Soil: The Foundation Of Your Lawn Grasses
Before you lay sod or sow any lawn grasses, you should test the soil to determine its pH. The pH scale will range from zero to 14. A neutral soil has a pH of 7. Most lawn grasses prefer to grow in a soil that has a pH between 6.5 and 6.8.
If your soil test shows that the pH of your soil is 5.5 or lower, your soil is acidic. This means that magnesium, calcium and phosphorous are not readily available for your grass like they would be in a neutral soil. Acidic soil is commonly called “sour soil” because the soil’s organisms cease to work when the pH dips below 5.0.
If you sow you lawn grasses in this soil, they may grow very slow. The stems of your grass blades may be very pale and they may become diseased. Simply adding fertilizer will not repair the soil levels. You will have to neutralize the soil by adding limestone. The amount of limestone you add will be incumbent upon your soil’s pH level.
If you soil has a pH level above 8.0, your soil is alkaline. Alkaline soil is sometimes referred to as “sweet soil.” When your lawn soil has a level of 8.0 or higher your lawn grasses will turn pale and yellow because no iron or manganese is available. You will have to correct this condition by spading in iron and sulfate compounds.
Generally speaking, most acidic soils are high in organic material while alkaline soils are high in calcium. Acidic soils generally occur in areas where there is high rainfall, while alkaline soils seem to be more prevalent in areas where there is minimal rainfall.
To ensure that you are getting a proper soil test, you should take it to a professional. Most soil testing rates start at around $25 and they are well worth it. It can save you much money in the long run and keep you from having to spend the time and money that is involved in sowing new lawn grasses.
When taking your soil sample, you should take samples from 10 to 15 different areas of your lawn. Take a tablespoon of each and mix them together thoroughly. If there is not a soil testing service in your area, you can purchase a home soil testing kit at most any plant nursery. While these tests are not as accurate as the ones completed by professionals, you will have a general idea of what is going on in your lawn’s soil.
No one wants to put the time in to sowing or sodding a new lawn only to see it die. The soil that is in your yard is the foundation of your grass. If it is not within its proper pH levels, you will have a problem growing and maintaining the health of your lawn grasses. In fact, if you have any lawn grass problems, checking the soil should be the first thing on your list.
Learn more here in our online guide to choosing lawn mowers and trimmers based on their performance and best features of the various models: How to Buy The Best Lawn Mower For Your Needs.
You can also learn here about lawn care for beginners to help you grow a beautiful grass lawn.
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