Best Soil pH Testers & Why They Are Useful For Bamboo Plants

You can never go wrong with a soil pH & moisture tester as part of your gardening tools.

If you have troubles maintaining healthy bamboo plants, it’s most likely the soil that is causing it. In this case, a soil pH tester can help you narrow down the issue and find a solution.

Whether you are here to simply get our recommendation for a soil testing tool or to learn more about your bamboo’s health, you won’t waste your time. We’ll explain why the right soil conditions are crucial for healthy bamboo plants, as well as how to conduct the pH and moisture level of the soil.

Best pH Testers

Some of you may have come to this page just to find our product recommendation. That’s why we are starting with that. Nobody wants to waste time reading through a long post, if one knows what one needs. So, without further ado, let’s get started with our soil pH tester recommendations!

Budget-friendly: 3-in-1 Soil Tester Kit

This handy little tool is a great addition to your gardening equipment. It tests pH, moisture, and sunlight. This way you’ll know if you need to change your soil, as well as if your plants get enough sun and water (or too much of it).

The 3-in-1 tester is small, lightweight, and easy-to-use. Just poke it into the ground and read off the result. I’ll go into more detail, how to conduct the results later on this page.

  • Pro
  • Simple, yet effective, technology
  • Not confusing to use
  • Provides reliable results with double sensor design
  • No batteries needed
  • For indoors & outdoors
  • Easy to store because it’s small and lightweight
  • Affordable
  • 12 months warranty
  • Con
  • May be hard to read because of small display
  • May not be 100% accurate
  • Cannot be used in solid/hard soil or fluids
  • No results when soil is too dry

Product Recommendations by Country

USA: Sonkir Soil Moisture Tester

UK: Suplong Soil Testing Kit

Canada: Fosmon Soil Tester

For the smart technology lovers: Apera Instruments

The 3-in-1 testers do the trick on a budget-friendly level. The Apera Instruments unit comes with more precision and technology. You can save test results in an app in order to monitor your soil over longer periods. This way you can see if it improves or not. 

You can manage your test results and add photos, as well as GPS data. The connection between device and smartphone works via Bluetooth.

This instrument is not just meant for gardeners. It is mainly for food and solid substances. Therefore, also for soil.

Of course, if you get a smart device, it comes with a heftier price.

  • Pro
  • Smart technology: Use your phone (app) to see results, save data, and manage
  • Connect via Bluetooth
  • Saves data to cloud
  • Hybrid: Read from screen or smartphone
  • Provides very accurate results
  • Not only for soil: You can use it for foods and other solid substances as well
  • Multi-purpose for indoors & outdoors
  • Set alarm for certain preset values
  • Easy to store because it’s small and lightweight
  • 24 months warranty (6 for probe)
  • Con
  • Only pH level and temperature (no light or moisture)
  • Needs batteries
  • Cost

Why is the soil condition so important for bamboo?

Soil is literally food for your bamboo plants. The nutrients in the soil are important for a healthy plant. Those are more or less available to your plants according to the soil’s pH level.

A lot of problems arise from “bad soil”, no matter what you are growing. If you want thriving bamboo with lush green leaves, make sure the soil is right.

A common issue that a lot of people have is yellow leaves. If it’s not part of the natural cycle, you most likely have issues with your soil. It’s either too soggy or the pH level isn’t good for your species.

What kind of soil does bamboo like?

Bamboo isn’t really picky with it’s soil. Most species like anything that isn’t too acidic or alkaline. They actually prefer slightly acidic soil (pH of 6).

Here it is important again to know what species you have. There are some exceptions from this general rule. Shibatea, for example, likes it more to the acidic side. 

A pH tester can help you monitor the the pH level of the soil around your bamboo plants. This way you can find out if the soil is causing unhealthy symptoms or if it is something else. 

Another important factor for soil is the drainage. Bamboo hates a waterlogged soggy ground. So make sure that your soil is well-drained and aerated.

How to use a 3-in-1 soil pH Tester tool to conduct the pH level and moisture of the soil?

If you opt for the 3-in-1 soil pH tester, you probably want to know how it works.

Before you insert the tester into the ground, you have to switch the button to pH, moist, or light. This obviously depends on what you want to measure.

Then you stick the needles around 2-4 inches deep into the ground. You want to do this a few inches away from the base of your bamboo plant. Don’t force it into very hard soil or hard objects because it will damage the probe. You may have to adjust the depth until you see the pointy side of the dial swing slightly. 

Leave it in the soil for about 10 min. Then you can read off the test results.

On the display, you’ll see the three different measurements:

  • Light: Dark to Light (0-2000 lux: 0-200 Low, 200-500 Low+, 500-1000 Normal, 1000-2000 High)
  • Moist: Dry to Wet (0-10: 1-3 Dry, 4-7 Normal, 8-10 Wet)
  • pH: Alkaline to Acidic (8 – 3.5: 3.5-6.5 Acid, 7-8 Alkaline)

Depending on what you are measuring, you can read the results off the display. This may not be extremely precise but it’ll give you the general direction.

When you are done, remove the tester, clean it and store it until you need it again. Don’t leave it in the ground after testing the soil.

If your soil is super dry, it will not show any results. So, water the area a bit. Don’t use it to test water or other liquids. It is made for soil only.

How to change the pH level of soil?

So, you have successfully conducted the pH level of your soil and found out that it’s not optimal for your bamboo. What to do now?

It’s not rocket science to adjust the pH level of the soil in your garden. You simply add the “opposite substance” and mix it. It’s often a good idea to remove the top soil and add a fresh layer of soil.

If your test results said, you have alkaline soil, you can add an acidic substances. One way is making acidic compost (Ericaceae) on your own. You can probably buy in a local store as well.

If you don’t want to take all the time to make that compost, you can buy acidic plant food. Iron sulfate, sulfur, acidifying nitrogen and aluminum sulfate are great substances that will help you with this task. You can purchase a fertilizer with Chelate Iron, this organic iron-tone fertilizer, or a bag of sulfur. All you need to do is spread it around the plants, work it in a bit with a tiller or hoe, and water it.

Let’s say your test turned out that you have very acidic soil. Limestone and wood ashes are great substances to increase the pH level. You should spread and work those in before fall. These natural powders take a few months to show effects. So, it’ll be perfect for the next growing season.

There plenty of limestone garden products available. You can either use a limestone powder, granulated lime, or palletized lime.

Whatever you do, you should always water well after spreading alkaline or acidic substances