As homeowners you may hear the call to test the pH level of your soil quite often. It may seem like a great concept, but many questions swirl around putting a pH test into action. Spring-Green, your neighborhood lawn care experts, have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions our customers have asked us over the years in relation to testing the pH levels of their soil and all things related.
- What is pH? The pH level measures how acidic or how alkaline a substance is. The test of pH shows the amount of hydrogen atoms that carry a positive charge. A higher concentration of hydrogen ions makes it is more acidic, while a lower concentration of hydrogen ions, the more alkaline the sample is.
- Why test soil pH level? We often get asked why it matters. An accurate and balanced soil pH is critical for optimal plant and lawn growth. Testing the pH of your soil will also help you determine what type of grass to choose and which plants and shrubs to add to your outdoor landscape. Your pH results will also provide direction on fertilizer and foods are needed to support a healthy lawn.
- What is a good pH level? The answer is, it depends. As a general rule of thumb, acidic substances fall between pH 0 and pH 7, while alkaline or basic substances fall between pH 7 and pH 14 on the pH scale. The most pH neutral that can be achieved is pH 7 – neither acidic nor alkaline. The answer to which pH level is best comes down to what you want to plant. Some plants thrive in acidic soil while others thrive in more alkaline environments. If your soil’s pH doesn’t match the needs of the plants and grasses that you desire, you’ll have to work to adjust it accordingly.
- What are the benefits of good pH levels? If your soil’s pH levels are too acidic or too alkaline, nutrients can have a hard time dissolving in water and reaching your grass or plants’ roots. Out of balance soil pH levels impacts your lawn’s ability to take in the nutrients present in the soil. Measuring the soil’s pH first can help you determine this foundational issue that won’t improve with fertilizer treatment.
- How do I test the pH in my soil? A soil test kit will let you know if the soil has a low or high pH, or if it suffers from a nutritional issue. You can use a store-bought test or contact your Spring-Green lawn care professionals for a deeper level of testing that provides test results and recommendations. There many types of tests available to test your soil’s pH, including test strips, chemical test kits, digital pocket testers and portable meters.
- How do I fix a problem with my soil’s pH? Irrigating the soil frequently can help lower the pH if it is too high as well – without watering too much, of course. Rainfall also affects soil pH. Be sure to keep local weather in mind as set up your watering plans. Application of fertilizers containing ammonium or urea can help to increase the acidity of your soil. To make soils less acidic (or more alkaline), ground agricultural limestone can be added to the soil. The finer the limestone particles, the more rapidly it becomes effective.
- How can Spring-Green help? The pros at Spring-Green can help you determine what your target pH level should be based on your goals and provide the plan to get there. Beyond just an initial consultation, Spring-Green supports your lawn care goals from start to finish.
Spring-Green has been the go-to for American homeowners who want to have healthy lawns and quality service from trusted local professionals. That’s how we got the name – your neighborhood lawn care experts! Our team can guide you on the perfect grasses, shrubs, and plants for your unique corner of the world – including, developing an assessment and plan for your soil’s pH levels!