Soil pH affects the availability of nutrients to plants and lawns. High and low pH levels can hinder the ability of roots to absorb phosphorus and important micronutrients. If you determine whether your soil is acidic or alkaline, you can decide what types of plants to install. For existing lawns and plants, you can determine which types of fertilizers may been needed. Purchase a soil pH meter online or from a garden center. Many have a digital display.
Chose a 6-inch square area and dig out the sod, if present, with a trowel. Dig out an additional 2 inches of soil. Insert the trowel into the ground and dig through an additional 4 to 5 inches of soil. Work the soil until it is loose and crumbling.
Remove any rocks or other debris from the soil in the test area. Using a small container, poor about 2 cups of water over the loose soil to form a muddy consistency.
With the cleaning pad you purchased with the meter, wipe the metal meter probe from the top down to remove any dirt or foreign minerals that may affect the reading. Do not wipe the bullet-shaped tip. Wipe the probe from the top down with a cotton ball or sheet of toilet paper
Grasp the top of the meter and push the probe gently into the soil until it reaches a depth of 4 to 5 inches. Gently twist the probe counterclockwise one turn. Gently twist the probe clockwise clockwise another full turn.
Wait about 60 seconds. Look at the display window on the meter and record the number indicated.