Every lawn has nutrients below the surface that affect the appearance and life of the lawn. These nutrients need to be checked to determine any deficiencies or excess of certain nutrients or levels. Many believe that a problem within the soil chemistry doesn’t exist when everything is looking good, but it is recommended to have a soil analysis conducted before problems arise.
Why a Soil Analysis is Necessary?
A soil analysis is necessary when there is a problem within the lawn. Maybe an area is going bare and will not grow seed, maybe an area is dull in color, or maybe there has been a struggle with diseases. All of these reasons, and more, can be caused by an imbalance within the soil.
What is a Soil Analysis?
A soil analysis is a simple procedure of pulling soil plugs throughout the lawn, allowing them to dry, breaking them up, and mixing all the soil together. This soil is then tested, usually by an independent laboratory, where specific nutrient levels are checked.
The Results of a Soil Analysis
There are two main areas of concern when conducting a soil sample, the pH level and organic matter. Other nutrients are important and being checked, but these two areas can cause the most problems when the levels are off.
The ideal pH level for a lawn in this area should be slightly acidic, or between 6.5-6.8. The scale ranges from 0-14 with 7.0 being neutral. Anything below 7.0 is considered acidic and anything above 7.0 is considered alkaline.
Organic matter is important to store and release nutrients back into the soil. The ideal percentage for organic matter is to be above 4% however to reach this optimum level can take many years, especially due to most lawns in this area falling in the 1.5-2.0% range after the first soil analysis. .
To correct levels that report deficiencies or excesses, amendments need to be made. These amendments can range from adding lime or sulfur to correct pH levels or adding compost to help boost organic matter percentages. It is important to never add amendment products without first conducting a soil analysis.
Sum it up
To have a beautiful, lush, and vibrant lawn the first and most important step is to conduct a soil analysis. This analysis should be conducted at least once every 3-5 year unless the nutrient values are so construed that a soil analysis should be conducted annually. It is also important to remember that amendments should not be added without conducting a soil analysis to ensure that the proper product is being put down based on the needs of the lawn.
It is always a good idea to consult with a lawn care professional and ask any questions you may have. Look around, ask friends or family, and research companies on the Better Business Bureau to find a company that you can trust.