Four (4) causes of acidic soil.

Soil is natural occurring substance forming the thin upper most layer of the earth’s surface made by accumulation of the weathered materials on which plants and animals live.
Acidic soil can be defined as those having PH  less than 5.5 in 1:1 water extract.


The following are factors which may cause the soil to become acidic:

  • Parent materials. Rocks like granite and rhyolite are acidic rock and on disintegration and decomposition of these rocks results into accumulation of acid soil materials.
  • Organic matters. The carboxylic, enolic and phenolic materials present in organic matter debris, dissociate releasing hydrogen ion thus contributing towards soil acidity.
  • Climate. In heavy rainfall areas continuous leaching process removes most of calcium carbonate and gypsum from soil giving rise to increased soil acidity.
  • Roots biomass and soil organisms. Respiration by plant roots and soil microorganisms are major contributing factors to soil acidity. Carbon dioxide liberated during respiration reacts with water to produce carbolic acid which in turn break down to produce hydrogen ion. On other hand when plants exchange cations with external medium they give an equivalent number of hydrogen ion and thus contributing to soil acidity.

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