Soil pH test kits
With the majority of ornamental plants being non native analysing Soil pH is an important part of gardening in Australia and is easy using one of the many test kits available. Our soils are very different to those of many of the areas from where we get plants such as roses, tomatoes and vegetables and soil acidity or alkalinity affects plant growth.
The pH scale goes from 0 -14 with most soils being between 4 and 8, different plants prefer different levels and we need to lower or raise ph to optimize growth. Both pH meters and test kits are readily available for sale from nurseries and from online retailers.
How to test soil pH
A quick review of kits reveals that the two main methods of measuring ph, are by using a pH meter, and simple pH test kits. A simple kit will cost around $25 delivered.
Meters are the most accurate, test kits are the cheapest, and instructions are easy to follow.
Widely used in the home garden to measure the acidity of soil for vegetables, roses, camellias, dahlias and other plants.
These kits are simple, with a solution being added to a small soil sample and then dusted with a powder the color is matched on a chart. The pH level is indicated by the color.
Soil pH level guides
Camellias, Conifers, Gardenias, Japanese Maples and other prefer a pH between 4.5 and 6.
Vegetables and MOST other plants 5.8 – 7.5
Cacti and Succulents 7- 7.5
Changing the pH of the soil.
We suggest that if soil ph needs adjusting that you consult your local garden supply center for advice before attempting any corrections, a rough guide is :
- To raise the pH of soil try a mix of dolomite and agricultural lime at 200grams per sq metre
- To lower pH use agricultural sulphur at 60grams per sq metre