Soil Testing – Using Litmus Paper

Q: Your January articles on soil pH interested me. I recall that back in ancient times when I was studying chemistry at the University of Georgia we used litmus paper. If my soil is stirred in with good neutral well water and allowed to settle, would the cleared water give an accurate pH reading?

A: Litmus paper can give an accurate measurement of pH but the cost seems high. Litmus paper strips comes in various “ranges”. The “wide range” paper can indicate the pH of a solution between 1 and 11. Once you know the general vicinity of the solution pH you can use a “short range” paper to determine an accurate reading within .5 pH unit.

Since the litmus paper dispensers cost $5 $10 each, it seems cheaper to have the Extension service (404-897-6261) do your soil test for $5 – $8.

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