Free soil sampling
7 September 2012
The RHS is offering free pH testing to determine whether soil is acid or alkaline. Gardeners should take five representative soil samples, six inches deep from around their garden, mix them and bring a two-cupful sample to one of the four RHS Plant Centres.
The soil-diagnostic service is being run in conjunction with the charity’s Autumn Planting for Year Round Colour campaign. Planting in autumn when the soil is still warm gives plants the chance established themselves in time for spring. In doing so root systems are likely to cope with summer’s dry, warm conditions better.
'Approximately every five years or when designing and planting your garden, you need to know whether the soil is acid or alkaline, as different plants thrive in different soils,' says Guy Barter, RHS Chief Horticultural Advisor. 'Once you know the pH it is cheap and easy, if necessary, to use lime to reduce acidity. However heathers, camellias and other ericaceous plants need acid soil. Wet summers can increase soil acidity, so this year checking pH is especially worthwhile. It is also important to check soil pH before making vegetable plots, planting fruit, when growth is disappointing, or where yellowing of foliage occurs.'
On 2 October RHS Garden Wisley is also joining forces with the Horticultural Trades Association to plant thousands of pansies and violas, demonstrating how to get colour in your garden now and benefit from an even better display next spring.