Looking at pristine lawns in garden magazines or driving by immaculate lawns in your neighborhood can have you feeling green with envy. What are those people doing that you aren’t? If you want to get the most out of your lawn then you need to get serious about it. A soil test sounds like an expensive task but it really isn’t and the information it provides you is far more valuable. A soil test can tell you what is in your soil and what your soil needs to get the most out of your plants and fertilizer. Yes, even fertilizer is affected by what is or isn’t in your soil. Without getting your soil tested, you could be wasting money on expensive fertilizers that aren’t even working. Do your lawn a favor and get a proper soil test done.
One thing a soil test will tell you is the pH levels of your soil. Soil pH is a measurement of how alkaline or acidic your soil is. Soil pH is measured on a scale from 1 to 14, with 7 considered neutral. A pH balance below 7 is considered acidic or “sour”, while a 7 or greater is alkaline or ”sweet”. Most plants in our region prefer neutral soil with a pH balance between 6.2 and 7.2. Why does this matter? Because it all affects the way your plants take up nutrients. When pH is out of balance it can be harder for plants to perform certain functions which can lead to a decline or stunted growth.
You can perform a soil test any time of the year as long as the ground is not frozen or wet. We recommend getting your soil tested in the spring so you can correct any issues before your plants start growing. Your lawn should be tested every 3-4 years and vegetable gardens should be tested every 2-3 years.
So you have your soil test in hand and are ready to get testing. The first step is to draw a map of your yard and mark all the areas where you will be taking soil samples. Samples should be taken from different regions of your yard such as shady areas, areas that receive full sun, and areas that are wetter or drier than other areas.
Now that you have a clear plan it’s time to gather the samples. First, rake and clear any debris from the area that can contaminate your sample. Next, use a small shovel or garden trowel to take a core sample of your yard at a depth of at least 3 inches. Place the samples from each area of your yard in separate containers. Mix the soil in the containers until all the clumps and clots are out of it. Let the soil dry out and collect a pint for your sample. Finally, mail your samples to a soil testing facility and wait for the results.
Acidic soils dominate the easter half of the United States. Acidic soils reduce the effectiveness of fertilizers but they can also create an ideal environment for weeds, that, and diseases. To amend acidic soils, garden lime is recommended. Because the farming industry has a high demand for lime, the best time to apply lime is in the fall, but it can be applied any time of the year.
The pros at Environmental Turf Management know how hard it is dealing with lawn care and all the chores that go with it. We have been providing the people of Atlanta and the surrounding community with top-notch lawn care for over 20 years. Let us take the burden of lawn care off of your plate next year. Sign up for our year-round lawn care program and never have to deal with weeds again.
Give us a call at (770) 466-0234 for more information on how you can get started. You can also request an easy quote here. For more monthly tips on all things lawn care, check out our blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for our current deals and news.