combination or arrangement of the primary soil particles (sand, silt, clay) into secondary
particles ("units" or "peds"). Rototilling soil that is too wet
breaks down soil structure and causes a crusted surface.
The activity of
Hydrogen ions in the soil determines its pH as being either acidic, neutral or alkaline.
Rainfall (H2O) in S.W. Pennsylvania continually introduces Hydrogen (H) ions into the soil
solution, causing soil to revert back to an acidic condition. (This is
why soil should be tested
every 3 to 5 years to determine its changing needs for lime)
The logarithmic scale measuring pH extends from zero to 14, with 7 being neutral.
Soil with a pH of 6 is 10-times more acid than soil with a pH of 7, while soil with a pH
of 5 is 100-times more acid than pH 7. Generally speaking, most plants grow best in
a soil pH of 6.5 to 7.2
Most soils we have tested in Washington County and Allegheny County range from pH 5.5 to
7. Unless "acid loving" plants are growing in these areas, agricultural
lime is used to raise the soil pH into a better plant growing range. (See
for more information)