Help with acidifying irrigation water and testing pH


:+1: thanks. I like that idea


Well too much. Fruitnut who is a retired agriculturalist professor has done the same thing, well he may have saved them by flushing. Anyway I’m in good company. at least :slight_smile:

I’m not sure exactly how it happened? When I tested the pH of the soil it was 3.0. It was in a container, and two plants died. I was able to save a 3rd by flushing over and over again.
I learned that is you alter pH you better monitor results. On some horticultural or garden sulfur labels they give you a good idea of what to use. I have tried to follow label instructions.

What can get you is that it can take as long as 2 years for all the sulfur you add to be converted. I tested every 6 months and added more each time as pH was not where I wanted it. So soon I overdosed them.
This year I went out in the spring and tested my pots, and raised beds and the pH was around 4.0. Of course no sulfur added.I watered with tap for a month, now using rainwater again. The pH is at about 5.0 now. Sometimes my beds need treatment but the pots do not and vice versa. I try to be consistent.
Currently I feel I’m not giving them enough nitrogen, I need to feed them more.


I have a two story house with eves. I put a diverter made to collect rainwater on the down spout eves. So I can switch between diverter and regular drain off. I use one rain barrel and also a number of 55 gallon trash cans. The diverter which pour directly into the rain barrel when not using the flexible extension to pour into trash cans. I also have a set up on my shed.

No the good ones cost hundreds, and the probes have a limited life span. I use commercial grade test strips. I put them in the ground and wet them with distilled water. Let them sit five minutes. The only hydrogen the strip can detect must be in the soil as the distilled water is neutral.
A link to the strips I use is in the 2nd post of this thread by fruitnut.

I use the 4.0-7.0 strips as it is the only range I need.

Here I just tested my rainwater

Looks to be between 4.7 and 5.0

Let’s test the tap!

It’s darker than 7.0 the upper limit of the strip. Enough to tell me not to use it!

These are very precise strips used in industry and are very reliable.
Look at the wide color range from 4.0 to 7.0. Super easy to read.

My soil is 6.5 here, and the rainwater is 4.9. Has the soil pH ever changed? No! Using native soil or high pH soil, no amount will keep it right. Don’t use native soil unless it has a low pH. It’s like throwing salt in Lake Michigan, it’s not going to make it salt water no matter how many ton’s you add. Start with salt water and go from there, ie a low pH soil.


While those work for moisture they usually do not work at all for testing most soils ph. The test strips or even better the color dye for your water works much better. To get an accurate soil test mix 1 part soil with 2 parts distilled water and test for ph. The real soil meters start around $200


Cool. Thank you! I’m just waiting for them in the mail.