Nutrient Management Planning

The Importance of Soil pH

(2013-07-29) In the soil pH scale of 1 to 14, a pH of 7 is neutral and a pH of 5 is considered very acidic. A soil pH of 6.0 to 6.5 is usually considered to be a good indicator of a productive field. PEI soils are naturally acidic, this is because of the material from which our soil was formed and our relatively high rainfall. The use of commercial fertilizer also has a considerable effect on lowering soil pH.

The use of agricultural lime is the most effective way to increase soil pH. As the calcium and magnesium in the aglime becomes part of the soil solution the soil pH increases and provides the following crop production benefits.

  • Increases the availably of nutrients presently in the soil and in commercial fertilizer applied to the soil
  • Improves the nitrogen fixation by legume crops such as soybeans and clover
  • Improves the effectiveness of certain herbicides
  • Helps improve microbial activity in the soil
  • Supplies the crop with a source of calcium and magnesium and helps prevent soil compaction

The best way to find out if your land requires lime is to have your soil analyzed. Soil testing will be our fall topic.

About the Author

Harvey Cairns is the agronomist working with Kensington North and the PEI Federation of Agriculture on nutrient management with our farmers. Harvey has a long professional background with nutrient management. He has worked for the PEI Soil and Crop Improvement Association and the PEI Dept. responsible for Agriculture. He is a Certified Nutrient Planner and a Certified Crop Advisor. His many years of experience is apparent in his observations on soil and nutrient issues.

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