How To Perform Soil Testing

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How To Perform Soil Testing

There are two things a soil testing can help you learn about your lawn. The first thing is the status of the nutrients in your soil. This will help you determine what needs to be applied to your lawn such as potassium or phosphorus.

The second thing a soil test will do is provide you with a pH figure for your soil. pH is a scale that ranges from 0 to 14, closer to 0 being acidic and closer to 14 being alkaline. The ideal pH level for your soil when growing a lawn is around 6 to 7, which is pretty neutral. You can use lime to raise soil pH and sulfur to reduce pH. However, keep in mind that it can take a lot to adjust the pH (200lbs. / 1,000 sq.ft.), so it is best to work in these elements before you install a lawn.

The first thing you need to do is gather up your equipment (trowel and bucket) to take samples of your soil. While you can use home soil test kits, a soil-testing lab is going to provide more accurate results. Your sample needs to reflect the properties of the entire lawn. To do this, you need to capture several samples from different locations around your lot. Most labs are going to want samples from 3 inches deep. Dig a handful of soil using a trowel and put it in a bucket. Make sure that your trowel does not have any fertilizer residue to avoid contamination of the sample. Now, mix all the samples together in the bucket and measure up 1-2 cups of soil to be submitted.

Note: These are general guidelines to follow as a tester. You should follow the instructions of the lab you will be submitting to over these. To learn where to get a soil test in your area, it is best to contact your local extension office for the name of a lab that interprets tests for lawns.


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One comment

  1. Deborah Tucker

    Hi I live in Owings Mills Maryland and in my flower garden, my lavender bush has rotted and died. Today, I noticed something that looked similar to a huge mushroom but it was hard and almost seemed petrified. I also noticed on my irises after they died I noticed some type of round thing on the stalk. I think I may have some type of parasite or diseased soil. Can you tell me what I can do? thank you!~Deborah

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