Adjusting Soil pH for Optimal Grass Growth
Expert Article By: Jack Greenwood
The pH of your lawn soil is an important factor that affects how your lawn grasses will grow. The pH value is an indicator that tells you whether your soil is acidic or alkaline. A balanced soil pH will ensure that your grasses are growing optimally.
First of all, you need to do a soil test to find out the pH value. You can do this in two ways. The first is to buy a do-it-yourself soil pH test kit at any nursery near you and follow the instructions provided by the kit. The result is not highly reliable but it is enough to give you an approximate pH value.
The other way is to let a soil test lab do the test for you. Obviously this is more expensive than the first option but the result is much more complete and reliable. Moreover, the lab result often contains much more information about your soil and not just the pH value. A good lab report will also advise you the remedial action to take if the test reveal any potential problems with your lawn.
The pH scale range from 1 to 14 with a pH of 1 being most acidic and a pH of 14 being the most alkaline. A neutral pH value is 7.0 but most lawn grass will thrive in slightly acidic soil which has a pH value of 6.5 to 7.0.
If your soil has a pH value under 6.5, it is too acidic and you have to add ground limestone to bring it back into balance. If it is over 7.5, it is alkaline and you have to add soil sulfur.
To find out how much sulfur or limestone you need to add to your soil, obtain a soil chart from any soil laboratory, lawn and gardening centers or cooperative extension offices. The scale is usually based on pounds of material to add per 1,000 square feet. Thus it is imperative that you know the size of your lawn. If you have not done so, measure your lawn's length and width with a measuring tape. Multiply the two figures to get the square footage of your lawn.
Once you know the amount of sulfur or limestone required, use a drop spreader to apply these materials. A drop spreader is not expensive and will help your spread the materials evenly on your lawn. It can also be used to spread fertilizers. So invest in one if you have not done so.
You may have to apply sulfur or limestone on a regular basis in order to keep your soil pH in balance. Sometimes, applying both sulfur and limestone may be necessary. However, do exercise caution when applying sulfur as too much of it can burn your lawn. Break up the sulfur application over a few parts and apply them evenly will ensure that you have a pH balanced lawn for your grasses to thrive.