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Soil / pH Manangement

pH Management

Preforming a soil analysis is the key in all lawn programs. pH refers to the acid content of your soil and too often soil pH is put on the back burner to services that give quick results; however, focusing on your soils pH is one of the most important practices in your turf program over time. Ignoring the soils pH may result in inefficient uses of fertilizers, excessive thatch buildup and increases in pests and diseases.


Understanding soil pH

The pH scale ranges from 0-14 with 7 representing a neutral value. Any pH value registering below 7 is considered to be acidic, and any pH above 7 is considered to be alkaline. The pH scale is logarithmic, which means acidity increases tenfold for every decrease of one whole unit. Likewise, for every whole unit increase in pH above 7, alkalinity increases tenfold..


Most grass types will thrive in soils with pH levels ranging from 5.5 to 6.5, however different turf grasses and varieties vary. See Green can adjust your turfs pH by the use applying organic amendments, fertilizers and/or limes to the soil.


Soil pH affects turf health in a number of ways:


  • Acidic soils (below 5.5pH) often results in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus deficiencies in some turf grass species. High levels of aluminum and manganese levels can be toxic. Soils with high pH levels (greater than 8) tend to deprive the plant of phosphorus. Also, Iron Chlorosis occurs more frequently on turf growing in high pH soils. At this level, plants do not absorb iron from the soil causing them to turn light yellow-green.


  • Microorganisms in the soil aid in breaking down nitrogen fertilizers and thatch. pH levels between 6 to 7 typically favor such microbial breakdown.


  • Strongly acidic soils create conditions that favor the growth of several weed species. The most common and difficult to control weed; moss, is more rampant in acidic soils than neutral or alkaline soils.


  • Soil pH impacts some turf grass diseases.


  • Research shows that certain pH levels reduce the effectiveness of some herbicides and insecticides


If soil tests deem your soil acidic, below 7.0, we can fix it. See Green can neutralize your soil pH by applying lime. We recommend that lime be applied in the fall to enable the material to break down over the winter for the next season's growth. However, lime can be applied any time. Lime begins to react immediately and reduces acidity and improves turf growth through the summer and fall. It is important that the turf is watered after lime application(s) in order to wash any lime off of the grass blades. Lime applications typically last for 4 to 6 years.

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