A soil analysis is used to determine the soil’s pH level, available nutrients and organic matter percentage, all of which need to be properly balanced for optimum turf conditions and prevention of weeds. Soil analysis is also a key tool to use when diagnosing a particular problem such as poor turf color, low seed germination, bare spots and continuous disease susceptibility.
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 amendments such as limestone or sulfur. Adding compost will also change the pH level and is recommended for soil conditions when the pH level is highly buffered or if the organic matter % is below 4%.
Turf grasses in our local area require a balanced 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. We use a local independent testing laboratory for analysis and will send you a copy of the report with our recommendations.
Soil Analysis – Typical Service Dates:
Soil Analysis can actually be performed at any time during the year and should be done every 3 – 5 years. However, if the results from your soil analysis are less than optimal and you are making corrections with amendments then you should test your soil yearly in the same month until readings are corrected.
Soil Analysis – 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.