Measure Soil Fertility
The soil test is an excellent measure of soil fertility. It is a very inexpensive way of maintaining good plant health and lawn quality. The standard soil test provides the status of phosphorous (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), pH, caution exchange capacity, lime requirement index, and base saturation. Additional tests are also available for iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), soluble salts, and nitrates. The amount of fertilizers, timing of fertilization, and amount of soil pH modifying agents, such as lime, will be given to make sure your lawn is in top health and growing condition.
Soil fertility fluctuates throughout the growing season each year. The quantity and availability of mineral nutrients are altered by the addition of fertilizers, manure, compost, mulch, and lime or sulfur, in addition to leaching. The soil test will determine the current fertility status. It also provides the necessary information needed to maintain the optimum fertility year after year.
Most turf grasses, flowers, ornamental shrubs, vegetables, and fruits grow best in slightly acid soils which represent a pH of 6.1 to 6.9. Plants such as rhododendron, azalea, mountain laurel, and blueberries require a more acidic soil to grow well. A soil test is the only precise way to determine whether the soil is acidic, neutral, or alkaline.
Most soil nutrients are readily available when soil pH is at 6.5. When pH rises above this value, nutrient elements such as phosphorus, iron, manganese, copper, and zinc will become less available. When soil pH drops below 6.5, manganese can reach a toxicity level for some sensitive plants.
Best Time To Test?
We generally recommend that you test your soil in the spring to set a baseline for your lawn or landscape. Sulfur should be applied in the spring if the soil pH needs to be lowered.
A soil test every two to three years is usually adequate. Sample more frequently if you desire a closer monitoring of the fertility levels, or if you grow plants that are known to be heavy feeders.
The soil test takes the guesswork out of fertilization and is extremely cost effective. It not only eliminates the waste of money spent on unnecessary fertilizers, but also eliminates over-usage of fertilizers, hence helping to protect the environment.
We can provide information to you based of the results of the soil sample for amending deficient nutrients in your soil. Having a chemically, biologically, and physically balanced lawn can have many benefits to maintain the look and feel of your lawn and soil.