Let’s simplify pH - What is it and how does it affect you?
Soil pH is an indication of where your soil is sitting and is measured within the scale of 1 to 14, with a neutral pH where we all strive to be (around the 7 mark). By testing your soil, you will find out if you are dealing with acidic or alkaline soil (or if you’re lucky, you’ll be sitting pretty). Realistically, the closer you can get your soil to that magic 7 mark, the better the soil quality meaning a better plant and a better lawn to enjoy. A good place to start when looking at improving your lawn is a soil test.
How can we test our soil?
There are a few ways to be able to test your pH. The first is a simple test kit available at hardware stores and garden nurseries. These are a very simple, cheap and effective way to get an idea of what you are dealing with. The easy-to-follow instructions will provide you a result that can be compared to the supplied colour chart, giving you an idea as to what pH your soil is. Now when using these test kits, it is always an advantage to take the soil from around 100mm deep in several spots and mix them together then test. Why? This will give you an average across your block. The biggest mistake people make is testing one spot, how can you be sure that where you tested is the same as the other side of the yard? It is always good to do multiple tests.
The next will be a mechanical and/or digital meter which are available online. These can also be easy to use, simply pushing the meatal probe into your ground and it will produce your reading with the push of a button. These meters can even give you soil temps as well as moisture levels. With this style, it’s like anything - the more you spend, the better the quality.
Finally, the best way. A soil analysis by a genius in the white coat working in a laboratory. The best thing about this test is it will be scientifically broken down and the results you get back will be on the money no questions asked. Soil tests aren’t that expensive really. For a scientific look at your lawn, you can expect to pay around $150 and upwards depending on the data you require.
Correcting your profile:
So, you have done your test and are now looking at correcting your profile and getting yourself closer to that neutral mark of 7. If your soil came in as Acidic (which is sub 7), you can apply lime. Now the application will differ across everyone and rates will depend on what pH you started with. Don’t go thinking that loading it up with lime in one application is the answer, this may well do damage to your lawn. Multiple applications over time is better then one big dump. Continue to test your pH over the coming months to keep an eye on it as it adjusts.
Raising your pH is a lot easier than trying to decrease it. Alkaline soils or those higher then 7 need a different attack. Again, the usage of these products and application rates depend on your current pH. Iron SulpHate, sulpHate of ammonia and organics like manure are your go to, to help reverse the alkalinity.
The main idea is to have your profile sit around 7. When you get to that point, your nutrients, trace elements and anything you use will be better up taken by the plant and give you better results long term. It is true a simple soil test can save you money and product and can be a determining factor when taking your lawn to the next level.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about pH levels and which products will be best to use on your lawn.