Why Soil Health Matters for a Healthy Lawn | TruGreen

Why Soil Health Matters for a Healthy Lawn

By TruGreen February 20, 2024
Homeowner looking at healthy turf

Why Healthy Soil Is Essential for a Healthy Lawn

When you look at your lawn, all you see is what’s above ground: the stems and the blades. Whether your grass is green and lush or wilted and brown, its physical appearance is how you’re able to determine whether your lawn is healthy or needs a bit of TLC. In reality though, it’s not all that matters. Having healthy soil is equally important for maintaining a healthy lawn. In this guide, we’ll explain what you can do to determine the health and quality of your lawn soil. You’ll learn how different types of soil can affect the health of your turf and discover how TruGreen’s® Soil Amendments & Treatments can help ensure your soil has a balanced pH, and is healthy and fertile. We’ll dig deep into all of the details ahead.

The Importance of Soil Health, Explained

Soil is the medium through which grass grows—so if your soil isn’t in ideal condition, it’s unlikely your grass will be, either. Compaction, poor drainage or having highly acidic or alkaline soil can impact your soil’s health — and ultimately, how well your grass is able to absorb the water, nutrients, and air it needs to flourish.

What Are the Main Types of Lawn Soil?

Before you venture to determine how healthy your soil is, it's important to identify its texture. The three main soil textures you’ll see in a garden or lawn are sandy, loamy and clay soil. Each has different qualities and components that can help (or harm) your turf. Keep reading to learn more about each soil type.

Loamy Soil

The best soil for lawns (and ultimately, most plants) is loamy soil. It tends to be dark in color and contains equal amounts of sand and clay. Because of this, it drains well without drying out, which gives it a light, fluffy texture that’s easy to dig in. 

Sandy Soil

Sandy soil is soil that’s rich in sand. It may also contain small pieces of rock and tends to be gritty in texture with a low (acidic) pH. Because the sand particles can’t hold onto water, sandy soil tends to dry out very easily. Drought-tolerant grass species, such as tall fescue, can typically tolerate sandy soil with consistent irrigation. Succulents, cacti and some herbs (notably, rosemary) also thrive in sandy soil. 

Clay Soil 

If your soil is dense, sticky or hard, chances are good it’s high in clay. Clay is great for many things — pottery, for example — but can make maintaining a healthy lawn challenging, since it’s prone to compaction and poor drainage. Unlike sandy soil, clay soil tends to be on the alkaline side.

How to Determine Soil Quality

The best way to determine whether your soil is healthy is via a professional assessment. TruGreen’s experts are trained to detect the issues that could be affecting your soil and recommend the appropriate course of action to restore your soil’s health. However, there are some signs you can keep an eye out for to help determine whether or not your soil needs targeted care.

Signs of Healthy Soil

Some indicators that your soil is in good shape include:

  • Well-balanced drainage
  • Healthy, thriving plants
  • A fluffy, yet not overly-loose texture
  • It’s full of life (literally: earthworms love it)

Signs of Poor Soil Health

The following characteristics may indicate that your soil needs a professional helping hand:

  • It’s too loose or too compacted
  • It holds onto water for too long and stays muddy
  • It dries out quickly
  • Plants seem to struggle to flourish

How to Improve Soil Health

Finding out your soil quality is less-than-ideal can feel like taking a step back towards your lawn goals, but the good news is that there are things you can do to help balance the pH — like adding nutrients to help rejuvenate your lawn. Keep reading to learn about a few practices that can help breathe life back into your tired lawn soil.

Soil Amendments & Treatments

Soil treatments are, we’d argue, the gold standard for improving the quality of the soil. And at TruGreen, we offer several tailored treatments to improve the health of your soil. If your soil is too acidic or too alkaline, we may apply a soil amendment. This treatment involves applying carefully selected materials (like sulfur or lime) to help balance the pH of your soil. This allows your lawn the ability to access the nutrients in the soil it needs to flourish. This treatment also provides nutrients that are needed by lawn grasses for sustainability and growth.

Other soil treatments, meanwhile, don’t balance pH, but they still help improve the overall health of your soil. Potassium helps your lawn better withstand damaging stressors such as heat and drought. Moreover, lawns require potassium to stay healthy, grow and thrive. Your TruGreen professional can determine what your soil needs and develop a targeted plan designed to get your soil back to optimal health (and keep it healthy). 

Lawn Fertilization

If your poor lawn quality is tied to a nutrient deficit, a lawn fertilization service can help. With lawn fertilization, your TruGreen lawn care professional will apply a mix of tailored nutrients to help nourish your soil and promote more robust plant growth. What nutrients are used, and how much, depends on your grass type soil composition and the local climate.

Lawn Aeration

Aeration is a process in which cores (or “plugs”) of soil are removed from your soil, then left on your lawn to break down. This process encourages microbial activity, which helps reduce thatch. Aeration provides many other benefits too, including reducing compaction, improving root growth, improving air & water movement into the soil, and maximizing the overall health of your lawn.

At TruGreen, we follow aeration with overseeding for cool season grasses in our aeration & overseeding service to help fill in bare patches and thin areas in your lawn in order to build a thicker, fuller turf.

TruGreen is Here to Help — Guaranteed⬥

Whether you’re looking to gain a better understanding of your soil health, are interested in learning how to change soil pH or want an expert’s help in making your soil the best it can be, TruGreen can help. Explore and compare our plans and take the first step towards the lawn of your dreams.


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