[Market-farming] pH adjustment for irrigating tomatoes with high pH well water.

Marlin & Christine Burkholder burkholders at glenecofarm.com
Sat Apr 30 22:48:30 EDT 2011

For the past few seasons I have been running into difficulties with
irrigating hoophouse tomatoes from our well.  Last summer we did not have
tomatoes in a hoophouse but there was a drought  and all tomatoes had to be
irrigated.  The problem is that our well water is above 7 pH and irrigation
raises the soil pH in the root zone too high for good tomato production.
This results in interference with adequate uptake of potassium (even though
soil K levels are in the very high range) and causes greywall, a nutritional
deficiency that damages marketability of the crop.  I have tried foliar
feeding with potassium but this is still not adequate.


My question is, what is the better product to add acid to the irrigation
water to lower pH?  I have heard that some use battery acid (not very
appealing to me) or vinegar (maybe I could handle that).  I have bought
something called "Boraplex" but haven't used it yet and wonder what
experiences others have had with it.


The other question relates to the tools used to meter the material into the
water.  I have several Syphonjects (gotten very economically at an auction)
that might work if I can figure out the proper dilution.  Other wise I am
considering either Mazzie, Ez-Flo, or Dosatron systems, (more expensive but
possibly easier to control) options.  Again I am interested in other's
experiences.  I have about  38 PSI at water hydrants and run water through
12 PSI pressure regulators at my irrigation header lines.


Marlin Burkholder



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