 mile inland from Lake Erie. The soil is very light and full of shale and then some clay if you go down about 18"-24 inches. You could run hose all day there and never have a puddle. I've been amending it for 10 years - I work the soil in the spring adding horse manure, and then some compost and some leaves. Then I just keep it watered and weeded during the growing season. I get a yield (that usually comes late) but not nearly what I think I should so this past September I tested the soil of my primary bed- 32x4'- in two places.(used home style Rapid-test) I got two very similar results; ph between 6.5 and 7.25. The nitrogen, potash and phosphorus were nonexistent or almost depleted.
I do think I have to do a better job of feeding the vegetables through out the season but I also think that Dirt Mechanic and Mike Allen are probably right - it is a long slow process to actually change the nature of the soil.
I need to understand the sulphur thing now if I'm going to bring down the ph for the spring- or is that even necessary ??????
TY,
Mark
I find that if I need to do something that drastic that is not a one time thing. So that means I will make it easy on myself because maybe its something that is ongoing. In my case lime, in yours sulphur. So even lime can be put on in too large of a quantity, and the years I put it down I will do it in the fall and the spring, mainly because the weather is nice. It also lets me test so I do not overshoot. Sulphur is more likely to burn so I would suggest 3 light applications. There are calculators on the web that help figure out how much to use per thousand feet. Just divide the given amount if you are moving past a half point pH.

Here is one:
 
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We planted our blueberries in ericaceous soil in containers. It drifts surprisingly quickly. This spring we emptied them all out of their pots and mixed in sulphur chips and more ericaceous soil. By mid summer they'd drifted quite drastically - possibly the sulphur chips hadn't kicked in? We used vinegar to get a quick fix whilst waiting for the sulphur to take effect. All seems well now. It's starting to look to us as if we're going to need to take them out of their containers each winter and mix in more sulphur chips.

Stay away from tap water.

We're still struggling. It's not as simple as made out - online sources imply that all you need to do is plant them in ericaceous soil, but in our experience it drifts quickly to neutral.
 

mvona

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My local nursery can't keep up with you folks - TY again. I will do the sulphur(lightly) this fall but I am not going to expect much from it next season, as it is apparent in these replies that this is a long process. I've always said gardening is an expression of hope and now I will add that it also builds patience.

Dear Susan BBPM, I have blueberries in a different spot and they have done pretty well. they are 4 years old now. I do not add any fertilizer to them - no nitrogen - but I mulch them heavily in pine shavings.
 
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