Can you grow a lush green lawn with minimal effort and intelligent work? For this, you require soil testing and fertilization that helps in achieving your dream lawn look. Your lawn care depends upon the soil quality and the nutrients it needs. If you have cracked the code to that, then with just a little care, you will see your lawn growing thick plush strands of grass soon. So soil testing will be your starting point when you embark on getting a green turf lawn. Or if you get your lawn professionally maintained, you can add soil testing in the lawn care services to see effective results.
Soil tests are not just for the initial part of lawn care but must be added regularly to the maintenance plan of your garden. This way, you can manage fertilizer applications and a well-nourished lawn. Too much or too little fertilizer harms your lawn and the environment. Here is how you can plan and manage fertilization and soil testing to achieve optimal lawn health.
What is soil testing?
This is a way to determine and analyze the amount of nutrients in your soil. Soil testing is a chemical procedure that examines different parameters in the soil, such as the levels of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese, and zinc in your soil, as well as the pH. The report results tell you about the type of fertilizer to use and any lime applications required. Here are some indicators that your soil test will contain;
- Fertilizer analysis for your lawn (percentage of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash)
- Fertilizer application quantity and method
- Application time during each season
- PH range in the soil and quantity of lime application needed to adjust it
Benefits of soil testing
Soil is the source of growth in your lawn; if it is rich in nutrients, it will have solid and healthy turf grass and beautiful plants. Most of the time, your soil contains only some of the 16 nutrients  required to support healthy growth. Therefore, adding fertilizer and lime applications to fulfill the soil requirements becomes necessary. A soil test indicates the fertilizer which will cater to the lack of nutrients in the soil. The benefits of this are numerous.
- How to make use of the already existing nutrients in the soil
- Meeting the soil nutrient requirements
- Reducing the number of fertilizer applications
- Balancing the pH levels of the soil for optimal growth
- The environment is friendly as it stops nutrients from entering water sources.
When to take a soil sample?
Soil samples must be taken when grass and plants are not growing on the lawn. This means it can be taken early fall or before spring . You will get better and more accurate results when the soil sample is taken before fertilizer is applied. Taking a sample after lime, fertilizer, or manure application is not recommended, as the soil will be excessively wet and mixed with nutrients and chemicals. You can get your soil tested every 2 to 3 years.
How to take a soil sample from your green turf lawn?
A soil sample should be representative of the whole lawn. The lawn has different types of soil spread around the lawn area. Taking the right kind of soil sample is necessary to give a target the chemical characteristics of the lawn. Here is a simple method of taking a soil sample.
- Scrape away any dirt or debris from the soil before taking a sample
- Start digging several holes 6 to 8 inches deep in different areas
- Use a soil probe or spade to slice off some soil from all the holes
- Take a clean bucket to add and mix the slices of soil from different areas
- The samples from 10 to 15 areas are taken and mixed in the bucket
- In a simple bad, add a pint of the mixed soil.
- Seal the sample terribly and send it to the lab to be tested.
Depending upon the spread of terrain you have, you may require more sampling kits to cater to the specific needs of the areas. With a soil sample and recommendation, you can treat your soil with fertilizer for a green turf lawn. But if your soil needs restoration and lawn care services, you need to properly aerate & water it, take care of weeds and thoroughly care. Consistent soil sampling helps you in getting rid of your soil deficiencies. It also keeps track of your soil’s health progress.
You can also perform soil testing yourself. For this, you require a soil sampling kit. Doing it yourself sample kit will reduce the cost of soil testing. Although it will not offer extensive chemical analysis and information, it will give you a pH test and basic nutrient information. The process of using it is also simple. You will add the solution with the kit to the soil and mix it. Then according to the color it turns to, you can match it to the color chart to get the pH indication.
Interpreting soil testing results
Like any other lab tests, soil tests also require comparing normal ranges to the ranges of your soil result. These results are compared to normal pH ranges, soluble salts, and nutrient levels. The normal ranges that come with the results are specific to the lab and their testing methods. The best interpretations are those which take into account the environment, fertilizer, and any problems in the soil. The results give a detailed account of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese, and zinc levels in your soil. At the same time, it gives fertilizer and lime application recommendations.
What are the methods involved in soil sampling?
Soil sampling is essential if you want to check the fertility status of your soils. It gives you a comprehensive account of the nutrient composition of your soil. It is based on four methods to determine the soil fertility status. These are sampling, analysis, interpretation, and recommendation.
What indicators does soil sampling show regarding soil fertility?
A soil sample goes through chemical testing to give an analysis of various indicators showing the soil’s health. These indicators are pH, salinity, organic matter, phosphorus concentrations, nutrient cycling, cation-exchange capacity, and concentrations of elements that are potential contaminants (heavy metals, radioactive compounds, etc.)
What are optimal soil conditions checked in lawn care services?
The pH levels of the soil are essential in determining the optimal soil conditions. The optimal pH level in the soil is from 6 to 7.5. Plant growth is best in a narrow range of soil pH levels.
What are other physical indicators in soil health determination?
Apart from the chemical indicators such as pH levels, salinity, organic matter, phosphorus concentrations, and others, physical indicators can guide you about soil health. Bulk density, aggregate soil stability, and water-holding capacity indicate soil fertility and health.