pH Adjustment made simple!
Altering the pH of your soil
In a previous article we loosely discussed the impact of the pH of your soil and how easily it can affect the nutrient uptake of your lawn. So, it’s got the better of you, and you have either brought a litmus test or an electronic meter, either one is fine. And accurate enough, you want plan to correct your soil to roughly the middle of the acceptable range approximately 6.0-6.5, this will ensure you get uptake from most of your nutrients. Its not just the nutrients affected by the pH it’s also the microorganisms which alter the nutrients like nitrogen in to available forms for the plant that need the correct pH too.
You have a reading on the high side? which is also quite common in the west. What now? Alkaline soils have a pH above 6.5. Careful selection of fertilisers with more of a sulphate base or higher sulphate analysis will create an acidic reaction in the soil and aid in lowering or at least maintain your pH. In situations where more aggressive adjustments are needed higher concentrations of sulphur is required, with dedicated applications of Ammonium Sulphate or other stronger sulphate compounds which when applied to soil convert to sulphuric acid, the finer the sulphur particles the more effective. You do need to be mindful of overdoing the sulphur as the soil can develop “Black Layer” if you find you are getting a black “scummy sometimes smelly” layer on your soil in bare areas stop with the sulphur and contact us and we will advise you of a dedicated product to suit your situation. Organic material spread or even turned into the soil prior to laying will also be of benefit in the long term, as it continues to beak down it will slowly lower and maintain a healthier pH and behaving like a buffer.
Then if you’re on the lower side? Which is normally the expectation with well fertilised lawns, the opposite. Again, you need to make careful considerations of the fertilisers you are choosing and move away from the higher Sulphate based compounds and look more at the chelates and complex compounds (often a little more expensive). For correction, to raise the pH in to the 6-6.5 range, application of lime is the easiest way of raising the pH, Lime is the most effective way to accomplish this. Its cheap, quite fast, it also improves soil structure with calcium.
Lime can be turned over into the soil before laying, its can be finely spread over the lawn area and then thoroughly watered in as you can burn your lawn quite easily if left on the surface. Adjustment of clay-based soils are quite slow, whereas the sandy based soils can be quite reactive. There are dedicated products we can help you with, which have superior dispersion and ease of even application, contact us for more information.
With application of any correction, any improvement is better than no improvement, so slow and steady, with smaller amounts is always safer because your shifting a balance. It’s important to avoid over correction.