Plant roots require certain conditions to obtain these nutrients from the soil. First, the soil must be sufficiently moist to allow the roots to take up and transport the nutrients. Sometimes correcting improper watering strategies will eliminate nutrient deficiency symptoms. Second, the pH of the soil must be within a certain range for nutrients to be release-able from the soil particles. Third, the temperature of the soil must fall within a certain range for nutrient uptake to occur. The optimum range of temperature, pH and moisture is different for different species of plants. Thus, nutrients may be physically present in the soil, but not available to plants.
Pakistan’s soils are mostly dry and have high concentrations of calcium carbonate and a low content of organic matter, this high concentration of calcium carbonate (lime stone) makes our soil alkaline with pH near 8 or above.
Detail Map of Soil of Pakistan
Iron, Manganese, Copper, Zinc and boron deficiencies are very common micronutrient disorders in field and horticultural crop plants grown on alkaline soils of Pakistan.
Nutrient availability and soil pH. Availability is least at the pH corresponding to the narrowest part of the band and most at the widest.
Lowering Soil pH
Adding Sulfur- The drawback is that it can takes months to affect the pH. It requires the activity of soil microbes to break it down first.
Adding Aluminum Sulfate or ammonium sulfate or ferrous sulphate to the soil. These work immediately.
You can use decayed vegetable matter, compost, stable manure and straw, etc. to increase the acidity of the soil. This method allows the pH to be slowly lowered over time, while increasing microbial life and improving the structure of your soil.
My Personal experience
Two weeks ago my Ixora plant was in very bad condition, pale leaves with dark green veins and no sign of flowering; these are signs of Iron deficiency. When it comes to my knowledge that actually higher soil pH will suppress the availability of Iron, I was thinking about changing the pH of soil. I feed the plant with one tablespoon of lemon Juice in one gallon (4.5 lit) of water. The results are incredible, now the plant is looking healthy with no signs of Iron deficiency and two bunches of flower.
I am agree that without knowing pH treating plant like this is not a right way specially for developed and old plants. The best way is a pH meter for checking the pH of soil, and then goes according to resulted pH.