Acidic soil has a pH lower than 7.0 and is beneficial for the growth of plants such as blueberries, blackberries, rhododendrons and weeping willows. When taking care of plants you may need to adjust the balance of acid or alkaline to provide the plants with the best soil for their growth. If you need to make soil acidic for your plants, there are several options. Follow these steps to make the soil more acidic.
- Check to make sure acid is the solution. Before you start changing the chemistry of your garden soil, make sure that all your plants can benefit from additional acid. Some plants react badly to high acid content of soil and you don't want to kill some plants while trying to help others. Talk to your local plant nursery to be sure which of your plants prefer acidic soil and which do not.
- Decide upon a method for increasing acidity. There are several options for making soil acidic. You can take the easy way by purchasing time released fertilizer to modify the soil pH. These fertilizers work quickly and have been developed so that you don't have to monitor the soil too closely. However, there are a few more natural or organic options that you can choose from. Coffee grounds, wood chips, peat moss and leaf mold are common options.
- Prepare your fertilizer or mix. Now that you've chosen a method for adjusting the acid level, mix your solution. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer or collect the coffee grinds that you will use.
- Mix the acidic component with soil. No matter what solution you opt for you cannot just dump it on your plants and then ignore them. Instead you are better sifting through the top layer of soil and slowly combining handfuls of the acidic component. This way you are gradually adding the acid without completely disturbing the garden.
- Water the plants and soil. Once you have started disturbing the soil a little you need to provide water to help the acid make its way deeper into the soil. Remember that water will carry the acid throughout your garden so if you have plants that are not as fond of acid, be sure that you add only small amounts of acid to the soil and keep it away from the plants that prefer a neutral or alkaline soil.
You can make soil acidic for plants with just a few steps. You should monitor your garden whenever you make changes to the soil whether you spray with fertilizer or mix the soil by hand. By taking the time to monitor and balance the acid content of your garden soil you can help your plants thrive.