how to test soil pH with a pH meter
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Published On: December 6th, 2022Categories: Articles, pH Meter
A soil’s pH alerts growers to what goes on below ground. Specifically, acidic or alkaline soil affects the amount of macro and micro nutrients available to plants. For optimal growing conditions, the best soil pH level range is 6.5-7.0.Rainfall levels, soil types such as sandy or silty, plant species, fertilizer, and the amount of water available to plants affect soil pH measurements.
For those reasons, gardeners, farmers, nurserymen, and others learn how to test soil pH with a pH meter. In doing so, they know whether to reduce acidic or increase alkaline proportions.

Keep reading to learn about pH meters, step-by-step instructions on how to test soil pH with a  pH meter, and other pH level applications.

pH Meter Defined

pH Meters are used routinely by lab workers and others to measure a solution’s acidity or alkalinity—in other words its hydrogen ion activity. When cared for and stored properly, pH meters provide accurate measurements.

A pH meter has five basic parts:

  1. an electrode in a glass bulb
  2. reference electrode on the opposite end of the glass electrode
  3. a temperature sensor or thermometer
  4. an amplifier to make readings more accurate
  5. microprocessor to ensure all processes work optimally

All five components work as a unit to determine the correct pH values of solutions.

Testing Soil with a pH Meter

Follow these guidelines on how to test soil pH with a pH meter when testing soil samples.

  • Gather a handheld shovel, bucket, pH meter, glass container, spoon, and distilled water.
  • Because pH levels vary in the same vicinity, take samples from 10 or more different areas.
  • Collect each shovelful at a depth of 6-10 inches and put the collected soil into the bucket.
  • Avoid taking samples from areas where water stands or the soil color is noticeably different.
  • Mix the soil samples and remove any debris.
  • Put equal amounts of soil and distilled water in the glass.
  • Stir the mixture into a slurry and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  • Once again, stir the mixture for about 10 seconds.
  • Insert the pH meter, twist it, and avoid touching the container’s bottom. Most manufacturers recommend waiting a minimum of 60 seconds.
  • Note the reading and make the necessary adjustments to the soil’s pH.

Other pH Meter Applications

In addition to knowing how to test soil pH with a pH meter, pH meters have other uses.

Growing plants without soil called hydroponics uses less water and yields a larger crop compared to traditional soil systems. The best pH meter for hydroponics is a portable meter that measures pH and temperature simultaneously. It’s waterproof, has a sponge cap to keep the probe moist, and an easy-to-read, backlit display. A pH meter for water is available in pocket-sized and larger units and many meters measure electrical conductivity and total dissolved solids.

Additionally, food and beverage, oil and gas, agriculture, pharmaceutical, and other industries use pH meters to test water-based solutions, blood chemistry, etc. for potential hydrogen.

Hudson Robotics is a leader in laboratory automation solutions for life-science research. Speak to a representative today!