22 May TURF TALK
When was the last time you tested your soil’s pH?
More often than not, testing our soils pH takes a back seat to lawn maintenance tasks such as fertilising and overseeding but a simple 5-minute soil test may save you time and money in the long run.
Soil pH refers to the level of acidity or alkalinity in your lawn. All plants have a preferred pH and once soil goes outside of this preferred zone, the lawn will start to show signs of ill health. For anyone interested in having a beautiful lawn, a soil pH test really is the best place to start.
Soil pH ranges from 0 to 14. A value of 7 is neutral. Anything below 7 indicates an acidic soil and any pH above 7 is an alkaline soil. If your soil pH is too high or low your lawn won’t be able to get all the nutrients it requires, no matter how much fertiliser you add. Incorrect pH can also lead to excess thatch and an increase in pests and weeds. The ideal pH for most laws sits around 6.5. If your test indicates a pH of below 6 or above 7 then action needs to be taken to correct the imbalance. Fortunately, the treatment is relatively easy.
In our region it is more likely that your soil will be more acid then alkaline so what do you do? If your soil test indicates that your pH is too low or too acidic (which applies to most Australian soils) the solution is to add lime or dolomite. Just check the instructions on the product your purchase for the correct rates of application.
In the unlikely event that your soil is too alkaline, meaning your pH is too high, you can increase the acidity by adding things like compost and manure, leaf litter or mulch. In extreme situations, you can use powdered sulphur. You won’t notice a change in pH for some time as it works quite slowly so apply and wait a few months before retesting.
You can grab a pH testing kit from most nurseries but if you are uncertain about exactly how to do it, grab a few soil samples and come out to the farm. We will do the soil test for you and make the appropriate recommendations.