It’s common knowledge that some form of fertilization
is usually needed to maintain a healthy lawn. Ufortunately, without guidance, much of the
time and money spent doing it goes to waste. Outside of the environmental concerns, improper
fertilization can lead to poor quality turf. The first step to giving your lawn the nutrients
it needs to thrive is to perform a soil test. All too often this important step is left
out. Without a test you’ll only be guessing at which nutrients your turf grass needs.
A soil test can also help you determine fertility shortfalls, which may be a precursor to disease
or pest infestations. The nutrients and amendments your soil needs
will vary based on your geographic location, but the sampling process is fairly standard.
For purposes of illustration, our example will be typical for the Southwest region of
the US. To get started, you’ll want to take 10 to 15 sub-samples from various spots around
the yard using either a soil probe or a trowel. These will later be combined to create the
samples you’ll send into the lab. If you have fertilized recently, wait a couple of weeks
before taking your samples. Be sure your sample is complete, including
soil from the surface to about a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Also, make sure to remove the
grass blades, as they contain nutrients that may skew test results. To prevent possible
contamination, place your samples into a clean, non-metallic container like a plastic bucket,
and then blend them all together. If your sample is wet, allow the soil to dry before
bagging. Take about 2 cups of the blended material and place them into a paper or plastic
bag. Then you’ll want to bring that sample into your local Ewing branch and we’ll send
it off the lab for you. Depending on your location, the cost of the soil test may vary.
Considering how much money is spent on caring for a typical lawn, the cost of a soil test
is a small price to pay to ensure that you’re using the right nutrients for the job. The
lab will determine and report back the soil’s organic matter content, major and minor nutrients,
as well as ph and salt levels. Your local Ewing turf specialists will use
this information to determine a year long fertilization schedule tailored to the amendment
and nutrient needs of the sampled soil. In this example report we can see that the soil
was low in nitrogen and needs to have about 3.2 pounds of nitrogen per thousand square
feet. A simple soil test can go a long way towards helping you maintain a healthy lawn.
For more information, stop into your local Ewing branch and one of our service professionals
will be more than happy to help.