Soil Testing and How It Can Help Your Lawn
So, maybe your lawn isn’t looking its best. Or perhaps you want to keep it looking its best. A good place to start is with a soil test. I feel like when I mention soil testing to my customers, they look at me like I’m crazy and that it will cost them small fortune, but that’s not the case (well…at least not the small fortune). Soil testing is a great way to tell what your soil is lacking so we can amend with the right products, instead of just treating generically like a lot of big box fertilizer companies will do.
So what exactly is soil?
All soils are made up of a combinations of minerals, living and dead organic matter, air, and water. It is what is providing the necessary nutrients to our lawns, plants and trees. Because of this, its components are vital to a healthy lawn and garden. So how do we find out its components? With a soil test!
What a soil test is looking for…
Soil tests can measure a variety of things, importantly pH and nutrients important to plant growth. The pH levels indicate whether your lawn is acidic or alkaline. CT soils tend to run slightly acidic and most plants tends to like a pH somewhere between 6.2 and 7.2. That’s not to say that some of our natives thrive in our acidic soils such as rhododendrons and Mountain Laurel. We also want our NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) numbers, especially for lawns.
How to test you soil
I recommend testing the soil once a year, in the spring. I like to use our local Uconn Extension Center
Go through the website and download the Standard Nutrient Analysis.
This tests all of the necessary nutrients and pH for homeowner applications. It is $14.00 well spent.
Their specific sampling instructions can be found HERE. Be sure to follow the collection instructions and send to the address listed. The results will be mailed back in 2 weeks or so.
What do I do with my soil test results?
Uconn does a great job at recommending modifications to your lawn and garden based on what your soil tests out as and the application the soil is used for. Typically, we add lime to improve acidic soil and a soil conditioner with a sulfer component for alkaline soils. You will typically always add nitrogen to lawns because it is readily lost from soils by rainfall, leaching, and plant comsumption. You will get a recommendation for fertilizer as well. Fertilizer recommendations are based on what is in the soil and the kinds of plants you intend to grow. Follow these guidelines closely because too much of any nutrient can be as harmful as too little, causing nutrient imbalances, even death, to plants.
If you need help interpreting the results or with soil amendment and customized fertilization programs, CONTACT US TODAY!