Now we’re really getting down to earth! Soil testing sounds like something from those dim and distant high school days – hot afternoons in the science lab with test tubes and goggles… anyone else have those fond memories?! Well, even though you mightn’t have carried out too many practical science experiments since you left school, a soil PH test is one you might need to do. And it’s not as hard as it sounds.
What is a soil PH test?
In layman’s terms, it’s simply a test to determine whether you have acid, alkaline or neutral soil. Plants receive their nutrients from the soil, however, if the ground is too acidic or too alkaline, they simply won’t be getting what they need. This makes for sad-looking lawns, stunted bushes and trees and a generally unhealthy garden.
The burning question is, how are you supposed to know when you need to do a soil PH test? What are the tell-tale signs? Is it something that needs to be done routinely? Do you need to hire a professional or can you do it yourself?
Read below to find out when to test:
- New Gardens
Test before you try! Planning a new garden is exciting and challenging! Lawn areas; trees; shrubs and paths – sometimes it’s tricky to get a perfect balance and include everything you want to showcase! However, before you get too involved in your plans, you need to test your soil. You must know what soil type you are dealing with before you begin planting. Plan to group plants that like particular conditions, i.e. put alkaline lovers together rather than mixed in with acid lovers. If you don’t want to muck around with adding extras to your soil, choose plants that are well suited to your soil type.
- Extending existing gardens
Maybe you are wanting to extend an established garden or lawn, but you’ve never had your soil tested. Even though you might have a fair idea just by noting what’s doing well, it’s a good idea just to check it and make sure before you launch into renovations. By adding in the needed nutrients you’ll not only give your new garden the best opportunity to get established, but you’ll give your old garden a new lease of life too!
- Miserable-looking Plants
It’s easy to come up with reasons why your lawn or plants aren’t doing too well – too hot; too cold; too exposed; too dry; too wet… But before you add another dose of fertiliser or put up that shade structure, check the soil! Slow or stunted growth is often a tell-tale sign that the soil is either too acid or too alkaline, and the plants just aren’t getting enough goodness.
Can soil tests be done at home?
Yes! DIY soil PH testing kits are available from most nurseries, hardware stores or turf suppliers and include simple, step-by-step instructions.
Can I adjust my soil?
Yes! By adding supplements to the soil, you can correct your soil type and provide better conditions for your plants to grow. Consult a team of professionals such as Greener Lawns for expert advice on soil supplements.
How often should I test?
There are no hard-and-fast rules, but it’s a good idea to test your soil’s PH every couple of years. If your soil consistently tests well, you may choose test only every 5 years.
The team at Greener Lawns can help you correctly determine the PH of your soil. Call us today on 1800 473 363 and talk to one of our experts.