How to Balance Your Utah Soil

If your lawn is struggling to grow the way you want it to, it probably needs some soil amendments. Whether you already have an established lawn or are just starting out, your soil can benefit from soil amendments. Start by taking a soil test. Once you receive the results, you can add the necessary nutrients to your soil to make it the most ideal environment for your lawn.

How to test the soil

First, collect small samples of the soil several inches deep from different parts of your yard. Next, mix all the smaller samples together and send about 2 cups of it to a local soil testing lab. USU has a good soil testing service. You should receive the results of the test in the mail within two weeks. Once you receive the results of the test, you can start adding the correct amendments to the soil.

What to do if your soil has too much claysoil dropping from a hand trowel onto a garden

Sometimes people suggest adding sand to clay soils, but this can make the soil more compact. To balance the soil with sand, you would need about the same amount of sand in the soil as clay.

If your soil has too much clay, rather than adding sand to the soil, try adding organic material like compost or manure. These contain nutrients that will help balance, loosen, and aerate the soil. Doing this will combat soil compaction, which is a big problem for clay-heavy soils.

What to do if your soil is too sandy

If your soil is too sandy, it will drain well, but it won’t be able to hold nutrients or water very well. To improve sandy soil, you should add compost or manure. This will help balance the soil, allowing it to retain moisture and nutrients needed to help the grass grow.

What to do if your soil is too acidic

Acidic soil is necessary for some plants, but it is not ideal for grass. Most types of grass do best in soils with a neutral pH, between 6 and 7. If your soil pH measures under 5.5, it will be too acidic for your grass.

To increase your soil pH, you can add limestone (calcitic, dolomitic, etc.). Calcitic limestone is the most widely used, but dolomitic limestone will also add magnesium to the soil, which is beneficial for soils that are also deficient in magnesium.

What to do if your soil is too basic

To lower the pH of your soil, you can add either elemental sulfur or aluminum sulfate to help balance the soil. Elemental sulfur takes about 6 months to change the soil pH. Aluminum sulfate takes about 6 weeks to change the soil pH; however, you have to apply a lot more of it. Be cautious if you choose to use aluminum sulfate because when too much is applied to the soil at once, it can damage existing plants in the soil.

green healthy grass

How to add soil amendments

If possible, you should spread your soil amendment evenly over the soil, mix it well into the first 6 inches of topsoil, then wait the allotted amount of time for the pH to change before planting your flowers or lawn. If you’re simply adding compost or manure to the area, you don’t need to wait for the soil to balance before planting. However, if you’re trying to adjust the pH using lime or elemental sulfur, you should wait the allotted amount of time for the soil to adjust before planting.

If your lawn is already established, you can add compost to the surface of the lawn through a method called top dressing. To top dress a lawn, aerate, evenly spread a thin layer of compost, then water the lawn.


Once you have balanced your soil and established your lawn, check out our lawn spraying program to keep your lawn healthy. Our program includes seasonal fertilizer, weed control, and grub control. Call or text our office at 801-226-2261 for a free service quote and more information today!