pH

It is difficult to run a fertilizer down the field when the corn is six feet high

I was reading the “Cultural Aspects of Disease Management” chapter in Management of Turfgrass Diseases by Dr. Vargas and came across this gem about soil pH: “Most of the literature tells you that the soil pH should be maintained at the optimum level for turfgrass growth (between 6 and 7).

Why soil pH should usually be kept above 5.5

I almost always recommend keeping the soil pH above 5.5. This minimizes soluble aluminum in the soil, which can be toxic to roots. Get the soil pH above 5.5, and the soluble aluminum won’t be very soluble anymore—it drops almost to 0.

"Percent base saturation seems not to be a particularly useful concept"

I saw a list of proposed topics for an upcoming turfgrass conference, and under the heading of soil fertility was included base saturation. I immediately thought of this paragraph from Murray McBride’s Environmental Chemistry of Soils:

“Available” calcium, soil pH, and fearmongering

I did an experiment in a greenhouse in which I grew creeping bentgrass in four different sands. I collected all the clippings and measured what was in them. And I tested the pH of the sands, and I did soil tests to measure the soil nutrient content.