How to Balance pH for False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides)

False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) is a beautiful, low-maintenance perennial that thrives in a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH range of 5.6 to 6.8. Maintaining the proper soil pH level is crucial for optimal growth and nutrient availability. In this article, we will discuss how to identify the current soil pH level, adjust it using various methods, and provide specific instructions for DIY gardeners to ensure the best growing conditions for False Sunflower.

Identifying the Current Soil pH Level for False Sunflower

Before making any adjustments to the soil pH, it is essential to determine the current pH level. You can use a reliable soil test kit or send a soil sample to your local extension service for accurate results. To collect a soil sample:

  1. Gather soil from several locations within the planting area, taking samples from a depth of 4 to 6 inches.
  2. Mix the soil samples together in a clean bucket.
  3. Allow the soil to dry completely before testing or sending it for analysis.

Adjusting Soil pH for False Sunflower

9. False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides)

Once you have determined the current soil pH level, you can make the necessary adjustments to create the optimal growing environment for False Sunflower.

Lowering Soil pH for False Sunflower

If the soil pH is higher than the recommended range (5.6 to 6.8), you can lower it by adding elemental sulfur or aluminum sulfate.

Using Elemental Sulfur

  • Apply approximately 1 pound of elemental sulfur per 100 square feet to lower the pH by one unit.
  • Incorporate the sulfur into the top 6 inches of soil.
  • Water the area thoroughly after application.
  • Wait several weeks before retesting the soil pH to allow the adjustment to take effect.
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Using Aluminum Sulfate

  • Apply about 0.5 pounds of aluminum sulfate per 100 square feet to lower the pH by one unit.
  • Incorporate the aluminum sulfate into the top 6 inches of soil.
  • Water the area thoroughly after application.
  • Wait several weeks before retesting the soil pH to allow the adjustment to take effect.

Raising Soil pH for False Sunflower

If the soil pH is lower than the recommended range (5.6 to 6.8), you can raise it by adding lime or wood ash.

Using Lime

  • Apply about 5 pounds of pelletized lime per 100 square feet to raise the pH by one unit.
  • Incorporate the lime into the top 6 inches of soil.
  • Water the area thoroughly after application.
  • Wait several weeks before retesting the soil pH to allow the adjustment to take effect.

Using Wood Ash

  • Apply between 5 to 15 pounds of wood ash per 100 square feet, depending on the ash’s fineness and age.
  • Incorporate the wood ash into the top 6 inches of soil.
  • Water the area thoroughly after application.
  • Wait several weeks before retesting the soil pH to allow the adjustment to take effect.

Home Remedies for Adjusting Soil pH for False Sunflower

In addition to the above-mentioned methods, there are some home remedies that can help adjust the soil pH for False Sunflower.

Lowering Soil pH

  • Coffee grounds: Incorporate used coffee grounds into the soil to slightly lower the pH level.
  • Pine needles: Apply a layer of pine needles around the base of the plant to gradually lower the soil pH.
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Raising Soil pH

  • Eggshells: Crush dried eggshells and incorporate them into the soil to slightly raise the pH level.
  • Baking soda: Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 gallon of water and apply it to the soil to slightly raise the pH level.

Caring for False Sunflower After pH Adjustment

9. False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) 2

After adjusting the soil pH, it is essential to provide proper care for False Sunflower to ensure its continued growth and health.

  • Water: False Sunflower tolerates a wide range of moisture levels but prefers well-drained soils. Water the plant deeply and allow the soil to dry between watering sessions.
  • Sunlight: False Sunflower performs best in full sun, requiring at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. However, it can tolerate partial shade if necessary.
  • Temperature: False Sunflower is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9, tolerating a wide range of temperatures. It can withstand heat and cold but may require protection from extreme conditions.

Duration of Treatment for False Sunflower pH Adjustment

The duration of treatment for adjusting the soil pH for False Sunflower depends on the current pH level and the desired change. After applying the appropriate soil amendments, wait several weeks before retesting the soil pH to allow the adjustment to take effect. Monitor the pH level annually or biannually to ensure optimal growing conditions for False Sunflower.

By following these guidelines and providing proper care, you can successfully balance the soil pH for False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) and enjoy its beautiful blooms in your garden for years to come.

References:
1. https://www.columbus.gov/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=53681
2. https://www.ballseed.com/PDF/Catalogs/DAR_Catalog_BSC_23514000_WEB.pdf
3. https://dnr.maryland.gov/criticalarea/Documents/chesapeakenatives.pdf
4. https://www.rs.uky.edu/consumer/extension_pdfs/ho102.pdf
5. https://mgabc.org/resource/fabulous-foliage

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