Understanding pH Problems: How to Treat Imbalances in Your Soil

Think there's something strange happening beneath the surface of your Ottawa lawn? Well, it could be that your soil is chemically imbalanced. If your lawn is looking a little ragged this spring, don't just turn your Ottawa sprinkler system on and hope for the best. Contact the soil specialists at Nutri-Lawn Ottawa and request a pH test. One quick test could save you hours of hassle later this summer.

What is pH?
Potential hydrogen, better known as pH, is a measure of a soil's acidity and alkalinity.  It is measured on a scale from 1 to 14, with 7 being a neutral measurement. It's important to note that this measurement is actually based on a logarithmic scale. This means that for each measurement level, the factor is increased 10 fold (i.e. the difference between a pH of 6 and 7 is 10 times the acidity; the difference between a reading of 5 and 7 is 100 times the acidity).  Soils that feature a pH reading of less than 7 are considered to be acidic, while soils with a reading of 8 or more are recognized as being alkaline.

What Should the pH Level of My Soil Be?
Well, that depends. Different soil types have different pH levels. If you're having trouble getting grass to grow in your Ottawa lawn, it could be because the grass seed isn't compatible with the pH levels of your soil.  A Nutri-Lawn rep can help by recommending the proper grass type for the unique pH readings of your soil.

Why Does Soil pH Matter?
The pH levels of your soil are extremely important when it comes to thinking about your lawn care regime and Ottawa lawn sprinkler systems. Even though only hydrogen ions are measured during a pH test, this number can be indicative of a number of different nutrient deficiencies.

How to Handle Acidic Soil
Acidic soils (those with a pH of 6 or less) tend to have deficiencies in:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Molybdenum

If your soil turns out to be extremely acidic (a pH of less than 4), it may contain toxic amounts of manganese. Ask your Nutri-Lawn representative for more information on treatment options as soon as possible.
You can decrease the acidity of your soil by incorporating the following minerals into your Ottawa lawn care regime:

  • Agricultural lime (also known as calcium carbonate)
  • Dolomite (a mixture of magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate)

A Word of Warning
Contact a Nutri-Lawn technician before you add dolomite to your Ottawa lawn. Dolomite should only be used if your lawn tests for low levels of magnesium. If the magnesium level in your lawn is stable, adding more to it in the form of dolomite could cause extensive amounts of damage.

Dealing with Soil Alkalinity
Soils that have high alkaline levels (those with a pH of more than 7) may be lacking in:

  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Boron

It is relatively easy to decrease the levels of alkaline in your soil. In most cases, all you need to do is apply sulphates of iron and ammonium. For an environmentally friendly treatment, try Nutri-Lawn Kelp Biostimulant treatments along with your Ottawa sprinkler system. This will help infuse your lawn with the necessary nutrients.
Don't let a chemical imbalance throw your lawn out of sync. Contact Nutri-Lawn Ottawa for expert lawn care and irrigation advice.