If your goal is to get the highest bounty possible from your lawn, you need to make sure that you are looking at all of the individual parts that help your garden grow. One of these important parts is the pH of your soil. It is important, for your garden to grow, that your pH is balanced correctly. In most cases, you will want to make sure the pH level of your soil is as close to 7 as possible as this is ideal for most garden vegetables. Depending on if the soil pH is too high, or alkaline, or too low, acidic, there are ways that you can balance it out.
First Things First, Measure Your pH Level
Before you can start balancing your pH level, you will need to get a good measurement. The best way to do this is to buy a pH kit from your local garden center. They are fairly affordable, and you can measure right at home. If this isn’t a possibility, you can also reach out to your county soil testing facility, and they will test the soil for a minimal fee.
Know What Your Plants Like
Though most plants will prefer a pH of around 7, there are some plants, like potatoes or blueberries that will prefer soil that is more acidic. If you don’t know, research should be done in order to get the best bounty.
If Your Soil pH is Too High
After measuring the pH of your soil, you may find that the number is over 7. If this is the case, you need to bring it down in order to balance it. One way to make alkaline soil balance out is to add sulfur. You can usually buy this at any gardening store. Spread the sulfur on the soil and try to get it into the ground about four to six inches deep. You can do this by hand or with a tilling machine. Other substances that will also work to bring down the alkalinity of your soil include peat moss, pine needles or tree leaves that are decomposing.
If Your Soil pH is Too Low
If you find that your soil is too acidic, or lower than 7 on the pH scale, then you will need to balance this out, too. The best way to do this is to add lime to the soil. This can also be purchased at any garden center. What can be confusing to some gardeners, however, is that they will often find two different types of lime out there:
• Quicklime – This is a product of limestone that contains different levels of calcium and magnesium. Knowing the levels of magnesium and calcium in your soil can help you determine which type of quicklime to get.
• Hydrated Lime – If you need lime that is higher in calcium, it is recommended that you buy hydrated lime. This is essentially quicklime that has been specially treated with water, though this is not something you can recreate at home.
You can also add compost, wood ash or finely ground oyster shells to bring the acid level down.
The pH of your soil is very important, and if you want to ensure you are getting the most from your garden, you will want to know this number. Test early and test again if you think there might be a problem. With regular water and sun, there is no reason you can’t have a fantastic lawn when you balance out the pH.
Trey Palmer is the owner of palmersturf.com, a leading provider in Zoysia Sod and other turfgrass needs.