Soil Health: The Importance of a Balanced pH Level

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Soil Health: The Importance of a Balanced pH Level
Designing and maintaining an attractive landscape requires an understanding of pH levels. Whether you're familiar with it or not, the soil in your landscape has a pH level. Some landscapes have a high soil pH level, whereas others have a low soil pH level. For a healthy landscape, you should strive for a balanced pH level that's not too high nor too low.

What Is pH? In basic terms, pH is a measurement of acidity or alkalinity. Soil - as well as other substances can be either acidic or alkaline. It can range from 0 to 14. A pH level of 0 indicates the highest level of acidity. A pH level of 14, on the other hand, indicates the highest level of alkalinity. And a pH level of 7 indicates neutrality.

Plant Nutrition You'll experience greater success with your landscape if the soil has a balanced pH level. For most plants, an ideal pH level is between 5.5 and 7.5, which is considered balanced. If your soil's pH level falls within this range, plants will thrive and grow more easily.

Why is a balanced pH level important exactly? With a balanced pH level, the plants in your landscape will be able to absorb more nutrients. All plants need nutrients to survive. Some of the most essential nutrients for plant growth include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulfur and magnesium.

While these nutrients are often present in the soil, the soil's pH level can affect their composition. Chemical reactions can occur with these nutrients if the soil has an excessively high or low pH level. The nutrients will essentially degrade or change to the point where they can't be absorbed by plants.

Disease Protection
A balanced pH level can also protect your plants from disease. There are thousands of diseases from which plants can suffer. Some of them can even spread to other nearby plants, triggering a chain reaction that wreaks havoc on your landscape. Plant diseases might be common, but they can often be prevented through pH management.

By ensuring that your landscape has a balanced soil pH level, your plants will be better protected from disease. Diseases are often attributed to nutrient deficiencies. If a plant doesn't get enough of a particular type of nutrient, it may succumb to an infectious disease. A balanced pH level will increase your plants' intake of nutrients so that they are less likely to succumb to disease.





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