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How to Test Soil pH & Why You Need to Monitor Your Lawn’s Acidity

Posted on August 18, 2014 by Lawn Doctor

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You may remember pH levels from high school chemistry class. What it means is that an aqueous solution may be alkaline or acidic. Generally speaking, a number below 6 or 7 is considered to be acidic, and a number higher is considered to be alkaline. For example, lemon juice, which is considered to be very acidic, has a pH level of 2.2.

You may also be familiar with pH levels if you have a pool. It is important to test the pH levels – and adjust the acidity – in order for the water to be clean and safe to swim in. The same goes for lawn soil pH balancing. You need to test your lawn’s pH levels to make sure it’s in balance if you want to have a healthy, green lawn. If your lawn is too acidic, or too alkaline, it will not be healthy or lush or green, and it may not be getting the nutrients it should be getting. Learn why lawn pH levels matter how to test soil pH.

Why your soil pH level matters

Having the perfect pH level in your soil is important for plants, like your lawn, to be able to absorb nutrients they need to grow. Lawns with a low, or acidic, soil pH also tend to grow unwanted plants like weeds or moss.

So if you want to have a beautiful lawn, you need to test the soil pH levels on a regular basis and adjust accordingly. The exact number for your soil’s pH level should, generally speaking, be around a range of 6.0 to 6.5 to 7.0, depending upon what type of turf you have for your lawn. A pH level below 6 is considered acidic, and a level above 7 is considered alkaline. The levels between 6 and 7 are considered neutral. Lawns thrive in soil that is slightly acidic, so making sure your soil is in the right range is key to getting a beautiful lawn. Each grass type can survive in a different pH level. You can talk with your Lawn Doctor lawn care professional about what is the optimum soil pH level for your lawn.

Also, keep in mind, though, that you should have the type of grass that is ideal for your climate, and your area’s soil. If you do not, you will be fighting a losing battle when it comes to your soil’s pH level, and when it comes to having a lush, healthy lawn.

How to test soil pH with a soil sample

So, to ensure that your lawn’s pH level is at the right level, you will need to test it. Keep in mind that this is a soil pH level test and not a lawn test. So you will need to get a soil sample two to three inches down that is free from grass, rocks, thatch and anything else but soil. This area of the soil is called the root zone, and it will give you a good indication of the soil’s conditions. You should also take soil from multiple areas in your lawn, or have a lawn care expert like Lawn Doctor perform a soil test for you, to give you a better idea of the lawn’s health.

The soil pH levels can change every few years, so it is important to check your levels routinely. Many homeowners make soil testing an annual fall ritual to make sure levels are optimal before the spring when your grass will grow.

How to increase or decrease soil pH levels

After finding out your soil’s pH level, your Lawn Doctor lawn care expert can help adjust the levels, if needed. A lawn that has too acidic soil can be adjusted with lime, while one that is too alkaline can be adjusted with sulfur. 

Applying lime for lawns’ pH levels can also help keep thatch from building up, as can sulfur. These two items can also help fertilizer work more effectively. In addition, adjusting the pH level can also keep your lawn from turning yellow, and can help the grass more readily absorb nutrients.

You can take your soil sample to your Lawn Doctor lawn care professional to find out what your lawn’s current pH level is. After doing so, they can work with you on adjusting your soil to make sure it has the proper pH level.  Before you know it, you will have your lawn back the way you want it – green and healthy all season.

Tired of the tedious and grueling work of maintaining your lawn?

Contact Lawn Doctor to help care for your lawn when you can’t.

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