How to make garden soil Acidic

bencelest(z9 CA)March 13, 2004

How can you make your garden soil a little acidic, let us say 6.5?

Any suggestion?

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mid_tn_mama(6)

Add coffee grounds and pine needles. All free. There! Solved your problem.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2004 at 9:53AM
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ericwi

Adding ammonium sulfate will lower soil pH immediately, and
boost available nitrogen at the same time. Adding soil
sulfur(granulated sulfur) will also lower soil pH, but the
process is much slower, because soil microbes have to work
on the sulfur, which takes time. You will need to check
soil pH periodically in order to control the process.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2004 at 10:27AM
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robyn_tx(8 Dallas)

Coffee grounds are slow action, but good source. Some people think they keep stray cats away too. I can't get pine needles/mulch in my area, except after Christmas when the garbage folks put trees through the chipper and give out the mulch for free.

Consider spaghnum peat. It's acidic but breaks down more slowly than ammonium sulfate - and aerates your soil at the same time!
Robyn

    Bookmark   March 13, 2004 at 3:09PM
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antic_zone9(z9FL)

Oak leaves are acidic!
Ever since I started amending my soil around the blackberry plant, it has loved it and gone nuts with flowers and soon, berries!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2004 at 2:20AM
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Millie_36(Z6b MO)

I was just wandering from forum subject to subject and saw this question....hope you all don't mind.

How about using something that will give quick results and the agricultural sulphur for the long haul?

when preparing to plant blueberries, we tilled in peat and fine pine bark for humus, as well as water holding, and soil acidity. The grower we got the plants from told us to use the agricultural sulphur to keep it acid. That was 10 plus years ago, and all we have done since is to use triple 13 fert. (acid base) and dust more sulphur over the mulch every 2 - 3 years to offset the limestone in the water.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2004 at 8:09AM
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bencelest(z9 CA)

Thanks for answering my question folks!
Now I know what to do.
Have a nice day.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2004 at 11:07AM
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Peter_in_Az(Sunset zone 10)

...check the pH of your water. If it's alkiline(sp) you're going to be fighting an up-hill battle.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2004 at 9:51PM
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Violet_Z6(6a)

Have your soil tested by you Extension Service. It usually costs no more than it takes to buy a kit which only tells you your pH and tells you much more than just pH, like exactly how much of what you need to amend your soil. You'll actually save money in the long run because you won't be guessing. And you won't be putting "too much" so that your soil becomes overly acidic.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2004 at 7:47PM
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Telemark

I think that an acid requirement is (at least in part) due to a need for available iron (more soluble at lower pH). When I pull smallish nails or staples, I throw them around my azaleas, camellias, etc; I can't tell you if it makes a difference (no controls). Throw any acidic waste liquids, such as vinegar or OJ around the plants also.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2004 at 4:39AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

FWIW: The label on my free Starbucks coffee grounds says that their coffee grounds have a pH of 6.9.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2004 at 2:12PM
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Sachis2112(z10 CA)

Hi there. I just read on the composting FAQ that coffee grounds do not have high acidity once they have been used. The acidity transfers to the water instead. Might test that to see if it's true...

    Bookmark   April 28, 2004 at 6:12PM
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bencelest(z9 CA)

I really appreciate your responses guys and dolls.
Thank you!

Benny

    Bookmark   April 30, 2004 at 10:02AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Benny, Adding lots of compost to your planting bed will also help acidify soil, as will using more compost as a continued mulch or top dressing, replacing as needed. (When beds are top dressed with compost, it will help to slowly feed your soil, keep roots cool, retain moisture too) If you haven't made your own, compost and composted animal manures are available by the truck load, or the bag.

Leaves and other plant remains release organic acids as they decompose; wherever accumulation is faster than decomposition, an acid condition follows.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2004 at 11:58AM
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trakehner_26(6)

I'm wondering if using acv (apple cider vinegar) might help cause an acidic soil. I'd like to grow blueberries, and am thinking that this might really help make an acidic soil. What do you think? I believe blueberries are native to KY (where I'm at) so I shouldn't need too much help.ALso, I have very clayish soil, wondering if it might help break down the clay? Maybe wishful thinking...

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 8:51AM
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equinecpa(4)

I just tested the ph on my coffee...its 6.0 -could I use the cold coffee on my blueberry plants?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 6:26PM
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newstemp1_iol_ie

I recently bought a triple pH/Moisture/Light meter on Ebay for $5.98 including shipping (the green analog meter type that needs no batteries and has dual 8 inch probes). It showed that the pH in the garden was close to 7 everywhere. The soil was very wet close to the surface (poor drainage despite some sand content) except for areas where I had mixed in a lot of general purpose compost down to 12-16". There a strong moisture gradient was apparent.

It would be cheap & easy to keep an eye on pH levels at different depths after adding acidic material. Vinegar correctly shows a pH of less than 3.5 (the scale minimum).

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 8:01AM
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gtippitt

I second the suggestion of vinegar. I'm growing some blueberries in containers and needed to lower the pH in their pots from 6.5 to 5. I didn't need enough to buy a large bag of soil sulfur, so I added a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water. While watering the plants, I would add a few cups of the dilute vinegar. When they needed to be watered again, I tested the soil with a pH meter and added a bit more of the dilute vinegar until I had the pH down to 5.

I got my meter on eBay just as DH12 said. Some people say they aren't accurate, but mine is working fine as long as I insert the probes fully into the dirt and make sure the dirt is moist. Some people don't read the instructions that say these meters won't work in liquid, and then say these cheap meters don't work. I have an aquarium test kit and and tested the pH before I got the meter, but it was difficult sometimes because water raised the readings unless I used distilled water to mix with the soil sample. The meter is quick, cheap, easy, and gave me the same results as a reagent test kit.

Because of having to water frequently this summer with hard tap water, the pH creped back up to 5.5 after a month, so I added a bit more vinegar, and the pH is holding now.

Greg

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 4:59AM
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mike259

For Blueberrys can I make the water I use acidic and water the bushes to keep them healthy because I am waiting for a water PH test kit

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 4:36PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

Quote: --- * Posted by mike259 (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 11, 10 at 16:36

For Blueberrys can I make the water I use acidic and water the bushes to keep them healthy because I am waiting for a water PH test kit ---

Please see: gardenweb.com useful discussions of pH

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 12:47PM
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hotmail_hotmail_com

add stuff.. like oak leaves

    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 4:42AM
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charleslou23

gtippitt, did you use a typical cooking vinegar from the grocery store or the stronger agriculture grade like from home depot or lowes?

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 9:33PM
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estoneotr_aol_com

still confused re:coffee. use grinds after perking or from the container? how often to apply and how much (est. of course). i have been poured a pot of perked coffee around plant soil-will this work?

help,help,help garden challenged planter

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 2:00PM
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russell327_gmail_com

I second the last question. I just planted a rhododendron "pjm". We have been getting a lot more rain in our area than usual (western NE) so I thought it was getting overwatered. But now I am thinking that it is due to a lack of acid as I planted it with regular potting soil and not an acid base soil. So now I think I need to get more acid to it. I dug around it a little bit an put some acid soil around two weeks after planting it, but don't think it is enough. Please help if you have any ideas. I don't want to kill my plant but have no clue what i am doing....

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 10:28PM
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MECS7705

Thanks for all the advice. I have been having trouble keeping small ivy plants alive indoors. Ph of soil used by nurseries is 7. Surprised because it is known that ivy likes 6.5. My water required 1/4 c. Vinegar/gal. To acidifying to6.5.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 2:31PM
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michelle_pndlvr2(8)

I enjoy drinking coffee and keep a cup next to my Keurig to dump my spent coffee grounds in..When the cup gets full, I dump a bit on or around flowering plants and veggies in my garden..I have lots of flowers and my veggies have lots of fruit on them⦠Coffee works for me. I wonder if the grounds are keeping the slugs away..Since I have been using coffee grounds I haven't had any problems with slugs, which were a total nightmare before.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 10:52PM
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