Understanding and Correcting Soil Acidity

Soil acidity is rapidly becoming a problem in our region. Each year more soil samples handled by the Noble Research Institute have or are prone to acidity problems. Acidic soils create production problems by limiting the availability of some essential plant nutrients and increasing that of the soil solution’s toxic elements, such as aluminum and manganese, the major cause of poor crop performance and failure in acidic soils. Below soil pH 5.5 (pH is the measurement of soil aciditythe lower the pH, the higher the soil acidity), aluminum may be concentrated enough to limit or stop root development. As a result, plants cannot absorb water and nutrients, are stunted, and exhibit nutrient deficiency symptoms (especially those for phosphorus). Toxic levels of manganese interfere with normal growth processes in the aerial plant parts, which stunts the plant, discolors it, and causes poor yields.