The Importance of Soil pH in Lawn Health and How to Adjust It

The appearance of your lawn is the best indicator of its health. Any change of color or growth of weed and fungi can indicate a pH imbalance. You can get a soil testing kit for accurate readings if you see any of these changes. Then, you need to implement steps to balance out the soil pH. Soil pH has a significant impact on the lawn health and plant growth. The balanced pH level makes your lawn healthy, lush, and green. It determines the level of fertilizer absorption. Providing general lawn care such as mowing, watering, fertilizing, aerating, and weeding is vital. In addition, balancing soil pH levels gives your lawn the boost it needs to maximize its functionality. 

To make it easier to understand and implement, we have summed the impact of soil pH on Lawn health and how you can adjust it. 

Effects of Imbalanced Soil pH

An imbalanced pH affects the nutrient distribution in the roots. Hence, essential nutrients are unavailable to the grass, plants, and foliage. This hinders growth and disturbs the microbial organisms from decomposing organic matter [1]. 

Grass Thickness & Color 

A visible change you will see when the pH level is imbalanced is the slow growth of grass. Some areas may start getting thinner and sparse. A change of color will also be notable. The grass may turn yellowish or pale green depending upon the scale it is on, acidic or alkaline. 

Nutrient Availability

Soil pH determines the essential nutrients available to the grassroots. In different pH levels, the types of nutrients available vary. Iron, manganese, and aluminum are available in acidic soil, which is less than 7 pH [2]. In alkaline soil with more than 7 pH, phosphorus and potassium are more available. As the pH level imbalance becomes more severe, the soil becomes more acidic or alkaline, and fewer nutrients are available to the roots. 

Weed Growth

Weeds love to attack in unfavorable soil conditions. Different types of weeds grow when the soil is acidic or alkaline. Weeds grown in alkaline conditions are Queen Anne’s Lace, Chicory, Salad Burnet, etc.[2]. Weeds that grow in acidic soil are Dandelions, Buttercup, Moss, Horsetail, etc. [3]. This weed growth impacts the lawn’s health. 

Microbial Activity

Microbial activity is essential to retain healthy soil. Microorganisms in the soil break down the organic matter, perform nutrient cycling, and help the soil improve its quality and structure [4]. Through this, the plants grow healthy and can fight against diseases and pests. With an imbalance in the pH, these microorganisms are affected, which leads to soil respiration and low-quality soil for plant growth. 

The Best Soil pH Level for Lawn Health

You may have studied about pH levels in a chemistry class. It determines the level of acidity or alkalinity in your soil. The pH scale ranges from 1-14. 1-6 (highest -lowest)  is an acidic indicator, and 8-14 (lowest-highest) is an alkalinity indicator. At 7, the scale is neutral. 

The optimal level for the soil pH is between 6.0 and 7.0. Any level above or below this affects the nature of the soil and lowers the nutrient cycling and growth. In this range, the soil and grassroots effectively consume all the nutrients. It is a primary factor when growing grass from turf or grass seed.

Test Your Soil pH Level. 

The easiest and quickest method to know the pH level of your soil is by observing the lawn. If the grass turns yellow, then the soil can be acidic and have a pH level of 6 or lower. If it turns pale green, the soil may be alkaline and have a pH of 8 or above. Apart from this, the plants and weeds growing around it can also indicate what its pH level is. 

Soil testing kits are also available at the garden or nursery shops. A sample is taken from the soil and mixed with water (in the amount mentioned on the test). Insert the pH indicator strip and wait for the recommended time to match the results. The color that comes up matches the color chart provided on the strip. 

Ways to Balance Soil pH Level

Soil pH levels can be balanced by applying the appropriate substances. If the soil is more alkaline, then elemental sulfur or ammonium-based fertilizers or sphagnum peat moss are used.  It is applied to raise the pH level if it is more acidic than lime. Lake also contains potassium and magnesium, which are essential for lawn health. After application of these substances, make sure to water well so that they are evenly distributed and mixed into the soil. 


The soil pH level is fundamental to keeping the lawn healthy. It affects nutrient cycling and the quality of grass growth. You can quickly know any disbalance of pH levels in the soil by observing or tasting it using a soil pH kit. Many treatments and solutions are available for too acidic or alkaline soil. The best soil pH level is between 6.0 to 7.0. You can use reliable lawn care providers that keep your lawn in the best conditions. 


1. How do you adjust the pH level of the soil?

Firstly, test the current pH level of the soil. If it comes out to be too acidic, then apply lime to make it more neutral. If your soil is too alkaline, apply sulfur or ammonium-based fertilizers. You need to keep the pH between 6.0 to 7.0.

2. What are the indicators of a high pH level?

The visible indicators that you will see if the pH is high are yellowish limp grass, there may be bare patches, or they might started occurring. The soil will be more compact, and the fertilizer will not absorb quickly. 

3. Why is the pH level of soil critical?

The pH level of soil determines the rate and quality of grass growth. It impacts the nutrient cycling in the soil and damages the grassroots. 

4. What type of soil is best for the lawn?

Medium loam soil is the best for most lawns as it contains 40 % sand, 40 % silt, and 20 % clay. It holds moisture well and drains quickly. It is the most sought-after soil as it has equal amounts of components and is not compacted; hence, it is easy to work with. 





Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *