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Does Dry Soil Affect Soil pH Readings?

May 31, 2013

 Does Dry Soil Affect Soil pH Readings?

 Question: I recently read in a magazine article that the extreme dryness of the soil could affect the soil pH readings.  If this is true, are there any guidelines as to how much?  When I took the soil samples, the soil was absolutely dry with no significant rain in the last half of the growing season.

 Answer: Unfortunately there are no solid guidelines.  What we do here is because we have farmers on a two-year, soil-testing regiment I can look back over the past four or five soil testing application scenarios and have a good idea of where the soil pH should be for a particular field.  When I see a field that’s moved sharply acidic, then I look at where I would expect it to be and align it as such. If I had a brand-new field that I didn’t have any history on and I tested it during the drought or last fall and it was extremely acid, I’d apply only half of the limestone the test calls for and then I would make the field verify that it is that acid.  I’d do that by retesting the field in two years. I wouldn’t wait five or six years to verify it.  I’d also set up my budget now so I’m prepared to put the remaining half of the limestone application on the field – if the field does indeed verify it needs the remaining amount in two years.

What Causes Corn Leaves To Turn Purple? Soil pH is key to phosphorus availability because if soil pH is too high or too low, the nutrient will not be available to the plant.

Residual N Lowers pH Areas of Ohio and Indiana have enjoyed recent precipitation events that have gone a long way to pull those areas of the cornbelt out of drought.

Evaluate Soil pH and Buffer pH To Determine Lime Needs Water pH and buffer pH levels can indicate whether you have residual acidity that needs to be neutralized.

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