Soil pH indicates the concentration of acidity or alkalinity within a soil profile. The pH scale is the means by which the degree of acidity is measured. Scientifically it is a measure of the hydrogen ion activity. It is represented in a logarithmic scale ranging from less than zero (strongly acidic) to 14 (strongly alkaline).
Understanding the pH of your soils is essential to determine how suitable your soils are for long-term productive agriculture. Gaining an understanding of the variation in soil pH throughout your soil and across your property can help in making decisions about how you use the land.
The pH of all soils changes over time; some agricultural practices accelerate this change. To understand the baseline pH level, the rate of change and what this means for management is the reason behind monitoring pH over time. The pH of soils may also fluctuate during the year depending on moisture levels. Monitoring soil pH will indicate whether your land use and management practices are changing this key parameter of soil health.
Conducting a baseline assessment and monitoring for change in soil pH will provide important information to assist your management action decision-making. As with all monitoring activities, you will need to clearly identify why you want to monitor soil pH and how monitoring this indicator may support your property or business planning objectives.
Download the following files for more information:
- Land Manager’s Monitoring Guide—Soil pH indicator (PDF, 370K)*
- Datasheet templates for level 1 and 2 monitoring (PDF, 41K)*
- Datasheet templates for level 1 and 2 monitoring (Excel, 60K)‡
- Acidity monitoring tools (PDF, 171K)*
Last updated 7 September 2010