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This graph compares the soil health scores of 215 sites with the soil pH of each site. The red trend line in the graph shows that as pH increases, the soil health score of the site tends to decrease. It is very difficult and expensive, some say impossible, to change soil pH. Adding sulfur, organic matter or certain fertilizer formulations can help, but take many years to effect a change. According to Lance Gunderson of Regen Ag Lab, Colorado’s high pH soil favors soil bacteria over soil fungi. Fungi, especially mycorrhizal fungi, supply plants with key nutrients in exchange for carbon sugars from plant root exudates. One way to improve soil health is to increase the number of soil fungi by disturbing the soil less. But here in Colorado, it is doubly hard to increase soil fungi, because they don’t particularly like our high pH soil.
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Elizabeth Black is the producer of the Citizen Science Soil Health Project
The Citizen Science Soil Health Project
4340 N 13th St.
Boulder, CO 80304