is my soil too alkaline?

Sarah80November 14, 2012

Due to my husbands job transfer, we just moved from the Pittsburgh, PA area to Columbus, OH.

I just got the results back from my soil test and was shocked and concerned. I assumed that, due to a similar climate, my soil here in Central hio would have a similar acidity to our old house in PA.

I WAS WRONG!! Despite the heavy nature, I loved my acid soil in PA, pH 5.0, hat grew everything I liked from Azaleas to Red Maples and Conifers.

What can I grow in this neutral clay, pH 7.0? It seems like all my favorites are out that like acid soil -- red maples, most oaks, azaleas, especially most conifers...what do you grow in a soil and climate like mine?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

google says normal is 'in the range 6.0 to 6.8 for most plants'

i would suggest you are basically normal.. and so is your soil ... and the sky is the limit in the conifer kingdom...

you might want to discuss such with your county extension office..

there ought to be some wonderful arboretums in your new area.. you might also want to contact them.. and see what they have to say ... or jsut go visit .. even in winter.. and see what they are growing in the ground ....

and you might also want to discuss such with the peeps at the link ... they are in westerville.. which is a northern burb of columbus .. [whew.. talk about enabling.. lol] ...

frankly.. i have a few friends in your general area.. and i am not aware of any limitations on your ability to garden ... the only caveat in OH.. is usually that famous OH clay.. and the issue is how you need to plant things in the first place .. [read that: drainage issues]

good luck

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:12AM
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joeschmoe80(6 (Ohio))

Sarah, I have similar soil (although my pH is .2 lower than yours) and I have similar concerns, however, I *see* all those plants growing around here and they look OK to me.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 8:58AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

here's a very useful soil ph map. warning, big

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 10:54AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

BTW .. i am impressed you started with a soil test ... many gold stars ...

just dont let it drive you crazy now ... lol

that map is pretty cool.. it shows half of OH.. the same color as that yucky clay.. lol ....

and it also shows my area.. high 6 or 7 .. and i have NO ISSUES regarding such ...

ken

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 11:30AM
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wisconsitom

Sarah, at pH 7.0, most plants will be happy. The ones that won't are your Acer rubrum, pin oaks, azaleas/rhodies, river birch, etc. IOWs, true acid lovers. Everything else will do just fine.

I live in an area of circumneutral soil. Those same outliers I mentioned above are no-gos here, but the overwhelming majority of other plants are good to go.

+oM

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 9:00PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

The Freeman maples (red/silver cross) are a bit more high ph tolerant than a straight rubrum, but you have to watch the branch structure.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 9:15PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Tom, I disagree that Acer rubrum and Betula nigra will struggle in neutral soil. I've grown both with extreme vigor and lustrous green foliage in something between upper 6s and lower 7s. The range for both is in the mid to upper 7s if I'm not mistaken.

azaleas/rhodies are fine as well but they aren't as vigorous due to the soil texture around here.

Pin oak starts to struggle once you get into the upper 6s, but its Pink oak so who care, lol. Seed source will impact its adaptability as well.

Here a couple. Darn things are double the size now after doing a drive by of the old house.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 10:31PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Maybe its my aging eyes, but those maples look more like Freeman red silver cross that a straight rubrum.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 7:40AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

hairmetal, looks like that to me, too. Look at the leaves on the far right in the 2nd pic. They don't look like pure rubrum -- more like silver. Form/branching too...

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 10:44AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

You guys are on the ball!

Those are Acer x freemanii 'Celzam'. Sorry, old pictures, old house pasted the links in hast.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 2:15PM
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wisconsitom

River birch look good though. I guess my main point was that OP's pH at her new place will NOT be a big deterrent to growing many plant species!

+oM

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 2:46PM
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