The addition of amendments to a lawn is a common practice to correct deficiencies found following a soil test. After performing a soil test the testing laboratory will provide a detailed report of soil conditions which allows us at TurfGator to calculate the correct amount of amendments in lbs/1000 sq-ft. If the soil’s pH is outside of the optimum window of 6.5-6.8, amendments of limestone or sulfur are recommended and if the fertility of the soil is low amendments in nutrients should be added as well. Turf grasses in our local area require a combination of 16 different nutrients for the optimal growth. Soils with pH issues, deficient amounts of nutrients and low organic matter % will have various turf issues and generally will always have weed issues.
Amendments – Typical Service Dates:
Limestone – Can be added at anytime during the year
Sulfur – Should only be added during fall months
Organic Matter – Can be added anytime during the year
Phosphorus – Can be added at anytime during the year
Potassium – Can be added at anytime during the year
Amendments – FAQ’s
- Soil Analysis
- 1. Why should I have my soil tested?
Your lawn will look its best when it has the proper combination of nutrients, texture, organic matter and a proper pH level. Without this proper balance deficiency will show in your lawns color, inability to germinate seed and amount of potential weeds throughout your lawn. Testing your soil quickly determines deficiencies and with proper corrective actions you can have a great looking healthy lawn.
- 2. How often should I have my soil tested?
If soil conditions are good, testing your soil every 3 – 5 years is sufficient. However, if a deficiency is found it is our recommendation to test your soil once a year making recommended corrective actions every year until your soil tests good.
- 3. Do you test the soil or use an independent soil testing company?
At TurfGator, we use an independent soil testing company and will provide you with a complete analysis report of the findings along with recommendations of corrective actions.
- 4. Will I get a copy of the test results?
Yes, we always provide the test results to you.
- 5. When is the best time of the year for a soil analysis?
You can actually test the soil at any time, but for consistent results if you are having issues it is best to test at the same time of the year every year until conditions improve. To avoid misleading test results we generally wait 4 – 6 weeks after a previous lawn care treatment.
- 6. When is the best time of the year to make corrections to the soil based on a soil analysis?
It is dependent on what type of corrective actions that are needed. As for pH issues, limestone can be added at any time of the year, but sulfur can burn the lawn in the heat of the summer and is best to wait until fall or spring. Corrective actions in nutrients can be done at any time as well as adding organic matter.
- 7. What is the difference between fertilizer and soil amendments?
Fertilizers directly affect plant growth by adding nutrients to the soil, while soil amendments indirectly affect plant growth by improving the soil's physical properties.
- 8. How important are soil conditions on the appearance of my lawn?
Soil conditions are very important and often overlooked by many. We treat thousands of lawns in the local area and the difference in appearance from one lawn to the next is generally one of three things, soil conditions, watering practices and cultural practices.
- 9. I have clay soil conditions, should I apply limestone to my lawn every year?
No, just because you have clay soil does not mean your soil is acidic. We have tested hundreds of lawns throughout the area and it is a 50/50 shot of the soil being acidic. If your soil is indeed alkaline and you add limestone unknowingly you will cause the conditions to get worse. Also, if you know for sure your soil is acidic you still don't know how many pounds per thousand sq-ft of limestone to apply. It is best to have a soil analysis done before attempting any corrective actions.
- 10. What is the proper pH level for soil?
The pH scale is from 0 – 14 with 7.0 being neutral. Below 7.0 is considered acidic and above is considered alkaline conditions. The pH should be slightly acidic between 6.5-6.8 for ideal soil conditions. To raise or lower the pH level, a soil test is required to determine necessary amounts of additives such as limestone or sulfur.
- 1. Is it a good practice to add lime to my yard every year?
No, adding any amendment on a routine basis is not a recommended practice. Prior to adding any amendment, it is our recommendation to have a soil analysis conducted to determine which amendments are required and at what rate, such as pounds per 1,000 sq-ft.
- 2. How do you correct a high pH level in soil?
The addition of elementary sulfur will reduce a high pH level, however the overall process time may take several years depending on how high the pH level is and the buffer pH. Ammonia sulfate can speed up the process, but it is still a slow process.
- 3. How do you correct a low pH level in soil?
The addition of limestone or lime, however the amount is dependent on the results of the analysis and size of the lawn.
- 4. Can amendments be added anytime during the year?
Limestone or lime and other nutrient amendments can be added at any time during the year, but sulfur should be applied during the spring or during the fall months.