Importance of Proper pH
If you don’t have the proper soil pH, say, “Good-bye” to a great-looking lawn! In fact, you can be wasting between 20% and 70% of your lawn fertilizer if your pH is imbalanced. Remember, lawn fertilizers acidify turfgrass every time they are applied.
The role of soil pH in the health of the lawn
The pH level of the soil is an important consideration in growing lawns. Most of us have a basic understanding of pH as a way of measuring how acidic or alkaline a soil may be. If you own a swimming pool you know that correcting and balancing the pH of the water you swim in is important. On a scale of 1 to 14 a pH of 1 is very acidic and a pH of 14 is very alkaline, also called base, while a pH reading of 7 would be neutral. Lawns grow best in a soil that is neutral to slightly acidic between a 6 and a 6.8 reading.
Seemingly small changes in pH readings can mean big changes for lawn grass plants. That is because the pH scale is logarithmic not arithmetic. This means that a pH reading of 5 is ten times more acidic than a pH reading of 6, and one hundred times more acidic than a pH reading of 7, and so on.
Importance of Ph concept
Lawn grasses need a slightly acidic pH, reading between 6.0 – 6.8, to grow healthy and strong. Tiny soil microorganisms increase and multiply in soil, when the soil has a proper pH. They die in acidic soils of low pH! These microorganisms breakdown the vast array of the organic compounds and mineral nutrients found in the soil that no other form of life can degrade. Since grass plants need much more than the nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium that comes in the bag of fertilizer you spread, they can only get their other essential nutritional requirements from the soil. These include, humic and fulvic acids, calcium, sulfur, iron, manganese, cobalt etc. etc. The bag of fertilizer you spread on your lawn is mostly wasted when the soil pH is too acidic. Also weeds thrive in acidic soils of low pH, so you fight a never ending battle trying to eliminate the lawn weeds. Turf diseases and even insect populations are kept in check when the soil pH is adjusted. There is nothing more important that you can do for your lawn than to improve a low pH soil by bringing it up to a 6.0 or higher pH. Even in high alkaline soils exhibiting a higher pH there may also be a high sodium content. The sodium competes with the calcium reducing both elements availability. Calcium is not very mobile in the soil, or lawn grass plant tissue, therefore a continuous supply is essential for the development of a healthy attractive lawn.