Getting a professional lab analysis of your soil gives specific recommendations for liming and fertilization needs. A soil analysis can be vital to determining the pH of your soil and the amount of nutrients needed to create optimum growth conditions for your lawn.
To perform a soil analysis, a technician will come to your property and take several samples out of various parts of your lawn. These samples are then submitted to a lab for analysis. The soil analysis report will not only tell you the pH of your soil, but it will also give the concentration of key nutrients:
If you transport yourself back to your high school chemistry days, you may remember pH is a measure of acidity. A 7 on the pH scale is neutral (like pure water), anything below 7 is considered acidic (ranging from vinegar to car battery acid), and anything above a 7 is considered basic or alkaline (ranging from baking soda to drain cleaner).
In order for a lawn to utilize nutrients in the soil and optimize weed control and fertilizer applications, the pH must be in a narrow range. The ideal pH for most grass types is about 6.5. If your soil tests below the recommended range, a lime application can help bring it into balance.
If your soil tests below the recommended range, a lime application can help bring it into balance.
“Abundant nitrogen immediately comes to mind when thinking of fertile soil. It’s the green giant your plants need for lush, sturdy growth. It forms plant proteins and it’s probably the nutrient most familiar to gardeners. Nitrogen deficiencies cause leaves to lose their healthy, green color, and this chlorosis (yellowing) usually begins near the base of plants. As chlorosis works its way up, the plants appear weak and spindly.”
“Phosphorus proves critical to photosynthesis, plant maturity, healthy roots, and energy transfers within plants…Watch for purple leaves, veins, and stems. They strongly indicate a phosphorus-deficiency.”
“Potassium is the familiar K of the N-P-K trio. It remains in solution after being absorbed and flows through plants completing several important functions necessary for good health: it helps the manufacture of sugars and their movement within plants, which has a direct bearing on a plant’s ability to resist diseases; it adjusts the openings of leaf pores (stomata) to make them open widely when moisture is available and close tightly during drought.”
Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur
“Calcium, magnesium, and sulfur are often thought of as secondary elements. Plants and soil may not need large supplies of these nutrients, but the roles they play prove as essential to growth as those of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Calcium serves several critical functions and concentrates primarily in leaves. It builds the cell walls of plant tissues and neutralizes acids produced by plants as toxic by-products of metabolism. It regulates the availability of other nutrients, builds plant proteins, and prevents magnesium toxicity.”
*Source: Mother Earth News
Weed control applications, fertilization, and monitoring key nutrients work together to provide the lawn of your dreams.
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