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12 Natural Ways to Make Soil More Acidic for Plants

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12 Natural Ways to Make Soil More Acidic for Plants

If you’re interested in making your soil more acidic, there are a few natural methods you can try. Adding leaf mold or citrus peelings to your soil can help. Additionally, there is sulfur and peat moss to further help lower the soil pH.

Be careful with these methods, though, as too much acid can be harmful to your plants. Begin by adding small amounts and test the soil regularly to see how it’s responding. With a little patience, you can get the perfect acidic soil for your plants.

Why Increase Soil Acidity?

Soil pH is very important in agriculture. Depending on what you’re growing, the ideal pH range for most plants is 5.5 to 7.0 [1].

Still, some plants will only do well if planted in acidic soil. Therefore, by increasing soil acidity, these plants will readily absorb the nutrients they need from the soil.

How to Test Soil pH

This step is easy and essential for a healthy garden. The first step is to purchase a quality soil pH testing kit. Now follow the instructions included with your kit to know the exact pH of your soil.

Moreover, most kits come with all the necessities to test your soil, including a pH meter, soil sampling probes, and pH testing strips.

Acid-Loving Plants

These are plants that thrive in acidic soil conditions. They grow well where the soil is generally more acidic.

Tomatoes, hydrangeas, gardenias, azaleas, holly, rhododendrons, and blueberries are just a few of the plants that grow well on acidic soil.

How to Make Soil More Acidic Naturally

One question often asked by our readers is how to raise the acidity in soil naturally. There are a few different ways to do this, and we’ll go over a few of the most popular methods below.

1. Sulfur

This is a natural element that can be found in many different forms. One of such is elemental sulfur.

By adding sulfur to the soil, it reacts with bacteria to create sulfuric acid [2]. This acid can then help to lower the pH of the soil.

TIGER 90CR and Espoma Soil Acidifier are excellent organic acidic soil amendments for this purpose.

2. Leaf Mold

Leaf mold is decomposed leaves that fungi have broken down. As it breaks down, it releases acids that aid in lowering the pH of your soil.

To use, add a few layers of leaves to your garden beds. Now, wait a while (possibly a few months) for the leaves to break down. Finally, the decomposed leaves will release their acidity into the soil, making it slightly acidic.

3. Compost

Compost is rich in organic matter. Over time, it will help to decrease the pH of your garden soil.

This is also a great remedy to improve the overall health of your soil.

4. Pine Needles

This is another excellent remedy to give acid-loving plants the environment they need. These sharp leaves are naturally acidic, so they’ll help lower the pH of your soil.

Throw in some pine needles in your compost pile or add a layer of pine straw mulch to the garden area.

5. Cottonseed Meal

Cottonseed meal is often used as a fertilizer to lower soil pH. You can use it as mulch or compost. Plus, it is very high in nitrogen.

6. Vinegar

If your soil is overly alkaline for the crops you wish to grow, you can easily correct it by applying a little vinegar. This product is an acidic liquid, so you know what it can do to your garden soil.

To acidify the soil with vinegar, combine one cup of vinegar with one gallon of water. Next, apply the solution to the soil around your plants.

This home remedy works quickly and is fairly inexpensive.

7. Lemon Juice

Lemons are not only great for adding a little bit of flavor to your water but you can also use them as a helpful aid in the vegetable garden to acidify the soil organically.

Simply add the juice of a lemon (about 2 tablespoons) to a gallon of water. Next, pour it around the roots of your plants.

This lemon water solution will help create a more hospitable environment for acidic soil plants.

8. Coffee Grounds

Coffee is naturally acidic. Therefore, adding the grounds to your soil will create a hospitable environment for acid-loving plants.

To make the soil more acidic with coffee grounds, thoroughly mix them into your soil. You can also throw in some used coffee grounds into your compost for an extra boost.

9. Sphagnum Peat Moss

This type of moss is very acidic, so you don’t have to ask what it will do to your soil.

Peat moss also works great at retaining nutrients and moisture, so it’s highly valuable for your vegetable garden and flower beds.

To use peat moss to lower the pH of your soil, add some to the top layer of your soil and water well. You can also use it to make an acidic compost tea.

10. Wood Chips

Adding wood chips to your garden is another organic method that works well to make soil acidic. For the process, simply place them on top of the soil or fold them into the top layer.

Small wood chips decompose quickly compared to larger wood chips, so you may need to add yearly or every two years at the most.

11. Acidifying Fertilizers

These fertilizers lower soil pH and make it more hospitable for plants that require acidic conditions to thrive. You can find acidifying fertilizers at your local garden center or online.

But, if you’re not sure which fertilizer to use, ask a professional at your local gardening store for advice. Down To Earth Acid Mix, Dr Earth Acid Lovers, and SaferGro pH Down are great organic options, however.

12. Citrus Peelings

Citrus fruits are naturally acidic, so their peelings are a great way to add some extra acidity to your soil.

Just chop up the peelings into small pieces and add to your compost heap or blend them up and place them in your planting hole when transplanting.

You can also make citrus peel tea by steeping the peels in boiling water for a few minutes. Next, let it cool before using the water to water your plants.

Takeaway

Acidic soil is ideal for growing many types of plants, but it can be tricky to achieve the right level of acidity.

Luckily, as outlined above, there are a few natural methods you can try out to increase acidity in soil. You just have to exercise a little patience as some may take a while, even months to see results.

Sasha Brown

Blogger and lover of all things natural.

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