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The Untold Story of your Lawn by Soil Testing



It was your average Hampton Roads neighborhood, but few knew what lurked beneath in these quiet suburban houses.

Some witnessed the ugliness of how bad soil can destroy a neighborhood. 

Some turned a blind eye to the darkness that grew beneath.  Eventually everyone saw the wrath a bad lawn has on the happiest of friends and neighbors when lawn soil testing is overlooked, it was just too late. 

Lines were drawn, ropes staked down the edge of properties, you either were with them or against them, on one side or the other. 

Team Green Lawn v. Team Dead Grass, tempers and emotions crossed all yards and wedged their way into the community’s homes and lives.

This is a cautionary tale so you don’t suffer the same fate as the people in this story.  Know what lurks beneath your grass and your home, so you will have the courage to do what is right, when lawn envy worms its way into your neighborhood.

Many people in this story didn’t know where to turn when jealousy and blame became a daily occurrence between themselves and their neighbors.  So we are here to tell you how to save your community with a simple lawn soil testing.

Lawn soil testing is very simple.

Lawn soil testing is vital to figuring out if your lawn is missing important nutrients it needs to keep it looking good and healthy.  

You can do your lawn soil testing yourself with some simple ingredients from your local grocery store or you can send yours out to be analyzed.

DIY at Home Lawn Soil Testing


Baking Soda and Vinegar Test

You will need 1-2 cups of white distilled vinegar and one carton of baking soda, small bowls or cups, a spoon, measuring utensils, distilled water, and a garden shovel.


Go out into your lawn or garden and dig up some soil from various places of the area in question.

Make sure to mark each section that you are testing so you can reference where each batch of soil came from in your lawn.

You will want to dig 4 – 6″ into each section and collect 1/2 cup of soil for each.



Put 2 spoonfuls of each section into their own designated cup.  Then add 1/2 cup vinegar to each.

If any of the samples fizz from the vinegar added, then you have alkaline soil with a pH ranging mostly from 7-8 pH.

If your samples don’t fizz, then move to the next step.


Take soil from the remaining unused samples of soil and spoon out a couple of tablespoons into their own designated bowls.  Add some distilled water to each cup of dirt until it is a muddy consistency.

Sprinkle up to 1/2 cup of baking soda on each muddy bowl.  

If any of the samples fizz, then those samples are acidic and will have a pH level between 5-6 pH.


If a sample of any of the soils don’t fizz for either the baking soda or the vinegar, then they are neutral. Meaning they have a pH level of 7.

This is the soil pH level you want for majority of your lawn and garden.
No further testing or altering is needed.


Flowers, Lawn, and Veggie Gardens

Most all flowers, grass, and garden plants thrive off of a slightly acidic soil.  Try to keep your soil at a acidic to neutral pH of between 6.5 to 7.

Neutral pH is a 7.

There are some plants that do thrive better in an alkaline soil garden.

Leave it to the experts and get an official report .

You may not want to do your own testing and that’s ok!

If this is the case, then you can collect samples and send them off to the Virginia Tech Soil Testing Lab, where they will test your soil for a small fee.

VA Tech Soil Testing Lab offers extensive information on your lawn soil testing.

Go to for more information about their soil testing kit or download this PDF form to get started.  Fees and other forms can be found at  

The report you will receive back will have information and suggestions for how to best fix your problem areas of your lawn.  The report can be mailed or emailed back to you after testing.


Quick Tips:

  • To make your lawn or garden more acidic,
    add sulfur to your problem areas.
  • To make your lawn or garden more alkaline,
    add organic materials, like pine needles, peat moss, or composted leaves to your soil.
  • Make small changes over time, so you know what you are doing or not doing is working in the direction you would like to go with your lawn.
  • Finished compost with the best way to fix extreme problems with your soil’s pH level.

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