Topics: Fertilization, Summer Lawn Care

Learning Center

How to Test My Soil pH - [Signs that my Lawn is too Acidic or Alkaline]

Posted by Brian Gerber on Jun 8, 2020 5:31:29 PM

How to Test the Soil pH of My Yard

Have you noticed yellow spots on your plants? Stunted growth in your yard? Weak stems on plants? Discolored foliage? These could all be signs that your soil pH is "off".
Why is it this happening? There could be many factors but a good place to start can be by testing the pH of your soil.
Most types of grass thrive in soil with a pH between 5.5 - 6.5.  Determining whether yours is too high or too low will let you know where you need to begin.

Why Is Soil pH Important? 

Soil pH is the measure of how acidic or how alkaline (basic) your lawn is on a scale of 0-14. Anything below 7 is acidic and anything above 7 is alkaline.

Water and nutrients are essential to plant growth. Soil pH affects how well your plants can absorb nutrients.

Different nutrients become available at different pH levels (see chart below).  Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are the three main nutrients that plants need. 

While different plants may thrive in different pH levels, most grasses grow well between a pH of 5.5  -6.5. 

Ph Scale for lawn


What Causes Low or High Soil pH?

Factors such as rainfall, plant decay, climate, land use, or presence of sand and/or clay can all raise or lower soil pH.

Limestone in Connecticut lawns

Signs of Acidic Soil (Low pH):

  • Yellow spots in your lawn.

  • Wilting grass blades. 

  • Leaf blight (fungal disease). 

  • Stunted grass growth.

  • High volume of oak and pine trees. These trees grow well in areas with acidic ground. 

  • Weeds and moss - both thrive in acidic lawns. 

Signs of Alkaline Soil (High pH):

  • Yellowing of lawn. It is harder for roots to absorb nutrients such as iron. 

  • Poor stem development.

How Do I Test My Soil pH? (DIY)

  • Commercial Test Probe:

    • Dig hole 2-4 inches deep and add distilled water. Insert a test probe into hole. These devices are pocket-sized and will give you instant results.

    • Pro tip: Take a few samples from all around the yard, making sure you dig the hole to the same depth each time. 

  • Soil Testing Kit:

    • Available at any local hardware store. Collect samples from around yard and follow kit instructions. 

  • Send Soil Sample to a Lab:

How To Correct My Soil pH? 

How To Correct Acidic Soil (Low pH):

If your pH runs low (under 7) this means that your soil is acidic. To fix it we recommend a corrective lime application. Call a local trusted lawn care company to do this treatment. If planning on doing it yourself,  just make sure that product is being put down at the proper rates.

How To Correct Alkaline Soil (High pH):

To fix this we recommend an acidic treatment. Call a local trusted lawn care company to fix your ph level. If planning on doing it yourself make sure the product is being spread at the proper rates

Bottom Line:  You need a premium soil ph to create and maintain a healthy, lush lawn. To make sure your soil ph is optimal, test it today following the easy-to-do steps above. If your ph level needs to be corrected, call a local trusted lawn care company to make your lawn more enjoyable for your family.

If Soil pH is not your issue see if these other problems could be what is causing trouble in your lawn: 

Learning Center Articles 

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Since 2007, Green Meadow Lawn Care has provided homeowners throughout the greater Tolland, Connecticut area with premium fertilization programs, tick control, mosquito management, seeding & aeration and tree & shrub care. 

Visit our Learning Center to find out more about how our services can help you or visit our Youtube Channel to view more in our Learning Center Series.

To speak to our Customer Service Manager, please call Dave (view Dave's video bio here) with any questions. Dave has been in the industry for 30 years and is always happy to help with his expert advice.  


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