In order for your turf to respond correctly to fertilizers, a proper soil pH is needed. We strive to maintain a pH somewhere between the 5.8–7.2 range, with 6.5 being ideal. The only way to identify if your soil pH is ideal or not is through a soil test.
We send our soil tests to Spectrum Analytic in Ohio rather than doing them in-house. This will provide a more complete and accurate soil pH test and give valuable information on other possible soil nutrient problems on your lawn. With this basic soil test, we’ll also be able to determine other deficiencies your soil may have, such as Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, and organic matter. This test will also provide us with lime or sulfur recommendations to correct any pH problem.
Soil pH is a measure of soil acidity or alkalinity. A pH of 7 is neutral, a pH below 7 is acid, while a pH over 7 is alkaline. Most turfgrasses will tolerate pH ranges between about 5.5-7.5. However, turfgrass will perform best in the range from 6.0-7.0, with 6.5 being ideal.
The soil pH is dependent upon may factors, such as geography. Many western soils are high in pH, while soils in the eastern part of the country may be more acidic. In urban landscapes, pH may be all over the board, with native top soils being scrapped away, irrigation water, previous fertilization, and other factors.
Essential plant nutrients are tied up and not available to the plant. For example, Phosphorus is usually found in adequate amounts in most soils, but will not be absorbed by plants effectively if pH is too high or too low. Iron deficiencies will be found when soil pH levels are over 7.0.
Bacteria that decompose organic matter are hindered in strongly acidic soils. This will lead to thatch problems. If a lawn has a thatch problem, it is often because the soil pH is too acidic. Microorganisms also play a role in breaking down certain nitrogen sources.
- Certain turf diseases are more damaging with low pH soils.
- Some elements can become toxic to turfgrass when soil pH is extremely out of balance.
- Fertilizers will not be as effective, so your turf will not green-up as much.
A soil test is used to determine soil pH. If it is determined that soil is too acidic (under 6.0), then granular lime applications will be needed to eventually correct that. If a soil is too alkaline (over 7.0), then granular sulfur applications are in order. These can be done at any time of the season. They are particularly effective when done in conjunction with core aeration. In most cases, several treatments of lime or sulfur are needed over a season or even two in order to bring the soil pH into the proper range.
If you would like LawnAmerica to complete a soil test for you, simply submit the following form. There will be a small $20 fee to help cover our expenses for this. Once completed, we’ll send you the results and any recommendations.
To request a quote on the above service or any that we offer, you can fill out the simple form below. Whether you are a current or new customer we can get you a quote quickly so that we can start your service as soon as possible.