Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:53 pm
In order for the lawn and other plants to thrive in soil, a certain pH value must be present. The pH indicates whether the garden soil has a more acidic or alkaline environment.
If the pH is too high, the growth of some plants and the lawn is impaired. If so, you will need to make adjustments to bring the soil pH back into the desired range.
Are the pH levels of the soil in your garden too high? Then learn how to use simple methods to lower the pH to create optimal growing conditions. Your lawn will grow more densely and weeds will have little chance of crowding it out.
- 1 Why should you lower the pH in the soil?
- 2 How can you check the soil pH?
- 3 Test strips
- 4 Laboratory
- 5 7 methods to lower soil pH quickly?
- 6 Leaf foliage
- 7 Coffee grounds
- 8 Spreading rainwater
- 9 Grape marc
- 10 Needle soil
- 11 Iron sulfate
- 12 Sand lawn
- 13 Why is peat not an alternative?
- 14 The acid soil in the garden
- 15 Author
Why should you lower the pH in the soil?
The pH value indicates how high the acid content in the soil is. It can assume a value of 0 to 14. The lower the value, the higher the proportion of acids. We speak of a neutral garden soil when the pH value is in a range of about 7. Anything below that is considered acidic and above that alkaline.
Plants prefer a certain pH range. If the garden soil does not meet these requirements and is too calcareous, nutrient absorption is limited. As a result, growth is inhibited and, in the worst case, the plant dies.
For most lawn varieties, a soil pH of about 6 is recommended. Thus, a slightly acidic soil must be present for the lawn to appear a lush green.
Some plants prefer an even more acidic garden soil. This is the case with bog plants, for example. These only really feel comfortable in a soil when the pH is between 4 and 5.5. Such bog properties are obtained only when there is hardly any lime in the garden soil, which neutralizes the acidic soil.
Among the plants, which feel comfortable in such soil are:
- Laurel rose
Many berry bushes also require acidic soil to grow in. If the conditions are unfavorable, you will hardly be able to successfully raise blueberries or cranberries in your garden, for example.
If the soil in your garden is highly calcareous and the pH levels are consequently above 7, you should lower this value. Otherwise, plants will have difficulty absorbing the nutrients from the garden soil.
How can you check the soil pH?
You, as a gardener, cannot directly tell from the soil what the pH level is. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a trained chemist to determine soil acidity. Meanwhile, you can perform a soil analysis on your own with simple tools.
The simplest method is to buy special test strips. You can buy these at a garden center, a hardware store or a pharmacy.
Now take soil samples from different places in the garden. Mix these soil samples and put distilled water in a glass. Mix the garden soil and the water well and let it stand for a short time. Now hold the test strip in the liquid and simply read the pH.
Usually this is done using a color scale that can be seen on the test strip. A red color indicates an acidic soil, while blue indicates a high lime content.
Perform the test in different places to get a good overview of your soil. Over the years, the pH value in the soil changes. Therefore, it is advisable to check this value annually in the spring to monitor conditions.
If you would like to get other information besides pH, you can also send soil samples to a lab. They will first send you a test kit describing exactly how to take the soil sample. Then you send the test kit to the lab, where the exact composition can be checked in addition to the acidity and base content.
This will give you a good overview of the nutrients present and what fertilization is necessary. In the meantime, such soil analyses are also affordable for private persons. Depending on the laboratory, such an analysis costs about 50 euros. To get an accurate insight into the soil and to promote the health of the plants such an analysis is recommended.
7 methods to lower soil pH quickly?
You have now found out that the pH of the soil is too high. Use the following methods to lower it so that the soil becomes acidic and is in an ideal range for plants.
When the leaves fall in autumn and your soil is too acidic, it is a good idea to just leave the leaves. It is best if you have an oak tree in your garden and spread the leaves evenly over the area. The acid from the leaves will transfer into the soil, so it will have a lower pH for the spring.
A proven home remedy is coffee grounds. This consists of organic binder and is slightly acidic.
However, in order for coffee grounds to be effective, a large amount is required. Therefore, it is advisable to mix it with leaves or other organic means.
Rainwater also provides a slight lowering effect. This usually has a pH value between 5 and 6. Collect it in a rain barrel or cistern and apply it to the lawn.
The work is made easier if you use a rain barrel pump or a cistern pump for this purpose. Connected to retractable lawn sprinklers, you set up automatic irrigation, which not only provides better garden soil, but also makes your work easier.
Do you live in a wine region? Then you can ask a winemaker friend if they have any grape marc left for you. This is a waste product from wine production. The pomace consists largely of grape acid and fermentation substances. This makes it easy to lower the pH value using natural and simple methods.
You can use needle soil as another organic waste product. If you have a coniferous tree in your garden, the soil around its area is ideal for creating acidic soil.
Use a rake to sweep the soil together at the surface. Lift it under the garden soil and with this simple immediate measure, you can provide acidic soil, at least superficially.
Not only against moss in the lawn, but also against alkaline soils, the application of ferrous sulfate is a good choice. It is a viable alternative to peat and convinces with a quick effect.
However, some caution is required when handling it. Ferrous sulfate quickly leaves rust stains on clothing and surfaces in the garden. If you are careful, the pH value can be lowered within two weeks.
If the soil is not only too alkaline, but also compacted, it is advisable to apply a special lawn sand. It penetrates into the soil and loosens it. This makes the garden soil more receptive and at the same time it absorbs the acid.
However, the effects are not felt immediately. It is a long-term measure to improve the properties of the soil. When buying you need to choose a lawn sand, which itself is slightly acidic.
Why is peat not an alternative?
As another natural method to make the soil acidic, the application of peat is suitable. Peat is a natural product that occurs in bogs.
However, the supply of peat is very limited. Since it is often used in potting soil as well, the strong demand has led to an impairment of the natural balance. Plants and animals are losing habitat due to the lack of peat, and peatlands are increasingly declining.
For environmental reasons, in order not to further the decline of peatlands, you should use other methods to lower the pH.
The acid soil in the garden
Contrary to one’s intuition, most plants prefer a slightly acidic soil in the garden. By lowering the pH, plants absorb nutrients better and have greater hardiness. Fertilizing with appropriate additives can also help the plant grow and become stronger. Weeds have less opportunity to spread and your soil provides optimal growing conditions.
Help your lawn appear dense and lush green with the methods presented here.