Jump to content
Manolitus

Acidic and Alkaline soils.......

Recommended Posts

Manolitus

As a follow up to an earlier post regarding acidic and alkaline soils.......what are the top five palms that require the most acidic soil and what are the top 5 palms that require the most alkaline soils for their good health respectively ???

Fire away boys and girls !!

Manny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sonoranfans

I think you will find that most palms dont prefer high levels of acidity, Mg uptake critical to photosynthesis would be inhibited. Many palms need Mn, Fe, P etc and hence dont like alkaline soils. Bismarckia nobillis is not highly sensitive to pH since its native soils(lateritic, heavily rinsed volcanic soils)are rinsed of most the the trace elements. They do fine in my pH=9 soils and I suspect they do very well in floridas acidic ones. Brahea armata does prefer alkaline soils, and is not fussy about Mn or Fe. My armatas are as full a crown of healthy fronds(~40) as you will find in my alkaline soils. Also I recall a pic on this site (from socal) of a stunning brahea clara grown in dolomite ammended soil, a fantastic specimen. Roystonea borinquena is well adapted to alkaline soils, while roystonea regia is not. Trachycarpus fortunei also likes alkaline soil apparently.

Edited by sonoranfans

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
surgeon83

Seems royals prefer to be on the acidic side. One of mine in particular literally didn't push its spear an inch between the winter freezes and the middle of May despite daily watering with tap water and fertilizer (probably pH 9.5). I was just about to rip it out when all the rain came starting in mid-May and it has pushed its spear a couple of feet since then (~1 month). The rain should be about pH 5 if I'm not mistaken, so to me the royals like lower pH.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tyrone

I thought Florida soils were high pH? Am I wrong?

Best regards

Tyrone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manolitus

Dont Marojejya's NEED to have acidic soil ?? At Fairchild they created a section of the garden with clay soil that is high in acid and that is where they have theirs planted.

I have a marojajya planted in my house in heavily amended soil. It is growing and doing pretty well. Would not survive our alkaline grounds......

Any others ??

Manny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manolitus
I thought Florida soils were high pH? Am I wrong?

Best regards

Tyrone

Tyrone,

You are correct. South Florida soils, particularly in Miami Dade County are very naturally high in ph. Above 7 for sure. Irrigation from our well water obviously retards any kind of amending we do here in order to help keep healthy the exotic stuff we love to grow !!!

Manny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jose Maria

One thing is that a palm is found in the wild, growing on acid soil, another that this palm actually "likes" the acidity..

As far as I have observed here in Costa Rica, many palms are abundant in forests on very acid(ph 4 and 5) and acid soils.And on limestone originated soils( high pH) much less palms are found growing in the wild.

What do palms really "like"???

In this forum I read that palms from New Caledonia grow much better in Hawaii than at home...in a completely different soil of course.

Very interesting question: What soil (pH,etc..) does each palmspecies really need to be a 100% " happy"??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manolitus

Jose Maria,

I think that probably 60 to 70 % of palms probably do best with slightly acidic soil. I have heard that certain palms as well as other plants have a better time taking in their nutrients in that type of medium.

Having said this, there are a bunch of other palms that do much better overall in ph 7 and a bit higher.

AND speaking of New Caledonia, don't they have stuff out there that only grows in "serpentine" soil ???!!! What's the ph of serpentine soil ??

:blink:

Manny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
palmsOrl

I have recently done some crude experimentation with adjusting the soil pH of some of my palms. I have had my Cyrtostachys since Aug. 03 and it had always looked OK with the care I gave it. I recall reading that it prefers a somewhat acid soil(being from Indonesian rainforests) so I decided to start giving it and a few other palms sulfer about 6-8 months ago to see what happens. Since then, my Cyrtostachys has reached a new level of vigor and has a truely thriving appearance for the first time since I bought it. I think I am going to start giving all of my tropical crownshaft palms some sulfer on a quarterly basis and see what happens.

-Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jose Maria
I have recently done some crude experimentation with adjusting the soil pH of some of my palms. I have had my Cyrtostachys since Aug. 03 and it had always looked OK with the care I gave it. I recall reading that it prefers a somewhat acid soil(being from Indonesian rainforests) so I decided to start giving it and a few other palms sulfer about 6-8 months ago to see what happens. Since then, my Cyrtostachys has reached a new level of vigor and has a truely thriving appearance for the first time since I bought it. I think I am going to start giving all of my tropical crownshaft palms some sulfer on a quarterly basis and see what happens.

-Michael

I have seen Cyrtostachys do very well , flowering an setting seed in very acid soil.

Maybe the fastest way to increase acidity is with Ammonium Sulfate. Elemental sulfur has to break down first.

I have a few Cyrtos in my garden I grew from seed, but I have acid soil already.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jayfro6

I was curious to find out from some of the folks out in TX and AZ with the alkaline soil--would you say Sabals in general don't have a problem with high pH (greater than say, 8) or only certain ones, like maybe S. uresana?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manolitus
I have recently done some crude experimentation with adjusting the soil pH of some of my palms. I have had my Cyrtostachys since Aug. 03 and it had always looked OK with the care I gave it. I recall reading that it prefers a somewhat acid soil(being from Indonesian rainforests) so I decided to start giving it and a few other palms sulfer about 6-8 months ago to see what happens. Since then, my Cyrtostachys has reached a new level of vigor and has a truely thriving appearance for the first time since I bought it. I think I am going to start giving all of my tropical crownshaft palms some sulfer on a quarterly basis and see what happens.

-Michael

Michael,

You can also try mulching with either pine bark or pine needless. I think pine needless are better; it helps keep the surrounding soil around you palms at a more acidic level.

Manny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sonoranfans
I was curious to find out from some of the folks out in TX and AZ with the alkaline soil--would you say Sabals in general don't have a problem with high pH (greater than say, 8) or only certain ones, like maybe S. uresana?

I have some sabals, domingensis, bermudana, uresana(small), riverside(new), but I use sulfur around their root zones to help lower the pH and improve drainage. I also use chelated palm nutritional and humic acid as well. I have seen other sabals around town, they look pretty good considering the alkaline soil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tyrone

I think anything from a wet rainforest habitat needs to be slightly acidic to maybe heavily acidic. This is due to the breaking down of organics in the soil, and the high rainfall which eventually over millenia leaches any Calcium carbonate (limestone) out of the soil profile. Also anything growing in wet rainforests in organically rich swamps ie Cyrtostachys will tolerate or even demand very acid soils. Peat swamps by nature can have pH as low as 4.5

So what comes to mind is many of the water loving Dypsis, ie crinita in the Vonitra sub group, D rivularis, etc. Marojejya loves it's acid organic soils, Euterpes from South America, and there'd be a heap of others which probably need acid soils.

As far as alkaline soils, the Yucatan peninsula is all limestone based and that's where Roystonea oleracea and a heap of Chamaedorea's come from and I think Coccothrinax. A lot of areas through Cuba are meant to have high pH. Doesn't Pseudophoenix love high pH soils. Then there's the coral island in the Pacific where Pritchardia pacifica, thurstonii and munroii live. The coconut must fit into that category too, always growing on sand dunes full of salt and seashells. I think Howea's need soil slightly on the high side of neutral. They do remarkably well on our coastal strip where pH's sometimes hit 10 and everything around them is chlorotic.

Best regards

Tyrone

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manolitus
I think anything from a wet rainforest habitat needs to be slightly acidic to maybe heavily acidic. This is due to the breaking down of organics in the soil, and the high rainfall which eventually over millenia leaches any Calcium carbonate (limestone) out of the soil profile. Also anything growing in wet rainforests in organically rich swamps ie Cyrtostachys will tolerate or even demand very acid soils. Peat swamps by nature can have pH as low as 4.5

So what comes to mind is many of the water loving Dypsis, ie crinita in the Vonitra sub group, D rivularis, etc. Marojejya loves it's acid organic soils, Euterpes from South America, and there'd be a heap of others which probably need acid soils.

As far as alkaline soils, the Yucatan peninsula is all limestone based and that's where Roystonea oleracea and a heap of Chamaedorea's come from and I think Coccothrinax. A lot of areas through Cuba are meant to have high pH. Doesn't Pseudophoenix love high pH soils. Then there's the coral island in the Pacific where Pritchardia pacifica, thurstonii and munroii live. The coconut must fit into that category too, always growing on sand dunes full of salt and seashells. I think Howea's need soil slightly on the high side of neutral. They do remarkably well on our coastal strip where pH's sometimes hit 10 and everything around them is chlorotic.

Best regards

Tyrone

Tyrone,

You summed up things pretty well. The one interesting note on C renda is that it actually does well in South Florida but for the temperature drops. That, in my humble opinion, is their biggest enemy in our neutral to higher ph soils. I am sure there some other exceptions..... which make me think: what is it about some of these palms that come from acidic environments that allow them to reasonably survive high ph soils and others just cant do it. :huh:

Food for thought.

Manny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jose Maria

I agree with Tyrone´s analysis. Here in Costa Rica some soils are very acid and completely leached out ,and are nothing more than aluminium oxide. Even so they support an interesting amount of palms.

Also the comment about Cyrtostachys renda, at home in swamps, seems to be sustained as among the many palms in the local park here, they alone ( and a Licuala grandis) died from a dry spell, while the others made it until the rainy season.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
palmsOrl

Thank you for the tip Jose, I'll have to try that. As far as the mulching, do they sell pine needle mulch at home improvement stores? I know Florida soils tend to be alkaline so that would help.

-Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MatNC
AND speaking of New Caledonia, don't they have stuff out there that only grows in "serpentine" soil ???!!! What's the ph of serpentine soil ??

:blink:

Manny

B.koghiensis is found on a narrow serpentine band in the only location where it grow. Chambeyronia macrocarpa is growing on this particul band too. Other palms (inclunding Chambeyronia) are growing outside those serpentinic soils. peridotites rocks above and schisose under.

pH is neutral to slightly alkalin from what I can remember.

Mat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manolitus
Thank you for the tip Jose, I'll have to try that. As far as the mulching, do they sell pine needle mulch at home improvement stores? I know Florida soils tend to be alkaline so that would help.

-Michael

Absolutely need pine needles here in Miami. The bonus is that not only do they make the soil more acidic but when it breaks down it actually becomes a great natural fertilizer !!

Manny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Eric in Orlando

Many Chamaedorea prefer more alkaline soil. I don't know if they require it but many Coccothrinax and Copernicia will tolerate alkaline soil as do Pseudophoenix.

Beccariophoenix, Marojejya, and Normanbya prefer acidic soil. Syagrus romanzoffiana often looks bad growing on soils with a high pH.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Eric in Orlando

Most soils in northern and central Florida are alkaline except for along the coasts. Most of southern FL has alkaline soil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jose Maria

Very interesting, Thanks MatNC!

It was a mystery to me, ...What are these peridotic soils? I am trying to grow some Chambeyronias here. They like the rain and the heat, but now I will see if I get them some limestone...

Here most soils are from volcanic ash, (already pH around 5) I guess more or less like Hawaii, and some very old soils are even more acidic .There are some limestone mountains from Cretassic times, that provide the crushed stone for amendments in acid soils.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
iamjv
I was curious to find out from some of the folks out in TX and AZ with the alkaline soil--would you say Sabals in general don't have a problem with high pH (greater than say, 8) or only certain ones, like maybe S. uresana?

Jay, here in central Texas, sabals seem to do very well in our alkaline soils.... the one exception that I've noted (limited experience) is uresana, which seems to have its lower leaves, yellow prematurely and I attribute it to the soil. Jv

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MatNC
Very interesting, Thanks MatNC!

It was a mystery to me, ...What are these peridotic soils? I am trying to grow some Chambeyronias here. They like the rain and the heat, but now I will see if I get them some limestone...

Here most soils are from volcanic ash, (already pH around 5) I guess more or less like Hawaii, and some very old soils are even more acidic .There are some limestone mountains from Cretassic times, that provide the crushed stone for amendments in acid soils.

There is two main type of soils here on which palms are growing on. Ultramafic and schistose.

C.nucele is an exeption and is growing on limestone. It seems there is a location for Burretiokentia hapala on limestone, usualy growing on schistose soils. And Kentiopsis oliviformis is growing at only one location on Basalt, more commonly growing on serpentine and shistose.

Simple définition Ultramafic (=Ultrabasic) from wikipedia

"Describing igneous rocks that contain magnesium and iron and only a very small amount of silica, such as are found in the Earth's mantle. "

Those kind of soils are very poor in macroelements and pretty rich in heavy metals at probably often toxical rate for comon plants. Species growing on that kind of soils are adapted to this particular conditions and are often commonly known as slow growing species.

As "subclasses" in ultramafic, we have peridotites wich seems to be the more comon type and serpentines.

Serpentines are known as hypermagnesian brown soils rich in Nickel for example. Peridotites are know as Iron and magnesium rich red soils either colluvion or either rocks (ex Campecarpus now Cyphophoenix fulcita typical habit). Peridotites are acidic soils like schistose if I correctly remember. Those kind of ultramafic soils are very common in the southern part and some time present on the upper part of mountains in the north.

Chambeyronia macrocarpa (like 7 other species) are growing on both ultramafic and schistose soils. I think they will certainly prefer acidic soils.

Mat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manolitus
Very interesting, Thanks MatNC!

It was a mystery to me, ...What are these peridotic soils? I am trying to grow some Chambeyronias here. They like the rain and the heat, but now I will see if I get them some limestone...

Here most soils are from volcanic ash, (already pH around 5) I guess more or less like Hawaii, and some very old soils are even more acidic .There are some limestone mountains from Cretassic times, that provide the crushed stone for amendments in acid soils.

There is two main type of soils here on which palms are growing on. Ultramafic and schistose.

C.nucele is an exeption and is growing on limestone. It seems there is a location for Burretiokentia hapala on limestone, usualy growing on schistose soils. And Kentiopsis oliviformis is growing at only one location on Basalt, more commonly growing on serpentine and shistose.

Simple définition Ultramafic (=Ultrabasic) from wikipedia

"Describing igneous rocks that contain magnesium and iron and only a very small amount of silica, such as are found in the Earth's mantle. "

Those kind of soils are very poor in macroelements and pretty rich in heavy metals at probably often toxical rate for comon plants. Species growing on that kind of soils are adapted to this particular conditions and are often commonly known as slow growing species.

As "subclasses" in ultramafic, we have peridotites wich seems to be the more comon type and serpentines.

Serpentines are known as hypermagnesian brown soils rich in Nickel for example. Peridotites are know as Iron and magnesium rich red soils either colluvion or either rocks (ex Campecarpus now Cyphophoenix fulcita typical habit). Peridotites are acidic soils like schistose if I correctly remember. Those kind of ultramafic soils are very common in the southern part and some time present on the upper part of mountains in the north.

Chambeyronia macrocarpa (like 7 other species) are growing on both ultramafic and schistose soils. I think they will certainly prefer acidic soils.

Mat.

Mat,

My head is spinning. Are you a geologist ??!! :lol: Anyway, thanks for the lesson, although I aint smart enough to quite get everything. But, just so you know, Ch. macrocarpa, does very well in our ground ( I don't say soil because we really dont have any ) in south Florida. Which as you have read on this thread is pretty alkaline.

Again, thanks for the info

Manny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Central Floridave

"B.koghiensis is found on a narrow serpentine band in the only location where it grow"

I just picked up some seedlings along with the other variety of B. Is there a 'best practice' to emulate these soils? Or, will they adapt to loose quick draining soils like every other palm?

The New Caledonia palms of Hapala, red feather, and K.olivorms, seem to grow pretty good here in East Central Florida (Merritt Island). We have quick draining sand, with good acidic top soil. So, I imagine that is both High and Low in PH. High in the sand and low in the top soil.

The other ones I just picked up are burretiokentia vieillardii, grandiflora, and dumassii. They are small seedlings. I want to give them the best chance to live. I'm keeping them in deep shade and in containers. I want to emulate the soil the best I can. Is it possible?

Also, concerning well water. My well water is High PH tested on my pool water testing kit. Most palms love it no problem. But, my acid loving plants like Jaboticaba and azaelas don't. I trap rain water to for the acid loving plants. However, I read somewhere that I could use muriatic acid (very dangerous be careful) to adjust my well water PH down. Muriatic acid along with sulfuric acid is easy to obtain as I use it weekly in my pool. Any ideas on if this is a good idea to lower the PH on my well water?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
plamfrong

Trachycarpus and Ceroxylon seem happy under rather acidic conditions, for whatever it's worth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manolitus
"B.koghiensis is found on a narrow serpentine band in the only location where it grow"

I just picked up some seedlings along with the other variety of B. Is there a 'best practice' to emulate these soils? Or, will they adapt to loose quick draining soils like every other palm?

The New Caledonia palms of Hapala, red feather, and K.olivorms, seem to grow pretty good here in East Central Florida (Merritt Island). We have quick draining sand, with good acidic top soil. So, I imagine that is both High and Low in PH. High in the sand and low in the top soil.

The other ones I just picked up are burretiokentia vieillardii, grandiflora, and dumassii. They are small seedlings. I want to give them the best chance to live. I'm keeping them in deep shade and in containers. I want to emulate the soil the best I can. Is it possible?

Also, concerning well water. My well water is High PH tested on my pool water testing kit. Most palms love it no problem. But, my acid loving plants like Jaboticaba and azaelas don't. I trap rain water to for the acid loving plants. However, I read somewhere that I could use muriatic acid (very dangerous be careful) to adjust my well water PH down. Muriatic acid along with sulfuric acid is easy to obtain as I use it weekly in my pool. Any ideas on if this is a good idea to lower the PH on my well water?

Central Florida,

I would be careful with amending well water. It is probably much safer to collect the well water and then add sulfuric acid until you reach a suitable ph. This is what I am doing for one particular plant I have- Mangosteen. She really demands that the soil and ground be as acidic as possible. Sulfur wont harm plants, I don't think, but I don't have a clue about muriatic acid.

Manny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jose Maria
"B.koghiensis is found on a narrow serpentine band in the only location where it grow"

I just picked up some seedlings along with the other variety of B. Is there a 'best practice' to emulate these soils? Or, will they adapt to loose quick draining soils like every other palm?

The New Caledonia palms of Hapala, red feather, and K.olivorms, seem to grow pretty good here in East Central Florida (Merritt Island). We have quick draining sand, with good acidic top soil. So, I imagine that is both High and Low in PH. High in the sand and low in the top soil.

The other ones I just picked up are burretiokentia vieillardii, grandiflora, and dumassii. They are small seedlings. I want to give them the best chance to live. I'm keeping them in deep shade and in containers. I want to emulate the soil the best I can. Is it possible?

Also, concerning well water. My well water is High PH tested on my pool water testing kit. Most palms love it no problem. But, my acid loving plants like Jaboticaba and azaelas don't. I trap rain water to for the acid loving plants. However, I read somewhere that I could use muriatic acid (very dangerous be careful) to adjust my well water PH down. Muriatic acid along with sulfuric acid is easy to obtain as I use it weekly in my pool. Any ideas on if this is a good idea to lower the PH on my well water?

Central Florida,

I would be careful with amending well water. It is probably much safer to collect the well water and then add sulfuric acid until you reach a suitable ph. This is what I am doing for one particular plant I have- Mangosteen. She really demands that the soil and ground be as acidic as possible. Sulfur wont harm plants, I don't think, but I don't have a clue about muriatic acid.

Manny

Central Floridave,

I agree with Manolitus, sulfuric acid is the best bet to bring pH down, palms can use sulfates, but I guess only coconuts can use chlorine ions.Better no muriatic acid, a pool situation is entirely different.

And thanks for the info on New Caledonia, something I´ve been looking for a long time; what soils do they have there. Now I got an answer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MatNC

Ultrabasic (=ultramafic) definitely don't means the soils is on the alkalin side.

Peridotites (ultramafic) weathered rocks are known here to produce a very acidic soils. I took a look this afternoon at JC Pintaud and D.Hodel's book and that's exactly what they said.

I read another french article wich indicated a 3,5 to 6,5 pH on peridotites.

Something I read too about C.nucele on Limestone

"grows in pockets of red, acidic soils high in aluminium and interspersed among raised coral limestone."

Schistose = acidic

Ultramafic :

peridotites = acidic

serpentines = neutral

15 species restricted to ultramafic rocks

13 species restricted to schistose rocks

8 species growing on both type.

37th is C.nucele.

B.gracilis which is now much more narrowly distributed according to the new classification is probably restricted to schistose rocks. B.eriostachys (38th) is growing on both ultramafic and schistose rocks. To be confirmed.

15 ultramafic

14 schistose

8 both

C.nucele

In my opinion they will all "thrive" on acidic soils.

All species need a quick draining soils and constant moisture at normal temperature here.

Mat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manolitus
Ultrabasic (=ultramafic) definitely don't means the soils is on the alkalin side.

Peridotites (ultramafic) weathered rocks are known here to produce a very acidic soils. I took a look this afternoon at JC Pintaud and D.Hodel's book and that's exactly what they said.

I read another french article wich indicated a 3,5 to 6,5 pH on peridotites.

Something I read too about C.nucele on Limestone

"grows in pockets of red, acidic soils high in aluminium and interspersed among raised coral limestone."

Schistose = acidic

Ultramafic :

peridotites = acidic

serpentines = neutral

15 species restricted to ultramafic rocks

13 species restricted to schistose rocks

8 species growing on both type.

37th is C.nucele.

B.gracilis which is now much more narrowly distributed according to the new classification is probably restricted to schistose rocks. B.eriostachys (38th) is growing on both ultramafic and schistose rocks. To be confirmed.

15 ultramafic

14 schistose

8 both

C.nucele

In my opinion they will all "thrive" on acidic soils.

All species need a quick draining soils and constant moisture at normal temperature here.

Mat.

Mat,

Once again thanks so much for the comprehensive lesson on your soils. This last explanation really broke it down well and simplified things for the common man.

Thanks !!

Manny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Brahea Axel

Bump for an epic thread that clarifies a lot about soil and pH for Newcal palms.

So it seems most newcal palms probably prefer a pH on the acidic side. I will have to test this out. So far, newcal palms seem to like the alkaline soil I have, but maybe they'll do even better on acidic soils.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cikas

We have alkaline soil here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manolitus

So I started this thread in 2009. OMG, where does time go ? I didn't even remember it !!!!! Sooooo, as quick update, my Marojejya is still alive, just not as big as the ones in Hawaii :drool: , my Mongosteen is kicking butt ( my only plant in a 100 % amended soil environment ), and I don't use pine needles anymore. Too much of a pain in the butt to get here in Miami. Just sticking with good ole pine bark. And it smells better too !

Thanks got bumping !

manny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
_Keith

It is amazing how hard it seems to be to find a simple list of palms by ph preference. If you find, one be sure to let us know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moose

Can we see the Marojejya? Any pics? Thanks!

I'd love to see a photo of Manny's Marojejya. He is not far from the mooseland with a similar soil type. If he has unlocked the secret, I'm all ears.

Edited by Moose

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...