What Are Soil pH Meter Uses and Applications?
The Soil pH Meter gives an indication of the alkalinity or acidity of soil. Soil pH is based on the activity of hydrogen ions in a water or saline solution, which determines the measurement of its pH. When in balance (pH 7) the soil is said to be neutral. The pH scale ranges from o to 14, 0 implying a high acidity, and 14 implying high alkalinity. However, it is rather rare to find soils at either one of these two extremes.
Soil pH is an important tool for farmers and gardeners since different types plants and soil life thrive on different soil types, either acidic or basic. It therefore becomes imperative for a farmer or gardener to know and understand the pH levels of the soil, so that he can best utilize it to his advantage. It is solely for this purpose that a pH meter is used.
A soil pH meter provides a fast, easy, and accurate means of determining the soil type. It is, by far, the most convenient at-home method available. The first commercial pH meters were built around 1936 by Dr. Arnold Beckman of America and by Radiometer in Denmark.
A pH meter is a specific type of voltmeter with a very high impedance of the input channels. The high impedance is an integral part of the equipment because of the high levels of resistance of the pH glass electrode typically used with pH meters (usually between 20 and 100 MO). The pH scale of the device should be calibrated by at least two buffer solutions. The general practice followed is that one of the buffers used for calibration has pH 7.00 and the second is selected depending on the range where the measurements are to be taken – 10.00 for alkaline solutions and 4.01 for acidic solutions.
Soil pH meters come in various shapes, sizes and designs. Some have two probes that are to be placed into the ground, while some have a single probe with two plates. Meanwhile, others are handheld devices which simply require an individual to insert the sample to be measured within a dish-like receptacle located within the device itself.
More up market soil pH testers will come with replaceable electrodes. However, it is advisable to re-check the electrodes, since these can often be rather misleading. The following are some tips that can come in handy when using a pH meter:
- To maintain accurate readings, the meter must be calibrated using standard pH buffer solutions.
- Between samples, it is prudent to rinse the meter in distilled water.
- If unused for over a month, it must be soaked in distilled water.
- Multiple soil samples can be collected from different parts of a common ground, but they must all be tested one at a time. Drawing an average of them would yield incorrect results.
A Soil pH Meter, therefore, has several applications and uses. However, care must be taken when purchasing one. Cheap imitations give an inaccurate measurement of the pH, which could be very misleading. Further, once bought, a pH meter must be taken good care of, especially when measuring different samples. Rinsing in distilled water ensures that no traces of alkalinity or acidity remain in it, and that the reading is 100% foolproof.
Bay Area Landscaping
P.S. Give yourself an edge in finding the perfect soil for each plant with the Luster Leaf Digital Plus Soil pH Meter. Different vegetables, fruits, flowers and plants thrive in different pH levels. Now you can easily determine what’s best to plant where with this easy to ready digital meter. It reads results from 3.5 to 9.0 and includes a plant pH preference list. This meter has a plant pH preference list built right in to its database and it stores a list of your own favorite plants.
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