Making your lawn awesome!
Lawns are extensive ecosystems that have a significant impact around our home. Yet, their size and complexity can be overwhelming, especially if they need work.
Maintaining a lawn can be made relatively simple by focusing on the fundamentals. There are two main components to a lawn: grass and soil. Our goal is to have thousands of grass plants occupy thousands of square feet of soil. Just like our garden plants, grass requires nutrients, water, and sunlight.
Maintaining a pH between 6.5 and 7 is the best thing we can do to maximize the available nutrients for our lawns. In the northeast we have a naturally acidic soil (i.e. a pH less than 7). A pH close to 7 (neutral) frees up nutrients and promotes microbial activity providing incremental soil nutrients.
pH is a measurement of the concentration of Hydrogen ions. By neutralizing an acidic soil we are decreasing the amount of Hydrogen ions in the soil. Excess Hydrogen bonds with soil nutrients to form compounds that grass plants can’t absorb and that the microbials in the soil aren’t able to feed on.
If we fertilize our lawns without first correcting the pH, we could waste anywhere from 20 - 70% of the fertilizer. With a low pH, the Nitrogen and Potassium we fertilize our lawns with will bond with the excess Hydrogen to form compounds the grass plants can’t access.
Test your pH using a soil test kit or pH meter prior to putting down any fertilizer. If your pH is below 6.5, don’t worry, there are solutions that can quickly improve your pH. Agway Fast Acting Lime adjusts the pH as fast as four weeks and Jonathan Green’s Mag-I-Cal improves soil pH in as little as two weeks!