[NAFEX] pH soil tester

Jwlehman at aol.com Jwlehman at aol.com
Wed Feb 6 12:36:19 EST 2008

In a message dated 2/6/2008 10:07:21 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
holycow at cookeville.com writes:

> I once bought one of those pH test gadgets.  It read the same no matter 
> where I stuck it in the ground.  Then I stuck it in pure vinegar, and it read the 
> same.   I stuck it in some quicklime mixed with water, and it read the same. 
> Then I threw it away.   Donna 

I have one and have used it many times. The secret it keeping the shaft & tip 
clean of oxide and polished. After storage, extra time must be taken to 
remove oxidization that occurred while stored. If the shaft isn't bright and shiny 
it ain't ready to use. Then clean and polish after each use. I take a course 
cloth such as dry dish washing towel which is slightly abrasive and paper 
toweling to clean and dry before each use. Once you have met those requirements 
using it with soil at proper moisture levels is also very important. I taken 
distilled water to add when the soil is too dry. Also if the probe runs against or 
is lying against a stone the readings will be effected. You may have to push 
the probe into the soil then move up and down slightly to "seat" it for good 
soil contact on the shaft and tip, both. If you can't get a reading at one 
location move over an inch and try again. I've had my pH tester for years and 
believe it gives me good readings when all is done properly. I can get repeat 
readings when measuring say a few inches from one location to another in my pawpaw 
rows where I treated with sulpher to increase acidity. Moving over to 
untreaded areas the pH goes up.     

One indicator that the tester is working is the reading will start high then 
slowly move to the reading and settle at the reading.  

Don't use steel wool to polish the shaft as it will wear off the shaft 
coating of special metal alloy. 

Donna, I wish you had thrown your tester my way. They do work when used 
correctly and with patience. They don't work in wet soil or liquids. Your test in 
pure vinegar or lime slurry wasn't a valid test method, too wet. 


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