Why is Soil PH Important for Plants to Uptake Nutrient in Soil
Soil pH is the main property of the soil which influences the availability of nutrients. It is an important aspect that tells us about the alkaline or acidic nature of the soil. If the soil pH is less than 7 then it is known as acidic, if the pH is less than 5 then those kinds of soils are known as strongly acidic and if the pH is greater than 7, then the soil is known as alkaline soil with 7 being neutral. The most ideal pH for the soil lies between 6 to 7.
Soil pH is important, because the availability of essential nutrients depends on the soil pH. All the essential nutrients or micronutrients are not available to plants in every pH range. Few of them are available in acidic conditions while others are present in alkaline conditions which favor plant growth, but excess amount of these nutrients can affect soil pH and plant growth.
Maintaining a proper pH can lead:
1. Good soil health is beneficial to give good production
2. Can decrease the number of weeds and also increases microbial activity
3. Increase the useful bacteria like rhizobium that are helpful in nitrogen fixation
Let us introduce how does soil pH affect nutrient uptake. Few micronutrients like Manganese, aluminum is available in excess amount in acidic soils making the other micronutrients like calcium magnesium and phosphorous less available to plants. Excess or lower amount of these micronutrients may lead to toxicity or deficiency symptoms like aluminum toxicity, manganese toxicity calcium deficiency etc.
In alkaline soil or soils with high pH, phosphorus and most of the micronutrients are not available except molybdenum. Also, Iron deficiency is also a major problem in alkaline soils which leads to chlorosis.
What we can do to amend soil pH or maintain proper pH. Acidic soil can be corrected by adding liming materials like limestone, quick lime. These liming materials neutralize the acidity of soil decreasing the toxicity of aluminum, manganese, and calcium deficiency. We can even grow acid tolerant crops like potato, tomato, carrot, rice. We can also use chemicals which turns the pH or balances the pH. Following proper water and soil management techniques increases the decomposition of organic matter.
So, to make available all the nutrients to the plants and to avoid the toxicity or deficiency symptoms we must always check the pH for good plant soil health and productivity of the plants.
The above information is excerpted from open net and bighaat.