Soil Sampling for Lawns in Virginia
Virginia Green offers soil sampling to all our customers, and this service is included annually in our Estate Lawn Care program. Soil pH is an important chemical property because it affects the availability of nutrients to grass. Nutrients (both macro and micro) supplied to a lawn as part of a maintenance program will be utilized most efficiently and will have the best impact if the pH of the soil is within the proper range. The pH of soil is measured on the pH scale from 0 to 14, with 0 being the most acidic and 14 the most alkaline. The ideal pH range for Tall Fescue grass lawns in our region is 6.4 and higher. It is possible for the soil to be too alkaline, but due to our soil conditions in Virginia, it is extremely unlikely.
How is Soil pH Determined?
To measure soil pH, a soil test is performed. Virginia Green partners with an independent laboratory that handles all our soil testing. Samples are collected by Virginia Green Service Leaders with a soil probe—a hollow, metal, cylindrical tool that pulls a core of soil. Multiple core samples are taken throughout the turf. This process will yield an average pH result when the test is performed. Do-it-yourself soil test kits are available, but the best method is to send a sample to a professional lab.
If the Soil Proves to be Acidic, How is Acidity Reduced?
If a soil test comes back with a pH below 6.4, an application of lime is the best way to raise the pH of soil and therefore reduce acidity. A pelletized granular product is applied. The amount of lime needed to effect change in pH can be determined by a lawn/landscaping professional, such as Virginia Green’s agronomists.
Lime supplied to actively raise pH levels is often referred to as a corrective lime application. Absorption of the lime and the resulting change in pH can take as long as 8 to 12 months. After that time, it is a best agronomic practice to test the soil again to see if more lime is needed. It is worth noting that lime also supplies the micro-nutrients calcium and magnesium.
Determining and correcting soil pH, if necessary, is a process that should always be done to ensure a healthy, green lawn.
Virginia Green has years of experience and expertise creating green, healthy lawns.