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How to Fix Acidic Soil

By Alicia Bodine ; Updated September 21, 2017

Various types of fruits, vegetables and plants need different types of soil to grow well. Generally, your soil can be described as alkaline or acidic. The only way to know your soil's pH level is to have it tested. You can use an at-home test kit, or you can hire a professional landscaper to test the soil for you. A plant gets its most vital nutrients from soil that has a pH between 6 and 7.5. If you find that your soil is too acidic, your plants will not grow to their full potential; some might not survive at all.

Review the pH levels reported in your soil test. If the numbers are below 7, they are considered to be acidic. Anything below 6 (slightly acidic) is not good for plant health.

Put on a pair of gloves and some long clothing; limestone can irritate your skin.

Sprinkle 3 lbs. of ground limestone over every 100 square feet of your average soil. Adjust the amount of lime based on the type of soil you have. You will not need as much lime if your soil is sandy or has a low content of organic matter. In this case, you might want to use 2 lbs. of ground limestone over every 100 square feet. In contrast, you will need a little more lime if your soil is made of clay or has a high amount of organic matter. In this case, you might want to use 4 lbs. of ground limestone for every 100 square feet.

Rake the ground limestone into the top 6 inches of your soil.

Repeat every six months to keep the soil's pH above 6.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Soil test results
  • Gloves
  • Long clothing
  • Ground limestone
  • Rake

Tip

  • If you don't want to use ground limestone, you can use wood ash at a rate of 5 lbs. for every 1,000 square feet to raise your pH levels.

Warning

  • You can use hydrated lime instead of ground limestone, but according to Iowa State University, you are more likely to over-lime with this product.

About the Author

 

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for 13 years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, GoBankingRates and WiseGeek. Bodine is passionate about gardening, travel, education and finance. She has received awards for being a top content producer.