How to Use a Soil pH Meter


Knowing your soil's pH is an important aspect of gardening. Most plants grow well in neutral soil, with a pH level around 6.5. Levels above seven mean that your soil is alkaline, and pH levels below seven mean that it is acidic. Most plants that thrive in neutral soil can handle a little bit of acidity or alkalinity. However, soil that is too far on either end of the spectrum may only be suitable for certain plants unless it is amended to neutralize its pH.

Step 1

Water the soil.

Step 2

Remove the top two inches of the soil.

Step 3

Stick the probe four to five inches into the soil. Twist the probe around a bit to ensure that it has sufficient contact with the soil.

Step 4

Leave the meter in the soil for at least 60 seconds.

Step 5

Read the meter. In analog models, an indicator will point to the specific pH of your soil. Digital pH meters will display a number indicating the pH of your soil.

Things You'll Need

  • pH meter
  • Soil


  • Clemson University: pH Meter/Soil
Keywords: test soil pH, how to use pH meter, how to use pH tester

About this Author

Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.