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Soil Test Kit, advice please

I've just bought a soil test kit from b&q, never tested before.

I've done 2 tests as per instructions, waited the require time.

Both times it tells me the soil is 8.0 as alkaline as the score goes up to.

Problem - soil taken from beside a flourishing well established rhododendrom, all neighbours gardens also grow rhododendrum, pieris, camellia etc...

I don't feel the result is right, has anyone else had problems with these testers?

The pack also says it will test nutrients (advice enclosed), there is a chart for these but no instuctions how to test, no separate bottle, or do I wait longer etc..

Does anyone know if these kits accurate? Are they easy to use 'incorrectly' ? Or are they just a waste fo time?

Secondly, is the test rod system any better?

Thank you


  • Did you mix the soil with tap water?  If you live in a hard water area then it could push your ph upwards but I wouldn't have thought all the way to 8.  


  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,951

    Farmergeddun, no water used at all. just measure soil then add test solution to require level. Shake, leave 10mins.

  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 12,762

    As you say Mrs Garden if Rhodes are growing well then your pH is less than 8. More likely to be 6 or less. The kit must be wrong!

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  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,951
    That's what I thought. Might try one of those probes. But do I really need to know? Managed so far.
  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,214

    The RHS website says that if a test is done within three months of using lime, fertiliser or adding organic matter the results may be inaccurate.

    If you take a soil sample from the supposedly very alkaline site and add some vinegar to it it will fizz if it is indeed alkaline.

  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,951
    Soil n vinegar, is that in my chips?

    Thanks w,butts. I'll enjoy that experiment tomorrow!!
  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,951

    No fizzing waterbutts. Conclusion - soil test kit faulty.

    Not going to bother with the stick type either, not sure what benefit is to be gained really unless I want to grow specific plants to perfection. I'll keep with trial and error.

    Thanks for your advice everyone.

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