SOIL pH AND NUTRIENT AVAILABILITY

pH AND NUTRIENT AVAILABILITY TO APPLE TREES

 (हिन्दी )

What is pH?

pH of soil is a measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of soil. The pH scale goes from 0 to 14 with pH 7 as a neutral point. Soil pH ranging 0 to 7 is termed acidic soil and pH ranging 7 to 14 is term basic soil. Areas with limited rainfall typically have alkaline soils while areas with higher rainfall typically have acidic soils. Apple trees prefer slightly acidic soil with a ph of 6.5. So it is necessary to adjust the soil ph to 6.5.

How can we measure the pH of the soil?

ph of the soil can be determined with the help of ph meter. To begin with the test we will require soil sample for the test. Sample of soil can be taken by digging holes 2 to 3 inches deep. Sampled soil should be mixed with distilled water in the ratio 1:5. For example if soil sample weighs 10 grams add 50 ml distilled water into the clean jar. Mix the solution for 2 to 3 minutes and let the soil settle down. Insert the test probe of pH meter into the jar and weight for 1 minute. Take the reading and note it down. If reading is below 7 then the soil is acidic and if it is higher than 7 the soil is alkaline.

 

5.0

 

5.5

 

6.0

 

6.5

 

7.0

 

7.5

 

8.0

Strongly

acid

Medium

acid

Slightly

acid

Best range

For apple

Neutral

Best range for apple

neutral

Mildly

alkaline

Moderately

alkaline

 

Soil pH and nutrient availability

The main goal in managing soil fertility is to assure adequate supply of nutrients for tree growth and its overall development, ultimately high yield. Most of the nutrients are available in the soil but it is not necessary that they are available to the plant. Ph of soil plays a key role in nutrient uptake. If the ph of the soil ranges between 6 and 7 then most of the nutrients will be available to the trees. Following table shows relationship between soil Ph and nutrient availability.

NUTRIENT AVAILABILITY

NUTRIENT AVAILABILITY

NUTRIENT Availability in pH range
NITROGEN      6.0—8.0
PHOSPHORUS      6.5—7.5
POTASSIUM      6.0—10
SULPHUR      6.0—10
CALCIUM      6.5—8.5
MAGNESIUM      6.5—8.5
IRON      4.0—6.5
MANGANESE      5.0—6.5
BORON      5.0—7.0
COPPER AND ZINC      5.0—7.0
MOLYBDENUM      6.5—10

 

How to adjust the soil pH?

(Case 1) Acidic Soils with pH lesser than 7 (pH < 7). If the pH level is below 6 then the soil is too acidic. So to raise the pH limestone is to be applied to the soil. Lime is usually added to acidic soil to raise the pH. Wood ashes also help in raising the pH as it contains lime and other nutrients. Different liming materials are

  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Calcium oxide  (quick lime)
  • Calcium Hydroxide (hydrated lime)
  • Calcium magnesium carbonate (dolomite)

(Case 2) Alkaline Soils with pH higher than 7 (pH > 7). If pH level is greater than 8 then the soil is too basic. So to lower the pH sulfur is added to the soil. The materials used to lower the pH are—

  • Iron sulfate
  • Aluminum sulfate
  • Ammonium sulfate
  • Urea (It has a small effect in lowering the soil pH.)

 

 

 

 

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