pH, It Can Save You Money

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PH, It Can Save You MoneyWhat is pH and why is it important? pH is an abbreviation for potential Hydrogen and is used to determine if a solution is acidic or basic (alkaline). A 10-10-10 fertilizer for example is10%-Nitrogen, 10% Phosphorus, 10% Potassium, growers are concerned primarily with
Nitrogen since it’s the limiting element for plant growth. Nitrogen is often delivered to plants by a fertilizer through the Ammonium Nitrate form NH+4(NO-3). When NH+4 is converted to Nitrate (NO-3), HYDROGEN is added to the soil. This is a crucial process since NITRATE(NO-3) is the form of Nitrogen plants use to grow.
The previous addition of Hydrogen will make a grower’s soil more acidic, a decline to the left of 7 on the pH scale. A grower can correct this problem by adding lime as discussed in last month’s article. This addition of lime will cause the pH reading to shift towards the right which is towards the basic side. Plants tend to thrive in a pH range of 5.8-6.5, if a grower keeps adding fertilizer without maintaining the pH within this range money is being wasted, due to the soil becoming more acidic, in short the plant can’t uptake the nutrients from the soil. A brief example of pH, the scale works on tenths, a pH of 5 is 10 times more acidic than a pH of 6 in comparison a pH of 4 would be 100 times more acidic than a pH of 6. In closing keep your soil tested and your pH in the desired range to get the most bang for your fertilizer dollar.

Written By

Shane Biddix, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionShane BiddixExtension Agent, Agriculture Call Shane E-mail Shane N.C. Cooperative Extension, Mitchell County Center
Posted on Mar 2, 2021
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