Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 4

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Soil testing for acidity


I R. Wilson


Soil acidity, Soil testing, Soil test values

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One of the most important aspects of the soil acidity research programme is the accurate analysis of soil and plant materials.

A soil acidity problem cannot be simply diagnosed with one test. Although the soil pH test is used for the initial evaluation of soil acidity, it does not measure the other factors which affect plant growth as a result of this acidity.

For example, plant growth on a coastal soil with pH 4.3 (in water) may not be affected by applying lime, but growth may improve markedly on a central wheatbelt soil of pH 4,8 (in water).

Another two analyses may be useful. They are the level of soluble aluminium on the soil (too much soluble aluminium can be toxic to plants) and the soil's lime requirement. Both tests are being evaluated by the Agucultural Chemistry Laboratory of the Government Chemical Laboratories for their future usefulness to farmers.