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Soil Amendment When Soil Is Too Alkaline and Compacted

Soil Health
3 min read

Hard and compacted soil is often the problem when it comes to growing a great lawn. Learn more from the professionals at Jonathan Green about soil amendment for soil that is too alkaline and compacted.

The Jonathan Green name has represented genetically superior grass seed, innovation, integrity, determination, and a commitment to excellence since 1881. We supply grass seed, soil enhancers, fertilizer, and organic lawn and garden products to homeowners and professional customers, such as sod growers and independent retailers, from coast to coast throughout the United States.

Testing for Soil Alkalinity or Acidity

The pH level of the soil is vital to growing lush, green lawns. On a scale of 1 to 14, a pH of 1 is very acidic, and a pH of 14 is very alkaline (or basic), while a pH reading of 7 is neutral.  Lawns grow best in soil that is slightly acidic to neutral (between 6.2 and a 7.0 on the pH scale), and a balanced pH will increase microbial activity in the soil.

When soil is too alkaline and compacted, air, water, and nutrients cannot get down to the roots, and the grass will not grow properly. In alkaline soils with pH readings of above 7.0 to 9.5, weeds thrive, and the grass becomes light green and spindly.

Use a Pro pH & Moisture Soil Tester to check the pH of your soil.  You can buy one at your local hardware store or garden center or JonathanGreen.com.

Improving Compacted Soil

There are several ways to loosen compacted soil. For more extensive lawns, try a core aerator, a gas-powered machine that removes small plugs of soil from the ground. You can also do it manually with a manual core aerator with a handle, a foot bar, and several hollow tines or spikes. Hold the handle with both hands while you drive it into the soil.

For longer-lasting results, consider adding humate-rich, gypsum-based amendments to the soil.  These amendments will foster earthworm populations to support the natural, biological aeration of the soil. Gypsum-based amendments will help naturally aerate the soil.

Jonathan Green Mag-I-Cal® Plus for Lawns in Alkaline & Hard Soil is a natural, humate-rich, three-in-one “soil food” that will loosen hard soil, stimulate soil microbes, and adjust soil pH. It breaks up compacted soil for better air, water, nutrient, and root penetration. Plan to use it every season to keep your soil biology and chemistry balanced.

If your soil is very compacted, use Jonathan Green Love Your Soil®  to loosen and aerate it organically. Love Your Soil® will also feed soil microbes, make the soil more alive and porous, enhance root development, and provide about 25% more soil-loosening power than MAG-I-CAL® Plus. 

Alkaline and compacted soil can starve your grass of air, nutrients, and water. Visit JonathanGreen.com to learn more about soil amendments or stop by your local independent garden center or hardware store for solutions to the problem.

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