How To Test Soil pH in Your Yard (and Why)

how to test soil ph

Are you planning to spruce up your lawn? Are you wondering which types of plants to grow to boost your property’s curb appeal? Then you need to take your landscaping efforts seriously.

Landscaping is one of the most effective ways of increasing your home’s value. You can beat a similar home’s value from anywhere between 5.5% and 12.7%.

However, you don’t just go for any type of plant you want to see in your garden. You should first test your soil’s pH level to ensure a robust lawn.

The question now is how to test soil pH? Hiring top-notch professional lawn services are great. Understanding soil testing gives you more leverage in caring for your yard.

If you have no idea how to go about soil pH testing, continue reading for a comprehensive guide.

How to Test Soil pH with a Kit

If you have no idea how to test soil pH properly, you can start by investing in a testing kit. Thankfully, you can find these kits on Amazon and other online sources. Ideally, you want to conduct a pH test before you establish your lawn.

If you already have one, you shouldn’t skip the test. A soil test kit usually comes with testing tubes and chemical reaction capsules. You will also need some distilled water and a small amount of soil sample from your lawn.

The purpose of the test kit and soil testing is to measure the nutrients currently in your lawn. This is integral to the success of your lawn care. Different kinds of plants have varying nutritional requirements, which soil tests can determine.

Moreover, it measures the pH value or the level of acidity your soil has. This is essential in determining what type of fertilizer your soil may need. You can also find the needed soil amendments for the soil to remain healthy.

As for the specific types of kits, there are many. The most common is the test tube chemical kit. You will have to add the components mentioned earlier to get color-coded results.

However, you need to prepare your soil solution a full day in advance. Another option is the mail-in kit, where you can send a labeled soil to a laboratory for testing.

Testing Without a Kit: The Way of the Strips

Alternatively, you can perform a soil pH test using soil strips or kitchen supplies. By using any of these options, you also reduce the cost of testing soil.

Let’s take a look at the soil strips or kitchen supplies methods and how you can conduct one.

Through Soil Strips

First, get your hand shovel and dig around four to six inches below your lawn’s surface. This is where you will get your soil sample.

Next, transfer about one to three teaspoons of your soil sample in a clean glass. Make sure to remove all the small stones, sticks, and other debris.  Thereafter, pour distilled water into the glass.

You want to fill the glass with distilled water until it reaches the same level as the sample. From there, stir and swirl the glass. You want to do this vigorously to agitate the soil.

Let the solution rest for about 30 minutes before pouring the sample through a coffee filter. From the filter, you want the soil solution to go into a separate clean glass. After pouring the soil solution, dip the pH test strip into the glass.

From there, you can compare the color of the strip with the chart that comes with the test strip packaging.

Through Your Kitchen Supplies

The second method you can try is through your kitchen supplies. In this method, you need to prepare the same materials except for the coffee filter and pH testing strip. Moreover, you will need some vinegar, baking soda, and a liquid measuring cup.

Begin by digging a soil sample. Like with the soil strip method, you want to dig about four to six inches deep into your yard’s soil. Remove any rocks and debris to break up any clumps and clusters when testing.

Take your clean glass or clear container and transfer the water and soil. You will need about one cup of soil. As for the water, you want to put the right amount to turn the soil into mud.

Next, slowly add half a cup of vinegar into the container and stir lightly. Observe how the vinegar reacts with the mud.

If it bubbles, foams, or fizzles, it means you have alkaline soil. If the mud didn’t foam or bubble, repeat the process using another container. However, instead of vinegar, you want to add ½ cup of baking soda into the mixture.

Stir lightly and see if it foams or bubbles. If it does, it means your soil is acidic.

The Benefits of Testing Soil pH

The importance of getting a normal soil pH reading is to check the value of fertilization. Checking your soil also helps you determine weed control and growth. This will contribute to the growth, aesthetic, and sustainability of your yard.

For starters, you will know the kinds of nutrients your soil offers. You will know if your plants are getting the right amounts of nutrients or not. Generally, most plants flourish if your soil’s pH levels are between 6.0 and 6.5

By determining your soil’s pH levels, you can also manage the effects of soil acidity. You can also avoid over-fertilization of your plants. As a result, you are also reducing the possible environmental effects.

Give Your Yard the Proper Care It Deserves

By learning how to test soil pH, your plants will become healthier, increasing your yard’s appeal. However, learning how to test soil is only one of the key aspects you need to cover. There will be other challenges that you’ll have to overcome to keep your yard in excellent shape.

Thankfully, we have the tools and expertise to help you do so. Connect with us today and request a free quote. Let’s give your yard the proper care and attention it deserves.