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Maintaining a high quality of yard soil is essential when trying to grow quality, healthy grass and plants. If your soil isn't healthy, it can negatively impact every other aspect of your lawn and garden. But there are some steps you can take in order to test your soil to make sure it's healthy and improve the quality of your soil.
You need to know the pH level of your soil. You want to know the balance of acidity versus alkaline level so you know whether plants will be able to properly absorb the fertilizer you give them. You want to make sure the pH level of your soil is between 6.5 and 7 in order for your grass to grow the best. You can get a pH balance testing kit at most garden shops, and you can administer the test yourself. Otherwise, you can take soil samples from different spots across your yard and your local cooperative extension service can test your soil for you.
If your pH balance is too low, you should add lime to it during the fall months. This will increase the alkaline levels in your soil. If your pH balance is too high, you should use a sulfur-based fertilizer on your lawn. After you make improvements to your yard, it may take several growing seasons of lime or sulphur before your pH levels will even out to where they need to be.
Another soil condition that can cause problems for your vegetation is the compaction of soil. When you soil is too hard and firm, it makes it very difficult for anything to grow in it, because the soil has a difficult time accepting water and air. You can soften the soil to help encourage growth by getting a tiller for your yard and turning over the soil.