There are several soil testing methods that anyone can utilize. The method you utilize is not so much of importance as it is that you actually have your soil tested. It is important to understand the composition of the soil in your yard. Afterall, the foundation of a healthy lawn is the soil it is growing in. The soil is vital to the development of your lawn’s root system.
Understanding the type of soil you have will save you a lot of time, money and aggravation.
A soil test eliminates all of the guesswork. It will tell you what your soil has and what your soil is lacking. You will learn vital information such as the soil’s pH level as well as the amount of phosphorous, potassium and organic matter it contains. You will also learn the percentage of sand, silt and clay. Knowledge is powerful. You will gain the foresight to know what ingredients you need to add to your soil to ensure growth of a healthy and beautiful lawn.
The results you get from your soil test are only as good as the soil sample that is taken. The best and most accurate results are achieved by taking a total of 4-6 samples from your front and back yard. Make sure the equipment you use to take the sample is clean. Using a piece of equipment that has rust or chemicals will taint your soil sample and give you inaccurate test results.
The following is a step by step process for actually taken the sample.
At a minimum a soil sample should be taken before you plant a new lawn, reseed a lawn or renovate a lawn. However, it is a good idea to take a soil sample and have it tested every few years.
There are several alternatives you can choose from:
First, a home soil test kit can be purchased at your local garden center. This is the least expensive option. The home soil test kit will only tell you the pH level of your soil. While this is useful information, it doesn’t give you the entire picture that you really need to know.
Second, your local agricultural extension office or a local university will usually perform a soil test for you. Typically the fee they charge is low for this service. This is the option that I have used in the past.
Lastly, a private lab can be found on the internet or through your local yellow pages. This is the most expensive option.
The information that you receive from your agricultural office, university or private lab is much more comprehensive. Typically it takes 3 weeks to get the results back. The report provides information about your soil as well as recommendations on what your soil needs. It also provides details on the amounts of lime, sulfur, fertilizer or organic matter that you need to add to your soil.
Researching the different soil testing methods available to you and deciding which is best for you is of the utmost importance. Knowing the conditions of your soil before you plant a lawn, reseed your lawn or renovate your lawn will prevent a big headache for you down the road. As we all know, prevention is the best practice to avoid future problems.
Basic Soil Test Kits
Digital Soil Test Kit
Electronic Soil Test Kit