pH Tester

Definition - What does pH Tester mean?

A pH tester is a device or tool used to determine the pH of a particular plot of soil, source of water, or nutrient solution. Soil and water pH can either be neutral, acidic, or alkaline. pH testers determine the acidity or alkalinity of soil and water. pH testers are available commercially in a wide variety of complexity and range, and are useful tools for both soil and hydroponic farmers.

MaximumYield explains pH Tester

Plant growth and vitality is dependent on the surrounding environment, which includes pH levels. Most plants prefer a neutral growing medium; however, some plants will require varying pH levels. pH testers can be used to check the pH level of soil, water, and (for hydroponic gardeners) nutrient solutions. Once the pH level of the growing medium or water is determined with a pH tester, gardeners can then alter the pH level of the tested soil, water, or nutrient solution by adding certain minerals. For example, lime can be added to soil to increase pH and acidifying materials can be added to decrease soil pH.

pH testers can be purchased at local stores or specialty stores. In addition, pH testers can vary from small, simple test strips (litmus paper) to large, hand-held devices that are often digital.

However, though pH testers vary in complexity, pH levels range from 0 to 14. On the pH scale, 7.0 is considered neutral. Below the 7.0 range, pH levels increase in acidity reaching 0, which is the most acidic. For example, battery acid has a pH between 0 and 1.0. On the opposite end of the scale, any level above 7.0 increases in alkalinity. An example of an exceedingly alkaline material would be lye, which has a pH of around 13 or higher. For soil, an ideal pH level (for most plants) would be 7.0. In hydroponic gardening, most plants prefer a more acidic growing medium, with a pH of 5.8 to 6.2.

pH testers are often referred to as pH meters or pH pens, which need frequent calibrating. Nowadays, pH testers are sold in combination with pH controllers, adding a layer of automation to the pH testing and adjusting process.

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