Soil and Acidity
Date: January 6, 2004
Do different soils such a sandy soil etc. affect the
different acidity levels in the soils? For example if you have sandy soil
will the acidity level be higher then if you have a different type of soil?
The acidity of the soil is a function of the soil type
and the acidifying and neutralizing inputs from precipitation
and dry air pollution.
Soil is composed of inorganic and organic components. Depending
on the soil type, and therefore the amounts of organic and inorganic
components that it is composed of, you can get a wide range of
natural acidity (or alkalinity) of the soil. Being sandy may not
influence the acidity much, as external influences may dominate.
Precipitation and the fallout of dry material (such as air
pollution) from the atmosphere alters the acidity or alkalinity
of the soil. In some areas of the United States, such
as in New York and southern New England, the dry fallout of and
scavenging of air pollution by precipitation severely increases the
acidity of the soil above what would be natural. This has bad
effects on plants and animals in the soil and on the aquatic systems,
David R. Cook
Atmospheric Research Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory
A lot of things affect soil pH. The presence of limestone (CaCO3) will
buffer the soil. Organic matter can alter the pH depending upon what organic
matter is decomposing. Sandy soils that transport a lot of water can also
change the pH, depending upon what is in the rain (acid rain is real). It is
very difficult to make any generalizations about soil pH that I am aware
because there are so many conflicting variables.
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Update: June 2012