Unless your a farmer or a doctor you probably have no idea what PH is or why its important in life. The technical term is Potential of Hydrogen or Hydrogen Ions in the soil. PH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity of a solution. For our purposes it is measured in soil. It can also be measured in the human body as our general chemistry make up is basically the same as soil.
If we look at a PH scale it goes from 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. But there seems to be a happy place right between 6.5 and 7 where the nutrients on the scale tend to be the most available to be used by plants and our bodies.
Lawns tend to be happy around a PH of 6.5 whereas your body prefers to be around 7.4.
Landscape plants tend to vary a bit in their range of PH.Before planting you might want to consult a good book or online source for the specific PH that plant prefers.
I can’t stress enough the importance of getting a soil test done on a regular basis and using corrective measures such as Lime to raise the PH or Sulfur to lower the PH.
I will go into greater detail on soil amendments in another post. Of course organic matter also helps to balance out PH by a slight amount.
Many lawn care companies arbitrarily do Lime applications to boost their sales quotas which usually does more harm than good.
A couple more things to think about when looking at your soil test are percentage of organic matter, Base saturation of Calcium and Magnesium and Cation Exchange Capacity.
All of these will be discussed in future articles.