TIPS TO HELP YOU SOLVE SOIL PROBLEMS
Soil problems occur when your soil’s pH level is either too high or too low, when the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is incorrectly balanced or when you have improper soil drainage. Testing your soil (explanation found in previous post) was your first step. Now you have received the results of these soil sample tests, and you are ready to identify a soil problem solution. These tips will help you identify a ph solution as well as what to do if you must remedy your soil for proper drainage .
Before we begin looking at soil problem solutions, however, please note that there are two conditions under which you should NOT test your soil:
1. After a severe storm the ground may be waterlogged and soil tests are likely to give incorrect readings.
2. Drainage tests may be inaccurate when the ground is still partially frozen below where you are digging
Now For Some Soil Problem Solutions:
High pH: Soils with a high pH are alkaline. To lower the pH, mix some sulfur into the soil surrounding the existing plants or into new planting beds
Low pH: Soils with a low pH are too acidic. To correct, add lime to the soil and mix in well to raise the pH level.
High Nitrogen: Soils that have been overfertilized can end up having high nitrogen levels. Water well, and do not fertilize for several months.
Low Nitrogen: This is a common problem – not enough nitrogen. Use synthetic or natural nitrogen-rich fertilizers according to the rate suggested by the manufacturer (very important)
High Phosphorus: If you have used too much high-phosphate fertilizer, you will end up with soil which is too high in phosphorus for best results. To remedy, do not use phosphorus-rich fertilizer for two years. Grow an abundance of plants to use up excess.
Low Phosphorus: To increase phosphorus levels, mix in superphosphate or bone meal into your garden soil. Make sure these additives are mixed thoroughly.
High Potassium: Do not add potassium-rich fertilizers or soil amendments for two to three years. Add nitrogen and phosphorus to help balance the soil.
Low Potassium: Work in potash or wood ashes. (Hint: If you want a green lawn, just scatter wood ashes on it in the fall or early spring — beautiful results) Be careful if working around acid-loving plants. Do not use wood ashes close to these plants because wood ashes is alkaline and can diminish the growth of the acid-loving plants.
Too Much Drainage: Your soil is quite sandy and requires something to hold the water. Add organic amendments such as compost. (Find out how to create compost here?)
Poor Drainage: Heavy, clay soil tends to drain poorly because the soil compacts so readily and can even become as hard as a rock. Use peat moss, compost, or other organic amendments to help loosen the soil. Mix these additives very thoroughly. (Hint: A fork does a great job with the mixing process).
By testing (click to view a four-way soil analyzer) and applying the proper remedy to solve your soil problems, you will soon have a healthy soil and that means healthy and lush plants.
If you don’t like the price of the sour-way soil analyzer, check this one:
Ferry-Morse 310199 Electronic Soil Test Kit
Hopefully these suggestions will be of help to you.
Meanwhile, remember to take advantage of the spring weather to get your soil in shape.