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Berlin Environmental Atlas

01.06 Soil-Scientific Characteristic Values (Edition 2013)

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01.06.7 pH Values of Topsoil


Description

The pH value (soil reaction) influences the chemical, physical and biological qualities of the soil. It affects the availability of nutrients and pollutants, and provides information about the ability of the soil to neutralize acids or bases. It is important for the filtration and buffering capacities of soils. Thus, at low pH values, no acids can be neutralized in the soil, the heavy-metal connections increasingly dissolve, and the available nutrients are largely washed out.

Methodology

The pH values were derived from existing documents for the soil associations, taking land use into account. The data were essentially taken from the profile sections in Grenzius (1987). Some values have been supplemented by expert assessments, in most cases using a great variety of different soil-scientific reports. If no measurements were available, the values were assessed using data of comparable uses or comparable soil associations. In addition to the representative values (typical pH values) for the topsoil and subsoil, the respective maximum and minimum values were also determined.

On the map, only the pH-values of the topsoil are shown, since they are more important for determining soil functions than the pH values of subsoil, and shows greater operational differences.

The gradation of pH values was carried out according to the Soil-Scientific Mapping Directive (Bodenkundliche Kartieranleitung) (1994), according to a scale from 1 through 12, which permits the soil reaction to be differentiated according to its alkalinity or acidity, from extremely alkaline to extremely acidic (cf. Tab. 1)

Table 1: pH Levels, modified
pH value pH level Designation
≥11 1 extremely alkaline
10 - <11 2 very strongly alkaline
9 - <10 3 strongly alkaline
8 - <9 4 medium alkaline
7.5 - <8 5 weakly alkaline
7 - <7.5 6 very weakly alkaline
6.5 - <7 7 very weakly acidic
6 - <6.5 8 weakly acidic
5 - <6 9 medium acidic
4 - <5 10 strongly acidic
3 - <4 11 very strongly acidic
<3 12 extremely acidic
Table 1: pH Levels (Soil-Scientific Mapping Directive, 1994) modified

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