How to Check the Soil pH With Litmus Paper

Written by tina amo
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How to Check the Soil pH With Litmus Paper
Use litmus paper to determine soil acidity or alkalinity. (Michael Hitoshi/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The pH measurement indicates the acidic or alkaline levels of the item being tested. Test the pH level of the soil in your garden before you begin planting so that, according to Soil Science Education, soil pH levels don't negatively affect the health of your, plants. If the acidic content is too high or too low then the soil cannot release the nutrients the plants need to thrive, and they will die eventually. It is possible to discover soil acidity or alkalinity with litmus paper.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Trowel
  • Containers
  • Plastic cup
  • Water

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  1. 1

    Use a trowel to collect soil from your garden. According to Health Treasures, the pH levels may vary in different areas of the garden, so gather samples from different areas.

  2. 2

    Place the litmus paper at the bottom of a container, such as a plastic cup. Let the litmus paper lie flat.

  3. 3

    Place about four tablespoons of soil from one sample into a coffee filter paper and place the filter in the cup. It should rest on the litmus paper.

  4. 4

    Pour enough distilled water over the soil to dampen it, and then let the soil sit for about five minutes. The water will drain out of the filter onto the litmus strip.

  5. 5

    Lift the filter out of the cup and examine the litmus paper. If the paper turns red, then the soil is acidic. If it is blue, then it is alkaline.

  6. 6

    Repeat the test for the remaining samples. If you wish to get the average pH level of the soil in your garden, then mix the samples together and repeat the litmus test.

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