Alkaline Soils: And How Plants Use Them

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determining the value of alkaline soil

Just as how you would describe a human body being either alkaline or acidic, in the same manner we will also judge and determine how your soil is in nature. Alkaline soil is specifically what we will be highlighting and talking about.

As it turns out the pH of the soil is highly important when you are measuring and trying to determine how alkaline or acidic a kind of soil is.

The values can range from being 0 to being 14.

7 is the neutral level- this means the soil is neither too acidic nor is it too alkaline and falls somewhere in between.

So before you make up your mind to grow anything, make sure to know where your soil is standing.

It needs to come to a good value on the scale.

Only then will you be able to ensure and make an impact on how the plants are getting their boost of nutrition.

Now while you may have an idea on what does it mean to have acidic soil. However we will be looking into and talking about how alkaline soil holds up:

So let’s start:

What is Alkaline Soil?

properties of alkaline soil

This term refers to when we consider a kind of soil as being ‘sweet soil’.  The pH level of this comes to around 7.

And this means it has a high end of sodium, calcium as well as magnesium levels in it.

But alkaline soil is actually is not as soluble than acidic.

It is also very limited in usage. And comes at a range not as effective.

Alkaline soil is also less soluble which means there will be various concerns you will face as you try to ensure that the productivity of the plants remains intact.

Also another catch with using this kind of sweet soil is that you will not be able to absorb the nutrients in the same manner.

One of the major ways in which soil can become alkaline is that if you continuously make use of  hard water and have the soil absorb it, it will be making the soil even more alkaline as you continue to add lime to it.

So now let’s talk about how you can actually fix this alkaline soil is by ensuring that you make use of sulfur.

The sulfur will be increasing the acidity in the soil.

So even if you add about 1 to 3 ounces of ground sulfur per 1 square yard, you will definitely be lowering the pH levels of the soil.

In case the soil seems to be too sandy or you notice it has plenty of clay element in it, then that too will be maintaining and balancing out the pH level of your soil.

Another way to make some impact is by actually increasing the organic material which includes peat moss, composted wood as well as sawdust.

These all help in bringing down the pH level. Make sure you are allowing the material to properly reset.

This will allow you to grow the plants in a sturdy manner.

Plants for Sweet Soil

identifying alkaline soil

So when talking about the ways in which alkaline soil can be used, there are actually certain kinds of plants which are suiting for this kind of plantation.

There are different types of alkaline plants which actually need and survive better when using sweet soil.

So these are some of the most common kinds of weeds which have a good hold of alkaline soils. This will allow you to understand how your plants will be getting the best kind of treatment.

There are different plants out there which come with different requirements. You need to have a better understanding of what you need.

And then find out the kind of soil your plants need.

Now let’s look at some of the most common kinds and how you can determine the kind of soil it has.

Let’s see what they can be:

  • Chickweed
  • Dandelions
  • Goosefoot

This means you will be knowing how your soil is sweet and can give good results.

You can actually grow certain kinds of plants which are known to adapt the use of soil.

These are some of the most common types which are heavily used:

  • Asparagus
  • Yams
  • Okra
  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Oregano
  • Cauliflower

Now let’s look at some of the flowers which are able to tolerate and grow well in soil which is alkaline in small amounts. This includes:

  • Zinnias
  • Clematis
  • Hosta
  • Salvia
  • Sweet pea
  • Rock cress
  • Lavender

Determining the Soil pH

Let’s now look into what pH level is going to determine how ‘alkaline’ soil is.

This soil level is one that comes at a value of 7 and higher.

The sweet soil is good for certain kinds of plant.

They can easily thrive in them. When you are deciding on the planting options, ensure you have the kinds which are effective in certain regions.

While some plants of the same genus are actually going to be able to withstand this kind of acidity, it is essentially not effective for all kinds of plants and flowers.

You need to determine which plants may suit to what kind of soil preferences. This means it is essentially important to adapt the soil structure which is suiting to what kind of alkaline soils you have.

So now let’s look into and talk about setting the right kind of alkaline level for your soil.

Why My Soils So Alkaline? Altering the pH

While some prefer to keep the soil alkaline, there can be instances where you will need the soil to be acidic.

So how do you work on that?

Altering the soil’s pH level is one of the most common dilemmas and concerns that come when thinking of effective gardening and agricultural settings.

So how do you reduce the alkaline pH levels?

While some can adapt effective strategies, when it comes to altering the pH levels, in certain situations it becomes impossible.

But here’s the thing, there are some great products that aim at producing acid as they will be interacting with the soil and aim in creating an acid solution.

While these materials will not be forming acid, the soil aims at consuming acid and this in turn leads to a higher amount of calcium carbonate in the soil solution.

Emphasis of Calcite

So when we talk about elements that make a major difference in ensuring the soil is in its acidic best, calcite is actually an evaporite material.

This is one which is concentrated as well as can be solidified.

They can concentrate to high enough levels upon excess of evaporation.

And will be crystallizing to ensure that they form the state of evaporite solid soils.

So this in turn defines a majorly complicated process which will make it even harder for you to set the pH level to something which is properly approachable.

You will be spending your time and will be adapting ways to make it more effective and sustainable.

However instead of looking at ways in which you can adapt a neutral pH level, you can always look into some of the local nurseries and when you look into the horticulture and the agriculture aspect of it, it is worthy of getting sorted.

So make sure you are spending your money in a proper manner.

Importance of Soil Test

Also if you are determined to grow those acid-loving plants, then you can look into ways in which you can make sue of container plantings which is a good option for you to ensure it sprouts great results.

You can also ensure you take the most advantage of using acidifying the water which is an effective way for you to adapt strong ways of making the soil even more acidic.

In some cases you may be able to get soils which are high in alkaline having a value of above pH of 7. But they are actually not high in what we call the calcium carbonate content.

The problem is these kind of soils will not be able to hold onto lowering the pH levels. This is where you can make use of  soil tests.

They help in determining free lime and what kind of calcium carbonate content are available.

Hence it is best that you make sure that the alkaline condition is such that it is properly dissolving the carbonate in the water.

When soils have a pH of 7.5, this means the calcium carbonate content is high for those.

This is something already given and does not require for you to create a test for the same.


When it comes to looking into ways in which your soil is productive, make sure you first decide whether you want it to be alkaline or acidic.

In this article we talked about ways in which your plants will thrive.

While some plants would prefer making use of acidic soil, alkaline soil is used for others.

It is able to ensure that your plants are thriving and able to take in all the nutrients properly.

This is why it is essential that you make a complete conscious decision on how your plants should be and ensure you are adapting strategic ways in keeping your plants strong and thriving.

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