Soil acidification


Soil acidification is a naturally and continuously occurring soil formation process in nature, which is stimulated by acidic precipitation, technologies used in agriculture, fertilization with physiologically acidic mineral fertilizers, intensive use of pesticides, leaching and removal of nutritional elements from the soil together with the crop. According to research data, for these reasons, the arable layer loses from 120 to 300 kg/ha of calcium every year.

Intensive liming in the 1960s and 1970s reduced the areas of acid soils from 41 percent. up to 19%, but for the last 3 decades no attention was paid to the issues of soil liming, and the problem of soil acidification reappeared.

The acidic reaction of the soil limits the assimilation of plant nutrients and, at the same time, the productivity of plants. Nutrients are taken from the soil by the plant through the roots, so the composition of the soil solution cannot be random. They need a physiologically balanced solution, in which not only the concentration of various cations is important, but also their ratio. In acidic soils, calcium and magnesium are lacking, nutrients are transformed into insoluble forms unavailable to plants.

The optimum pH is 6-7. Many vegetables and other crops are grown successfully in such soil. A proper balance of microorganisms is established in it, plants absorb nutrients better, so the yield is better.

Increased soil acidity, especially in small areas, can also be determined by plants. In acidic soil, ground horsetails, ground sedges, small sorrels, medicinal veronicas, ground blinds, ground notras begin to germinate. Moss often appears there.

Means for changing soil acidity

In order to calculate the rates of lime fertilizers to achieve the required pH level, the Vēžaičiai branch of the Lithuanian Institute of Agriculture systematized the data of all liming tests in the republic, and compiled a table that can be used.

Liming is recommended in autumn, because not all vegetables like freshly limed soil. If this is done before spring sowing, the calcareous substances mix with the soil, become more effective and manage to neutralize the acidic soil.

In highly acidic soil, too many substances accumulate that inhibit plant growth. In order to grow the most valuable crops. The acidity of acidic soils can be reduced in several ways:

● You can enrich the soil with chalk or lime.

● Do not throw away the ashes of the fireplace, but let’s spread them in the field of cultivated land.

● Make compost from food scraps, we will change the chemical composition of the soil and fertilize the cultivated plants. Decomposers will happily settle in such soil.

● Do not throw away the eggshells, grind them up and incorporate them into the soil. Eggshells are rich in calcium compounds, making them an excellent material for reducing soil acidity.

● Grow plants that grow in acidic soil: sorrel, radishes, radishes, turnips, turnips. celery, onions, garlic and you will get a great harvest.

● Grow garden plants: pears, apples, cherries, cherries and raspberries. These plants grow well and produce abundant harvests in slightly acidic soil. You can grow rowanberries and rhododendrons in very acidic soil.

● Grow cabbage, beetroot in recently limed soil. Carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, legumes and potatoes will not grow well, so do not plant these plants.

● Calcareous substances should be used in moderation: too much one-time liming causes stress to plants, and an increased amount of calcium can make it difficult for the efficient assimilation of other beneficial substances. Do not use manure and other fertilizers together with calcareous materials

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Authors: Viltė Vinckutė and Kotryna Venslovaitė