Adjusting Irrigation Water – Comparing Acid Choices

In our previous post discussing the difference between bicarbonates and pH, we noted the need for neutralizing high bicarbonate levels in irrigation water. If high levels are not addressed, they can react with calcium and magnesium to form bicarbonate salts, further increasing media pH and removing vital nutrients from solution.

Ideally, we want to see a bicarbonate level between 60-100 ppm (HCO3). When your water analysis shows a higher level than this, it is time to consider using acid to neutralize enough bicarbonates to bring your count down to this range.

There are several factors to consider when choosing an acid, including safety, nutritional value, and compatibility:

It is important to identify what strength of acid you’re using, along with specific gravity to accurately determine the rate you require. Luckily, the University of New Hampshire has created a calculator that does the hard work for you – AlkCalc

For more information on acid safety, mixing and use, visit the University of Massachusetts’ extension article on Adjusting Alkalinity with Acids.