Soil pH

Asked April 17, 2015, 12:27 PM EDT

I tested the pH of my soil with a testing kit. According to this test, my garden soil is super alkaline. The test indicated that the pH was far above 7.5. How reliable are pH testing kits? Do I need to reduce the alkalinity of the soil? If so, how do I go about this?

Jackson County Oregon soil and fertility issues

1 Response

Thank you for your question! Soil pH is very important to have productive plants. Soil pH preference can vary significantly between plants as well. I have included several resources that can hopefully help you solve your pH dilemma.

Soil pH tests purchased at farm and ranch stores are fairly accurate if you follow the directions. Take a look at the following publication to make sure you are getting an accurate reading.
-A Guide to Collecting Soil Samples for Farms and Gardens: https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/files/project/pdf/ec628.pdf

You can also send out a soil sample to test for nutrients and soil pH. Here is a list of laboratories that can complete those tests.
-Laboratories Serving Oregon: Soil, Water , Plant Tissue, and Feed Analysis:
https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/files/project/pdf/...

If you do discover that you need to adjust your soil pH, here are a couple publications explaining how to do so:
-Acidifying Soil for Blueberries and Ornamental Plants in the Yard and Garden: West of the Cascade Range in Oregon and Washington: https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/files/project/pdf/...
-Fertilizing your Garden - EC 1503: https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/files/project/pdf/...

I would also suggest contacting your local OSU Master Gardeners. They have a wealth of knowledge and may have personal experience with this same situation. The Jackson County Master Gardeners can be contacted at 541-776-7371, extension 204 or by visiting them at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, 569 Hanley Rd, Central Point, Oregon.

Please let me know if this information is helpful or if there are any questions I can answer.