Prescott AZ area gardening challenges are many when creating landscapes and gardens. However, once main challenging factors are understood, it is not difficult to address them.
In this post I will discuss the greatest limiting factor and give you some solutions to minimize it in your garden: alkalinity.
Our soil and ground water is alkaline in nature with pH well above neutral. pH is a scientific measurement based on neutral being 7.0. Numbers above are alkaline and numbers below are acidic. As the chemical makeup of our soil and water moves away from neutral, soil organisms and plants are less able to utilize necessary elements within the soil. This is true whether there naturally or introduced as fertilizers and amendments.
Prescott AZ area gardener’s solutions to soil and water alkalinity:
Select native plants tolerant of and well-adapted to alkaline soils. Simply accept that many annuals and perennials will not thrive in alkaline soils. This is especially true for fruit trees, vegetables, annual flowers and container plants.
Collect rainwater for irrigation of plants which are less adapted to alkalinity. Rainwater is neutral in pH and in some areas slightly acidic due to air pollution. Rainwater helps to leach out some of the salts which hinder soil organisms and a plant’s use of elements in the soil, moving the soil pH ever so slightly toward neutral. I am sure you have all noticed how landscape plants perk up after a rain! This is why!
Acidify the soil and water by the introduction of organic matter and other acidic amendments. These move the pH toward neutral. Loosen your soil to encourage good drainage and then you can regularly add:
- Compost and small amounts of manures
- Soil sulfur: caution, there will be a slight rotten egg aroma!
- Liquid acidifiers: caution not to burn roots with too high a concentration!
- Acidic fertilizers and amendments such as cotton seed meal and ammonia-based fertilizers
- Mulch with pine needles, pine bark, and composted oak leaves
Contact us to learn more about alkalinity and other Prescott AZ Area gardening challenges.