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Most homeowners strive to have a lush, green lawn but a lot of them fail to realize that the health of their lawn starts beneath the turf with a well-balanced soil at its base. But before you start adding fertilizers, lime, or other soil amendments, it’s best to dig in and test the soil’s pH levels.
Soil testing gives critical information about the soil that is required for proper turf growth management. It’s similar to a vehicle mechanic’s sensor code reader. The warning light may or may not be blinking, but if you plug in the sensor code reader, you’ll be able to figure out what’s wrong with the vehicle and how to fix it.
So, what is soil pH and how do you know if your lawn’s pH range is healthy? Let’s find out!
What is Soil pH?
So, what does the “pH” stand for anyways?
The letter “p” stands for “potential” in pH. The letter “H” stands for hydrogen.
As a result, pH refers to the amount of hydrogen ion activity in a material, such as soil. Soil pH is a method of determining the level of acidity or alkalinity in the soil on your property.
It’s measured in “pH units” on a scale from 0 to 14. High alkalinity is at the bottom of the scale, while extreme acidity is at the top. So, a Number 7 soil sample is neutral soil, meaning it is neither acidic nor alkaline.
Your soil may be inherently acidic or alkaline. Although there are a few exceptions, soils in the Eastern and Southern United States tend to be strongly acidic soil. The Midwest’s soils are more neutral, whereas the Southwest and West’s soils are more alkaline.
Rain, microbial activity, and nitrogen fertilizers are the three main sources of acidity.
What Should My Lawn’s Soil PH Level Be?
As we’ve mentioned, acidic conditions are indicated by a low pH while alkaline conditions are indicated by a high pH. Your grass will not be able to absorb nutrients correctly if the pH is too high. The ideal pH range for your lawn’s grass is 6.5-7.0, which is somewhat acidic.
In general, lime is used to raise the pH and sulfur is used to reduce it, and compost can be used to naturally adjust the pH. To establish the soil pH and particular nutrient requirements, a soil test is highly recommended.
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How to Test Your Soil’s pH Levels with a Soil Kit
Although not every kit follows the same procedure, the following steps are commonly followed:
- A shallow hole, two to four inches deep, should be dug.
- Fill the pit with purified water—that is, water that is neither acidic nor alkaline—after moving any twigs or stones to the side. (If you don’t have any, you can pick up a bottle at practically any supermarket or pharmacy.)
- Insert the test probe as soon as the hole you made in the soil turns into a muddy pool.
- Now wait for a moment. You should obtain a readout after approximately a minute.
If your pH reading is less than 7, your soil is acidic. Is there a number higher than seven? Your soil has a high alkaline content. (A score of 7 indicates that your soil is neutral.)
So, what’s next? It’s Lime Time!
Lime, a soil amendment manufactured from pulverized limestone rock that contains calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate, is used when the pH of your soil is too low.
When you add lime to your soil, these components raise the pH, making it less acidic and more alkaline. The nutrients in your fertilizer will then be absorbed by the soil, allowing it to flourish.
When Should You Add Lime To Your Soil?
Our staff will usually apply a lime application in the fall or starting as early as August, when we conduct aeration and overseeding. This process might also be done in early spring around March. Depending on how far your soil is from neutral, you may need to apply lime multiple times throughout the season.
It comes in the shape of small gray pellets that are usually spread out evenly with a spreader.
Still Not Sure On Where to Start With Your Lawn’s Health? Contact Turfcor.
You’re paying for fertilizer to help your lawn grow green and strong. Make sure it’s doing its job with one of Turfcor’s Full Service Packages.
We’ll test your soil, tell you whether it requires lime, and apply the necessary nutrients for a healthy lawn all season long. Contact us today and schedule a free consultation to see how we can help!