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Soil pH- an important factor in crop production

Posted by Sanjeeva Reddy on

              Soil pH scale

Soil pH is the value measure of acidity and alkalinity it possess. Soil pH value is considered as one of the most vital factor which may determine the yield of the crops. Soil pH can regulate and control many chemical and biochemical reactions within the soil. It plays a major role in making the plant nutrients available involving in the chemical reactions of nutrients and pH can also have effect on chemical forms of the nutrients.

Soil pH have a special function in maintaining the population of soil micro flora and fauna. These processes of soil pH with plant nutrient have got significant influence on the crop productivity.

Soil pH value ranges from 1-14 and 7 is considered as neutral.

            Soil pH range

Agricultural soil pH optimum value falls in range of 5.5 to 7.

Many of the agricultural crops grow well in the optimum pH range of soil but some crops have an ability to grow outside the optimum value may be due to the adaptability but some plants cannot tolerate the acidity.

pH of the soil solution may be analysed in the farm with special devices. Narendra 4 in 1 soil testing device may help in analysing the soil pH.

            Soil pH tester

Effects of acidity

The acidity nature of the soil can dissolve the soil minerals and these metallic ions may lead to toxicity to the plants. In normal cases the aluminium metal ions are toxic in the acidic soils. High levels of manganese and iron may inhibit the normal growth of the crop plants. Many applied nutrients like Phosphorous, Calcium, Magnesium and molybdenum nutrients are less available to the plants in acidic soils.

 

Effects of alkalinity

In case of the alkaline soils the solubility of minerals are reduced so that plant may exhibit the deficiency symptoms. The deficiency in iron, manganese, zinc, copper and boron are observed more in high pH soils. In high pH alkaline soils the major nutrient Phosphorus is also less available. High levels of calcium deposits will get accumulated and may inhibit the uptake of potassium and magnesium nutrients.

              Soil pH and nutrient availibility

In the above picture green colour indicates the optimum availability of  respective nutrients to the plant roots in the soil 

Abnormal Soil pH Management

For treating the acidic soils pH less than 5.8 the application of the calcium materials may be done. The exact quantity of the calcium sources to add in to the soil or to treat the acidic soil an exchangeable acidity analyses may be required. The soil calcium and magnesium present in the soil is also an important factor to choose the calcium source.

                              Calcium sources for the acidic soils

High pH alkaline soils may be treated with acidifying agents like sulfur or acid forming fertiliser sources. Experts suggest to manage the nutrient deficiencies occurred in the plants or crops due to alkalinity as it is easy than acidifying the soils where the crops are grown.

 Effects of abnormal Soil pH on crop production

  • Poor root establishment
  • Poor plant vigour
  • Poor nodulation in legumes
  • Abnormal leaf colours
  • Increased disease incidence
  • Decrease in beneficial microorganisms and increase in plant pathogenic organisms
  • Stunted crop growth
  • Plant showing with nutrient deficiencies
  • Poor flower and fruit setting

                   Adverse effects of abnormal Soil pH

Optimum pH range requirement for crops

Sl.No.

Crops

Optimum pH range

Sl.No.

Crops

Optimum pH range

1

Beans, pole

6.0-7.5

21

Potato

4.8-6.5

2

Beet root

6.0-7.5

22

Pumpkin

5.5-7.5

3

Broccoli

6.0-7.0

23

Radish

6.0-7.0

4

Brussels sprout

6.0-7.5

24

Spinach

6.0-7.5

5

Cabbage

6.0-7.0

24

Squash

5.5-7.5

6

Carrot

5.5-7.0

26

Tomato

5.5-7.5

7

Cauliflower

5.5-7.5

27

Chilli

5.5-7.0

8

Celery/Coriander

5.8-7.0

28

Soybeans

 6.5 to 7.5

9

Chives/Onions

6.0-7.0

29

Wheat

6.3 to 7.0

12

Cucumber

5.5-7.0

30

Paddy

5.5-7.5

11

Garlic

5.5-8.0

31

Cucumber

6.0- 7.0

12

Lettuce

6.0-7.0

32

Muskmelons

6.0- 7.5

13

Peas

6.0-7.5

33

Marigold

6.0 -7.5

14

Capsicum

5.5-7.0

34

Watermelon

6.0-7.5

15

Corn/Maize

5.8-7.5

35

Sunflower

6.0 -7.5

16

Forage crops

5.8-7.5

36

Groundnut

6.5-7.0

17

Sugarcane

5.0-8.5

37

Pomegranate

5.5-8.5

18

Guava

5.0-7.5

38

Moringa/Drumstick

6.5-8.0

19

Mango

5.5-7.5

39

Grapes

6.0-8.0

20

Papaya

5.5 -7.5

40

Grams

6.0-7.8

 

Above are the indicated optimum pH ranges for the crops. Soil test analyses during crop planning will help in deciding the crop to go in particular soil. Moreover the soils with extreme pH may be corrected to certain extent with suitable chemical and biological amendment agents.

However adding lot of organic matter, biological agents like biofertiliser bacteria and fungi may help a lot in maintaining the soil pH.

 

K SANJEEVA REDDY,

Senior Agronomist, BigHaat.

 

For more information kindly call on 8050797979 or give missed call on 180030002434 during office hours 10 AM to 5 PM

Disclaimer: The performance of the product (s) is subject to usage as per manufacturer guidelines. Read enclosed leaflet of the product(s) carefully before use. The use of this product(s)/ information is at the discretion of user.


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