If we’re talking about the keys to a healthy lawn, lawn soil is where the conversation begins. The same roots that anchor grass to the ground also absorb nutrients and water from the soil so they can thrive. So by keeping your lawn soil in good condition, you’ll establish the foundation for growing a thicker, greener lawn.
Before you take action to boost the health of your lawn soil, it’s important to understand some of its underlying elements. That’s why we wanted to share this round up of lawn soil facts — some of which may surprise you.
Fact #1: Soil With More Organic Matter Is More Biologically Active
By nature, soil is a biologically active and diverse material. In just a single teaspoon of soil, you’re likely to find more microbes than people on earth — a list that includes nematodes, earthworms and arthropods. Yet to survive in soil, these beneficial microbes need to have access to and feed on decaying plant and animal residues, otherwise known as organic matter.
When these microbes find the food they need, lawn soil becomes more diverse. This helps suppress the rise of diseases and pests that can harm the health of lawns. The activity of these microorganisms also creates more pore space, which boosts infiltration and minimizes runoff.
Fact #2: A Soil pH Level Impacts If Nutrients Are Available
While nutrients may be present in lawn soil, that doesn’t mean they are always available to plants. What dictates this is the soil pH level, a measurement of soil acidity and alkalinity. If the soil pH is too high or low, plants are likely to miss out on some nutrients and potentially get too much of others. For instance, the presence of weeds and moss in your yard can be an indicator of soil that is too acidic.
In terms of metrics, a soil pH level of 7 is neutral. Lower than that means more acidic, while higher means more alkaline. Generally speaking, a pH level between 6 and 7 is suitable for most plant types. Performing a soil test will help you assess your soil pH level, as well as its nutritional status, and pinpoint any deficiencies.
Fact #3: Hard Soil Prevents Nutrients from Penetrating Roots
While harder soil may seem stronger, it can actually be a sign of weakness. If your lawn soil is difficult to pierce with a shovel, chances are that its compacted. Created by pressure from constant foot traffic or even heavy watering, soil compaction reduces the amount of pore space in soil and thus hinders the infiltration of air, water and other nutrients to plant roots.
When soil is compacted, aeration can provide relief. This technique involves pulling out plugs of soil to create small holes that enable air, water and nutrients to penetrate soil. The result is a healthier, more vibrant lawn.
Looking for help with your lawn care? Weed Pro is a local lawn care provider with years of experience and a passion for keeping properties in their best shape. Connect with your local provider today for details.