We had 3 trees planted 5 yrs. ago. They grew well and now are 8 to 11 ft. tall. However over the past 3 yrs. we experienced some tips that brownout in different locations around the trees, about 7 or 8 such brown spots. We also have every yr. where whole branches slowly start to turn light green and then yellow and over a few months the branch turns brown ,this occurs  in only one spot on the tree and has done this with 2 different trees . a third one has not yet had this problem. Early this spring we had to cut a large branch 2/3 up one of the trees out. Now a smaller branch on another tree has begun to turn light yellow and a few tips have turned brown. Last yr. the Penn St. Ag. Center looked at  snipped branches and got back to us that the tree was under stress.  We are at a loss to understand this problem and do not want to loss the trees. Now they are really growing nice new shoots. We would like your advice on what might be happening.

First things first. When it comes to trees, there are many factors that can contribute to their growth pattern and overall health. These factors are somewhat complicated and many times can take years to have an impact – especially since most trees grow slowly. That being said, there are some common reasons why many run into problems and the good news is that these corrective measures can be done by most any homeowner.

At this time, the most important thing to consider would be the condition of the soil under these trees. Spruce trees tend to make the soil underneath them acidic. When the soil PH drops below 6.5, undue stress will be felt by most any tree including spruce. For starters, I suggest you get a good PH reading to see where the soil is being measured where these trees are located. If you don’t have a good SOIL PH METER, get one. Take readings every 5 feet. If you find it to be below 6.5, get some LIQUID LIME and bring it back up to an acceptable level. This can be accomplished in a week or two. More information about the importance of ph can be read in our SOIL PH CONTROL article.

Get back to us once you know the soil PH and are confident it’s where it should be. This alone could be reason for all other problems; once we know the PH is Ok we’ll further advise.

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I just received a PH METER from you and tested my soil. It’s measuring way low, under 6.0 in some areas, so I know I have to add lime. Problem is it’s almost summer now and I don’t know if I can do this now since I’v always added lime in the winter. What do you suggest?

An improper PH should be adjusted anytime it’s found as explained in our SOIL PH CONTROL article. Since you are in your prime growing season, we recommend you use LIQUID LIME now to get fast results compared to granules. Applied as explained in our article, you should be able to get your PH back up to 7.0 in no time and be fine for the rest of the summer.

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I’ve had a healthy green lawn for many years but now it’s not right. I have fertilized like always but for some reason, the grass isn’t growing. We’ve had plenty of rain but I don’t think there is any fungus. One of my neighbors asked if I have checked my PH and I don’t think that has ever been considered. Before I do anything I figured it would be best to find out if this is something I need to learn about. What can you tell me about the soil PH?

There is a lot we can tell you about soil ph but it would be best if you take a little time to read our SOIL PH article which summarizes most everything you need to know. The bottom line is you need to check this measurement at least twice a year and adjust it as needed. Before we recommend anything else, it’s vital you get your lawn measured with a SOIL METER to see if it’s Ok. From there we’ll be able to further advise.

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I had a bad problem with a low ph this spring and want to monitor this level myself. Do you have a ph meter that I can get which does this or do they even make one?

We have a LAWN PH METER that’s both easy to use and inexpensive. It’s very handy and a “must have” for anyone that’s serious about keeping their grass green and healthy. And if you run into another ph problem at any time, be sure to refer to our on line article about SOIL PH ADJUSTMENTS which explains most everything you’ll need to know about how to get your soil in good shape to help it grown great grass.

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My ph is too high and I’ve been having a problem with this over the years. I’m not sure why but the last time I had to drop it I had a landscaper do the treatment. I want to do this myself this time. What options do I have?

Soil PH balance is critical if you wish to grow grass, plants and other vegetation. Though most people have problems with it dropping, there are times when it can get too high. The first step you need to take when wanting to maintain your soils PH is to invest in a good Soil PH Test Meter. This will enable you to track trends and make adjustments throughout the year as explained in our Soil PH Control article.

Once you have a good understanding of where your soil is measuring and are ready to treat, apply the Sulfur Granules as explained in our article. They’ll drop the PH and can be applied as needed.

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I need to adjust the soil ph for my lawn. It was just tested and was measured at under 6.0. I know that’s too acidic so I want to bring it up with some lime but I’m wondering how much I need to use?

As explained in our Soil PH Adjustment article, you can raise the local PH with some Liquid Lime. Each gallon of concentrate can effectively raise the PH .5-1.0 per 17,500 sq/ft. Test weekly following the application and if it’s not high enough in one month, apply some more. In most cases, the impact from the application can be seen in 2-3 weeks but wait a month just to be sure. Use a lot of water to apply the Lime. The more water used the faster the impact the treatment will have.

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I want to start testing the ph level for the soil in my lawn. I’ve had a hard time keeping it stable which has lead to all kinds of turf problems over the years. I hope that by watching it more closely I can stop the fungus and weed problems before they get out of hand. Do you have a good soil testing meter we can use?

Testing the PH level of your soil is paramount if you wish to keep it in “good shape”. Maintaining a proper balance will allow you to get the desired look as well as hold off fungus and insects from preying on the turfs weakened condition an improper PH promotes. Our Soil PH Meter is both easy to read and use and I suggest you take measurements at least once a quarter if you’re grass has a had a history of PH flucuations. Stable yards should be monitored at least once every 6 months and adjusted annually if needed; soil which is under pressure from the local environment as explained in our Soil Ph Article may need to be adjusted throughout the growing season.

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I’m looking for an inexpensive soil ph meter so I can test the ph in the soil around my house. Can you help?

We have a great portable Soil Ph Meter that is fast, accurate and easy to use. It also measures “available light” as well as the soil moisture level. This tool is vital if you wish to monitor the Ph level of the turf around the house and when maintained right, will enable you to grow grass, plants and most anything. We have more information about ph maintenance on line in our Soil Ph Article.

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My soil ph is 5.5 when I measure it with my ph meter. The problem is we’re into spring and I need to get it back up over 6.5 as soon as possible since the temperatures are getting quite warm. I know lime pellets take a month or so to work their way into the ground. Any ideas on what I can use to get it back up faster?

As our on line article about Soil PH explains, it does take some time to get the local PH to shift any measureable degree. And lime pellets do take quite a while since they first must be washed in. For faster results, apply some Liquid Lime where needed. Since it’s applied with water, the impact of the treatment is immediate. Measure the PH weekly following your application and apply some more 3-4 weeks if needed.

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I’m having my lawn soil ph measured and expect it will be a bit low. How frequently should I worry about measuring this level?

We recommend taking a good measurement at least once a quarter as explained in our Soil Ph Article. Record your measurements so you can track any trends. In most cases, you should be able to notice the PH moves over the course of 6-24 months for the average lawn. Once you know what to expect from your turf, you can then plan for when you’ll need to make some seasonal applications to help keep it where it needs to be. Since measuring the PH will be ongoing, get yourself a good PH Probe. Record your findings in a log somewhere so you can see if you’re soil is subject to any great flucuations.

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