The term pH is a number that tells you whether the soil is alkaline or acidic. Adjusting the pH refers to changing either one of these by adding lime or sulphur.

Soil pH of 7.0 is a "neutral" pH. This level or close to it is ideal for nutrients to be used by the grass. When the pH is too high or too low, many of the nutrients such as phosphorus and iron are bonded to the soil and unavailable for the root system to use properly. When this happens the grass does poorly. More often than not, the lawn will show no outward signs or symptoms, but if you fertilize your lawn every 4-6 weeks it may not respond well. Having a laboratory test the soil is the only reliable method of determining soil pH.

Soil Sampling

Collect core samples using a soil probe. The cores should be taken to a depth of 3 inches, not including the thatch. Several cores from various locations the lawn will give you the best sampling. Place all cores in a sample bag for testing at the laboratory. The lab test will indicate soil pH and offer recommendations as to what is required to raise or lower your pH level.

pH Adjustment

A soil pH of 7.0 is a "neutral" pH. A lower number indicates an acidic soil. Applying ground limestone will raise the soil's pH. A number higher than 7.0 indicates an alkaline soil. Apply sulphur to lower the soil's pH. The best way to apply these materials is by using a rotary spreader. Use a pellet form of lime or sulphur for best results. Before applying, ensure you have the soil tested by a reputable laboratory. Don't guess. Having the soil tested is the only reliable way of determining what needs to be used to adjust the soil's pH.

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