AG-USA



Conquer Nature By Cooperating With It
 

The Best Way to Neutralize
Soil pH


and save a ton of money on lime!

 


Soil pH is the measurement of hydrogen ions present in the soil. Keeping hydrogen ions in balance is so very important to the health and productivity of the plant.


1. Aglime is NOT the best way to balance pH


Aglime is the most common way to compensate for a lack of available calcium in the soil and thereby correct low soil pH. However, it can create a number of problems.

  • Surface lime applications only correct pH in the topsoil. When roots extend into the subsoil, low pH can hinder nutrient uptake.

  • It can get expensive to apply the full amount of lime called for by soil tests.

  • For most lime applications, it takes 3 years for the lime to be fully released into the soil, which can lead to over-application.

  • Over-application of lime can create long-term problems in the soil that can be difficult to correct.


2. Balancing the soil IS the key


To really understand the best way to correct soil pH, we have to take a closer look at what is happening in the soil.

The term "pH" stands for "potential hydrogen", or the amount of hydrogen ions in the soil. To balance soil pH, it is important not just to balance available calcium, but to bring balance to other minerals in the soil, too.


a. Soils have enough calcium


In fact, the real problem with most soils isn't that the soil doesn't have enough calcium, since most soils have an abundance of calcium. The real problem is that the calcium in the soil is not available, just like so many other nutrients in the soil are not available.

What we really need is a way to bring balance to all the minerals in the soil. When we do this, potential hydrogen comes into balance as well.


b. Aerobic bacteria are the answer

GroPal Balance contains 70 very special species of aerobic bacteria, plus fungi, including mycorrhizal fungi.

However, GroPal Balance isn't a biological. It is a bio-stimulant, a food source to help our wonderful microbes colonize the soil.

When our microbes colonize the soil, they go to work creating the perfect home for themselves.

  • Our bacteria create air spaces in the soil (they are "aerobic" bacteria, they need oxygen to survive, so they flocculate the soil). These air spaces also efficiently store moisture when it is available, moisture needed by the microbes.

  • Our bacteria create a mineral balance in the soil (they free up minerals in the soil to create a perfect mineral balance. Plants feed them sugars in exchange for this service, which is how our bacteria "make their living")

  • Our bacteria create a moist soil (our bacteria actually manufacture H20 in their life process, much like we do (that is why when we breathe out it fogs our eye glasses). Both microbes and plants need this moisture to survive, so it is a win-win arrangement)

  • Our bacteria create a pathogen free soil (they are anion in nature, which creates a hostile environment for their adversaries, the pathogens)

  • Our bacteria create a low saline soil (they remediate salts, which then protects them from a high-saline environment).

When our microbes balance the nutrients in the soil, pH is balanced along with all the other minerals. It doesn't matter if the pH was high or low, when all the minerals in the soil come into balance, pH comes into balance as well.


c. Balancing pH deep in the soil

Surface lime applications only correct pH on the surface layer of the soil. But when microbes do the balancing, they extend their work deeper and deeper into the soil, bringing balance to the minerals in the soil as they do!

 

3. Why it is important to maintain neutral soil pH


Problems caused by High soil pH

High soil pH is a problem experienced in many arid regions where there isn't enough rainfall to leach calcium and other basic materials from the soil. High pH irrigation water can add to the problem.

The main problem with high pH soils is that the alkalinity can severely limit plant growth. As soil pH increases over 7.5, the ability of certain nutrients to be dissolved and utilized by the plant decreases.

in high pH soils, iron, boron, zinc, manganese, copper and phosphorus become largely unavailable to the plant. High calcium levels that are common in high pH soil makes it difficult for the plant to take in magnesium and potassium, even when there is no deficiency of these in the soil.

To make the situation even worse, alkaline soils can also hinder micronutrient uptake by the plant. The resulting deficiency can cause stunted plant growth.

Typically, even sulfur applications can take a long time to lower soil pH.


Problems caused by Low soil pH

Similar to high pH soils, the greatest problem caused by low pH soils is nutrient uptake. In very acidic soils, phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, sulfur, manganese and calcium become tied up in the soil and are not as available to the plant, in spite of the application of fertilizers. The usually results in less plant growth.

Microbial activity is decreased and legumes will not nodulate as well. Although the soil is inoculated with rhizobia bacteria, these will not thrive in an acidic soil, causing legumes to vanish from the soil.

Ammonium nitrate applications can increase the problem of low soil pH. Excess nitrogen tends to leach from the soil, leaving behind hydrogen ions the increase soil acidity.

Acidic soil gives the roots less access to nutrients and water. As pH drops, aluminum becomes more soluble. Aluminum diminishes the growth of roots, which decreases the nutrients available to the plant. This will reduce plant size and size of the grain.



Conclusion


We believe it is so much better to restore balance to all the minerals in the soil, thereby increasing available calcium as well, and balancing soil pH.

But does it really work? Yes, it does!

Elaine took soil samples the middle of May, applied GroPal Balance the end of June, then took soil samples again in November. Her goal was to reduce compaction and balance soil pH.

After just 5 months, her probe went down 5 or 6 inches in the GroPal Balance fields, but not at all in the control field. She was excited about that.

But then when her soil tests came back, she was even more excited. She had used Hi-Cal lime from 2012 to 2014, but no lime in 2015. Then in 2016 she decided to use GroPal Balance instead of lime.

Take a look at the before and after soil laboratory tests for 2 fields. In just 5 months, not only did the pH go to 7.0, but most other minerals had already come into balance as well (it takes GPB about 2 years (with a 1 to 2 quart application per year) to complete its task of restoring balance to the soil).

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