Soil – the heart of your lawn.

 “Starting from the ground up” – that’s what your soil is, the true foundation of a great lawn. 

 Soil –  naturally occurring body, having limits of depth and surface area, formed through the action of climate and vegetation, resulting in the formulation of a natural habitat for plants.

  • Soil is the end product of thousands of years of geological degradation.
  • Soil is composed of mineral and organic material: these materials contain the water and nutrients that are required to support turfgrass life.

The welfare of your lawn depends upon water and nutrients, travelling through the soil, at the right pace to feed the roots. An ideal soil comprises solid particles (about 50%) air (about 25%) ad water (about 25%). Its mineral composition will be a combination of clay, sand and silt – and its texture will depend upon the proportions of each. Sand particles are widely spaced, allowing water and nutrients to drain swiftly. Clay is the opposite. Loam – a mixture of sand and clay – is the ideal soil, for grass.

Physical Soil Properties

  • Texture – defined as the relative proportion of the primary particles, sand, silt and clay in the soil after organic matter has been removed. They are grouped into three categories:

Loamy Soil:  consists of equal portions of sand, silt and clay; these soils are most desirable for home lawns because of the excellent water retention ability.

Clay Soil: these soils are very fine and compact very easily;  have very little water holding ability under normal conditions, but have very great holding ability under high temperatures; clay soils resist infiltration of water and promote water run-off.

Sandy Soil:  these soils are very fine having extremely poor aggregation; sandy soil allows rapid water infiltration and leaching of nutrients; these features are proven to be undesirable in the majority of home lawns

  • Structure – defined as the arrangement of the primary particles, sand, silt and clay, in semi-permanent groups of particles called aggregates. Aggregate stability is of great importance to the soil structure. The primary factor is the resistance of aggregates to disintegration under the action of destructive forces such as rain, wind, and equipment traffic.
  • Organic Matter – decomposing plant material, animal waste, microbial organisms which aid in the degradation cycle comprising 2-6% of the weight of mineral soil, it influences the physical and chemical properties.
  • Soil Density – is expressed as the ratio of the solid phase mass to the volume of the solid phase of the soil.
  • Soil Porosity – the porosity of a soil is that portion of the soil volume which is not occupied by mineral or organic material;  soil properties are directly related to the pore size of the soil; pores may be termed macro or micro.

 Soil pH

  • Soils are sometimes referred to as “sour” or acidic, neutral or alkaline.
  • The degree of acidity and alkalinity is measured using the pH scale.
  • The pH of a soil is measured in units which run on a scale from 0-14.
  • A neutral pH is 7. 
  • Alkaline soils have a high pH of 9 or 10.
  • Acidic soils have a low pH of 4-5.5
  • Most turfgrasses grow best within a pH between 6 and 7.5
  • Low pH is corrected by applying the alkaline material, lime, which increases the pH.
  • Correct pH is critical to plant growth.
  • The pH influences plant nutrient uptake, fertiliser efficiency and desirable soil microbial activity.
  • Lawns suffering pH problems tend to be thin, weak and often support moss growth
  • Moss growth is due mostly to the lack of competition strength from healthy turfgrass.
  • Soil pH can be tested with a soil pH meter.
  • If the meter indicates a pH problem, soil samples should be sent to a soils lab for verification of the pH level
  • Soil testing labs will return a soil pH level for recommended corrective materials and rates (contact your local Weed Man team for more information).
  • Soil pH affects availability of nutrients, readily available nutrients – pH level.

Liming

Lime shortage is very rarely a problem in the lawn. The only time you should consider liming is when there are unmistakable signs of lime efficiency. The grass will be thin and sparse, and the turf will be overrun by woodrush, sheep’s sorrel and moss. An acidity test should be carried out – the pH will be below 5.5. If all of these signs are present apply limestone in autumn or winter – do not use ordinary garden lime. If the signs are not present – don’t lime. As a general rule it is to increase and not decrease acidity. This is done by using lawn sand and incorporating peat in the autumn top dressing.

Root Zone and Top Dressing

Is the foundation of all plant health and plays an important role in how nutrients are available to the turf. It is recommended that you need at least 12 inches of root zone for a healthy lawn. However, in most cases, when new homes are built, they have all the good organic root zone scraped away and sold. They then come back and put 2-3 inches of top root zone down over hard compacted root zone and lay the sod. This makes it difficult for new home lawns to develop good rooting systems, and they become thin and weed infested in a very short period. Weed Man can help by offering services like fertilisation and aeration. Fertilisers help keep the lawn healthy, which helps develop a thicker lawn, and as the grass plants decay they add valuable organic matter back into the root zone. Aeration helps in breaking up the hard compacted root zone, allowing nutrients to get to the roots, as well as air and water. All the products that Weed Man uses on the lawn are biodegradable; they all break down into carbon, hydrogen and trace amounts of chlorine. Sometimes, lawns require top dressing in order to help put (insert space) more organic matter into the root zone. Often, just regular applications and aeration will help over time. Top dressing is done to help right away, and is best done after aeration, as the top dressing will fill the aeration cores. (text removed) Weed Man uses best quality products from reliable source, free from any weed seeds. Special application techniques ensure that the top dressing is applied evenly and at the required rate.

Lawn Dressing Benefits:

  • Contains high organic content
  • Decreases thatch]
  • Helps from soil aggregates
  • Increases the effectiveness of fertilizers
  • Provides slow release of macro nutrients
  • Longer periods between watering is possible
  • Improved drought tolerance
  • Improves soil structure
  • Increase soil health and natural condition
  • Increases drainage in dense soils
  • Increases soil aeration
  • Reduces erosion and leaching
  • Reduces soil compaction
  • Helps suppress plant diseases and soil pests

What is your soil type – and can it be improved?

Contact  your local Weed Man.

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