PH determination

The pH is determined in both water and 0.1 M KCl (10 g soil + 25 ml solution) as detailed in VDLUFA (1991, section A.5.1.1). Note: VDLUFA = Verband Deutscher Landwirtschaftlicher Untersuchungs- und Forschungsanstalten, whose website home page is: with method books listed at: From the home page go to LINK-Seite for addresses of useful agricultural organizations. Balzer says that from the relationship of the two pH values, additional information is given on the salt content and the exchange capacity of the soil. If the pH in water is only 0.1-0.3 higher than that in KCl, then the salt content of the soil is high; this may occur in intensively cultivated glasshouse soils and composts. If the pH difference exceeds 1.0 units, the salt and nutrient content will be low. The difference is usually about 0.5 for light soils, and 0.8-1.0 for medium to heavy soils with a high clay content. Following an additional calcium determination, the correct liming materials are recommended to maintain the optimum acid-base balance of the soil. Too much calcium will lock up the phosphorus, displace other cations such as magnesium, and reduce the availability of micronutrients such as boron, copper, iron, manganese and zinc.

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