T12+notes - Soil pH and pH Management(Topic 12 Of all soil...

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Soil pH and pH Management (Topic 12) Of all soil chemical properties, pH is the easiest to measure and it provides much information about soil properties. Soil pH is a master variable that affects a wide range of soil properties – chemical, biological and physical. Soil pH is easily measured using a pH meter (about $70 for a hand-held unit). Soil Acidity and Basicity The two components regulating soil acidity/basicity are the hydrogen ion (H + ) and the hydroxide ion (OH - ). H 2 O: HOH ⎯→ H + + OH - The pH scale: pH = - log (H + ) pH = - log (10 -7 ) pH = 7 pH is reported on a log scale; thus pH = 4 is 10 times more acidic than pH = 5. H + > OH - pH < 7 is considered acid H + = OH - pH = 7 is considered neutral H + < OH - pH > 7 is considered basic or alkaline Sources of Acid (H + ) 1. CO 2 - carbonic acid (pH of non-polluted rainwater is 5.6 due to equilibrium with atmospheric CO 2 ) 2. Organic acids - produced by vegetation (root exudates) and microbial processes 3. Acid rain - primarily nitric acid (HNO 3 ), sulfuric acid (H 2 SO 4 ), and ammonium (NH 4 + ) 4. Ammonium: NH 4 + ⎯⎯→ H + + NO
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