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How to Use Soil Amendments to Neutralize pH

By DoMyOwn staff

Learn why, when, and how to apply soil amendments in your lawn after a soil analysis to neutralize your soil's pH.

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Video Transcript

Hey everybody it's Heath from Today we're gonna talk to you about soil pH and how to get the pH into the neutral zone by using either lawn or sulfur. That's also gonna make your lawn healthy and green. And allow the benefits of the fertilizer that you're putting on the lawn to be accessed by the plant.

The first thing you need to do is do a soil sample. Make sure that you're pulling samples throughout the entire lawn. Make sure that you're pulling some from the front, the back, and the side. If you're got two different grass types, it's important to do two different soil analysis, that way you can pull from different areas throughout the lawn to make sure it's appropriate for each grass type. Another important factor when doing a soil analysis is to make sure that you've labeled your turf type when you're doing your soil analysis.

Once you pull that core, it's gonna tell you where the pH is of the lawn. Many different grass types like bermuda, fescue, kentucky blue... they all need to be in the neutral state which is between a 6 and a 7 to really flourish. Depending upon your grass type, you may have like a centipede lawn that needs to be a little more acidic to grow and thrive really well. So your pH is gonna be very important.

And your soil analysis will tell you exactly where you need to be with that pH depending upon your turf type. If your soil pH is under 6, you need to raise your pH by using lime. There's a couple of different types of limestone. Dolomitic being one that would last a little bit longer than a calcium lime. It also is a little bit slower acting, it has magnesium in it so if you're lacking magnesium from your soil analysis, that's a good lime to put down. You'll also probably need to put this down during those dormancy periods because it is gonna take longer for it to get into the soil to actually balance out the pH so you can get it into the neutral zone. If you're looking for quicker results that won't last as long, you can use something like a calcium lime that eithers come in a liquid form or a granular form. The granular forms you normally don't have to put down as much as a dolomitic to get the same pH results that you need.

If your soil is above a 7, it is considered basic or alkaline and you'll need to use sulfur or a soil acidifier or gypsum to lower that pH. Doing that is gonna be more common for the Northern states rather than the Southern states. Southern states tend to have a little more acid into the clay and that kind of thing.

The timing of your soil amendment is gonna be important and based off your turf type. For warm season grasses, usually that dormancy period is a great time to apply your soil amendments if you have lawns that go dormant. If you're in the deep South where lawns don't go dormant, then usually that slow growth period is a good time to do that. With that being said, if you have a cool season lawn that gets a lot of snow, you can also apply it during the summer months when it's not really actively growing very much because of the heat.

So you can put that down - make sure you're not getting lot of snow behind the application or a lot of rain right after the application - we want that soil amendment to work into the soil so it can actually be beneficial for the pH. If your soil pH is really out of whack and you need to apply a bunch of sulfur or a bunch of lime to either raise or lower the pH, you may have to break that up into several different applications over several different months.

With that being said, your grass type is going to determine whether or not you adjust the soil's pH drastically all at one time or if you need to break it up into multiple applications. You'll need to probably do another soil analysis the following year to see if you're right where you need to be and then maintaining from there on out you may need to do it every few years once you've gotten it into that neutral state. It's gonna be much easier for that plant to process the fertilizer that you've put onto it because of it being in that neutral zone.

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