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Don't walk a tightrope, balance your soil

We know that the pH level is important in your garden soils but why?

The pH is a chemical term, and it is how you measure the acidic or alkaline properties of your soil. Each substance that is tested is given a pH value on a scale that ranges from 0 to 14. Alkaline soils have pH values higher than 7.0 and acidic soils have a pH of below 7, so that makes 7 neutral.

Most plants like a pH level of 6 to 7, with some exceptions such as azaleas and camellias, which like the soil at 5 to 5.5 and plants like lavender from 6.5 to 7.5. If your soil is too acidic or too alkaline, your plants will have trouble in getting all the nutrients they need, no matter how much fertiliser you add.

Adding Lime or dolomite to your soil will raise the pH and adding powered sulfur will lower the pH, but you need to do it slowly as little of either can make a big difference to your soil. Test your soil every couple of months to keep it at the right level.

The first step in managing your soils is to measure the pH to confirm if it is acidic or alkaline or if it is spot on for the plants that you wish to grow. Go to your local Garden Supplies Store and get a pH kit or sensor or just take in some soil and they may test it for you.