How To Determine If Your Lawn Is Suffering From a pH Imbalance

Now that the pandemic is semi-under control, it’s time to get back to backyard barbecues, family gatherings, and late-night campfires. The last thing you want to deal with is a lawn that is not up to par. After a hot summer, it’s natural to have experienced turf stress, including a few brown spots caused by drought or heat stress. But if your eastern Arkansas or western Tennessee lawn is experiencing weak growth, is being overtaken by weeds, dealing with tons of insect infestations and disease, perhaps it’s not weather-related. If your turf is experiencing any of the following symptoms, your soil may be suffering from an imbalance of soil pH levels, and a lime treatment may be just the answer.lawn with weeds

Symptoms of pH Imbalance

  • Weak growth
  • Overgrown with weeds
  • Disease
  • Insect infestation
  • The presence of lawn moss
  • Failure to respond after treatment with fertilizer
  • Washed-out color

Did you check yes for more than one of the above symptoms? Read on to find out what pH imbalance is, how it affects your grass, what you can do about it, and how you can get back to hosting parties and celebrations on your lawn.

The Importance of Your Soil’s pH Level

So what difference does it make what the pH level of your soil is? The pH level of your soil is the measurement of how acidic or alkaline your soil is. It’s important because your grass’s growth and health depend on it. It also provides various clues about your soil’s properties. Unless you have centipede grass, which prefers more alkaline soil, if your soil’s pH level is below 5.5, your lawn won’t grow well. You can add on as much fertilizer as you want, but it won’t make a difference because highly acidic soil can’t absorb the nutrients well.

Soil pH balance is measured on a scale from one to 14, with seven considered neutral. Measurements below seven are considered acidic or “sour,” while any number above seven is alkaline or ”sweet.” Most plants prefer neutral soil with a pH balance between 6.2 and 7.2. Your pH levels can be determined through a simple soil analysis or test.

Soil Analysis

A soil analysis is a detailed report of your soil’s composition. A test will not only immediately tell you what’s in your soil but what is missing as well, including moisture and sun exposure. Soil test kits are inexpensive and can be bought at most home goods and garden stores. Things your report can tell you include:

  • Which nutrients are high
  • Which nutrients are low
  • The pH level
  • The presence of any pollutants or contaminants

The Cause of an Imbalance in Your pH Levelssoil ph testing

Your geographic location naturally determines your lawn’s pH levels. In eastern Tennessee, we mostly have clay soil with pH levels being too acidic. In western Arkansas, most of us have more rocks than soil, and even those of us who have decent soil lack organic matter. Other lawn stressors such as too much rainfall, lack of rain, excessive heat, or cold can also impact your levels. During large amounts of rainfall, nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium are often lacking, causing the soil to lose its acidity.

Using too much or too little fertilizer can also affect the pH levels of your soil. Arkansas and Tennessee are both in a transition zone between warm and cool-season grasses. These two types of grasses have different needs when it comes to fall fertilization. Warm-season grasses such as Bermuda grass, Zoysia, centipede grass, and St. Augustine should receive the last fertilizer application around September. Cool-season grasses such as fescues and ryegrass should receive applications of fertilizer in September and November. Often not knowing the appropriate amounts of fertilizer to use for your type of grass can cause either too much or too little to be used.

Correct Soil Imbalance With a Lime Application

A soil’s acidity can be corrected with a simple lime treatment or by adding basic materials to neutralize the acid. Limestone has a high concentration of natural magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate, which is what is used to neutralize acidic soil. It will ensure that your lawn has an adequate supply of calcium, and it will also ensure your soil has a balanced pH level. How does it do this? Lime naturally breaks down in the soil over time. As it does so, it causes the rise of calcium in the soil particles. During this increase, the acidic components are replaced and changed into neutral elements. These neutral elements will help promote an overall healthier root system and more robust grass.

Lime Application Timing

Here in western Arkansas and eastern Tennessee, we typically apply lime treatments in the fall. If planting new grass seed, limestone should be used two to three months prior to planting to allow time for it to neutralize the acidity. Lime takes several months to dissolve and change a soil’s pH level fully, therefore all of these factors must be taken into consideration.

TLC Turfmaster’s Lawn Care Program Includes a Lime Application To Balance the pH Levels of Your Turf

TLC Turfmaster Lawn Care, LLC offers lime treatments as part of our 7-Step Lawn Care Program. Due to the nature of our soil in our region and the mix of warm and cool-season grasses, we include a lime treatment to neutralize the soil’s pH levels making nutrients more accessible. With our 7-step lawn care program, you never have to worry about acidic soil again. This highly effective program also includes a well-blended fertilizer for the optimal health of your grass, herbicides to help prevent and control weeds, liquid aeration to revitalize your lawn, and a dethatcher to help decompose excessive thatch.

Learn more about our 7-Step Lawn Care Program by visiting our website now. Then contact us online or give us a call at (901) 509-9005. Was the information above helpful? If so, feel free to share it with family and friends. Then check out our other blog articles here. Want more? Check us out on social media. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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