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Technical Manual for IWMP_GSWMA

Technical Manual for IWMP_GSWMA

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Published by Himanshu Katira

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Published by: Himanshu Katira on Oct 03, 2011
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Soil acidity occurs when there is a build up of acid in the soil. The production of acid in the
soils is a natural process and many soils in the high rainfall areas are inherently acidic. Acidi-
fication is a slow process but it is accelerated by agriculture. As soils become more acidic,
plants intolerant of acidic conditions do not thrive and productivity declines.
Acid soils are found mainly in the eastern part of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, i.e. in West Bengal,
Bangladesh and the mid-hills region of Nepal, where cropping is intensive and monsoonal
precipitation is high. In many of these soils, organic matter is also quite low, resulting in poor
buffering capacity and low nutrient contents

Soil acidity is one such limiting factor affecting adversely crop production to a consider-
able extent mainly in high rainfall and light texture conditions of soil. There are different
types of problem lands where the constraints for optimum production are either unfavorable
physico-chemical properties of the soil or some inherent land features and/or environmental
conditions limiting optimum growth of crops. As such the productivity of these lands goes
down to a considerable extent.
Table 21: Soil description based on pH
Soil Description


Strongly acid

< 5.5

Medium acid

5.5 - 5.9

Slightly acid

6.0 - 6.4

Very slightly acid

6.5 - 6.9



Very slightly alkaline

7.1 - 7.5

Slightly alkaline

7.6 - 8.0

Medium alkaline

8.1 - 8.5

Strongly alkaline

> 8.5

Table: 22: Effects of Soil Acidity/Alkalinity on Plant Nutrient Availability

Technical Manual for IWMP

Gujarat State Watershed Management Agency

Page | 136

Generally, most plants require a soil pH in the range of 6.0 to 7.0. The pH of distilled water is
7.0 and is considered neutral. A pH of 6.0 is slightly acidic. While most plants do well in this
range (6.0-7.0), some favor more acid conditions. Azaleas, rhododendrons and blueberries
grow better in acid soils of pH 4.5 to 5.5. On the other hand, plants in the bean family (le-
gumes) favor slightly alkaline conditions of 7.0 to 7.5 for good growth.

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