Soil PH - Why Is It Important In Your Lawn And How Can You Check It?
Maintaining a healthy lawn requires careful attention to many factors, one of which is soil pH. Soil pH refers to the measure of acidity or alkalinity of the soil and it plays a crucial role in the growth and overall health of your lawn. In this blog we'll explore why soil pH is important in lawn care and discuss how you can test the pH of your lawn soil.
Why is Soil pH Important in Lawn Care?
Soil pH affects many aspects of plant growth including nutrient availability, microbial activity and root development. A soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0 is generally considered optimal for most lawn grasses as it allows for good nutrient availability and promotes healthy root growth. However, if the soil pH is too low (acidic) or too high (alkaline) certain essential nutrients may become unavailable to the grass leading to poor growth, yellowing and other symptoms of nutrient deficiency.
For example if the soil pH is too low essential nutrients like phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium may be bound up in the soil and unavailable to the grass. In contrast if the soil pH is too high nutrients like iron, manganese, and zinc may become unavailable leading to deficiencies that can stunt growth and cause discoloration.
In addition to affecting nutrient availability soil pH also plays a role in microbial activity. Certain microorganisms such as nitrogen-fixing bacteria are more active at specific pH ranges. For example some types of bacteria thrive in slightly acidic soils while others prefer more alkaline conditions. By maintaining an optimal soil pH you can support a healthy microbial community that can help to break down organic matter and release nutrients for your lawn grass.
How to Test Soil pH
Testing the pH of your lawn soil is easy and can be done using a simple soil pH testing kit. These kits are available at most garden centres and online retailers and typically include a testing solution and a colour chart.
NOTE- These will not be as accurate as laboratory tests and we advise you pay the money for a reliable laboratory test that will also test for other nutrients. Or, you can use the Allett soil tester which we have tested across a broad range of Ph levels and find it highly accurate. The Allett soil tester also tests the soil temperature and moisture levels as well as light intensity.
To take a soil sample using a home test follow these steps:
Collect a soil sample: Using a garden trowel or Allett's Soil Sampler. Collect a soil sample from several different locations in your lawn taking care to avoid areas where fertilisers or other lawn treatments have recently been applied.
Mix the sample: Combine the soil samples in a clean container and mix thoroughly to create a homogenous sample.
Test the soil: Follow the instructions included with your pH testing kit to test the soil sample. This usually involves adding a small amount of testing solution to the soil sample and observing the colour change.
Interpret the results: Compare the colour of the testing solution to the colour chart provided with the testing kit to determine the pH of your soil. If the pH is too low or too high you can take steps to adjust it using soil amendments like lime or sulphur.
If using a lab test you will send your soil sample in a bag to the laboratory and they will send you your results back via email.
Note for our Allett Lawn Academy Day we used the A001 test found here from NRM Labs which tested for Ph, Phosphorus, Potassium and Magnesium.
A001 Soil - Standard Soil pH, Available Phosphorus, Potassium and Magnesium. Results expressed as mg/l and ADAS Indices. Lime and fertiliser recommendations are available for most crops ref RB209 9th Edition