If you’re the type of lawn lover who wants to know everything about your lovely expanse of green grass, maybe you’ve considered getting a lawn soil test.
There are a couple different types of basic lawn soil tests. One of them is a great indicator that can help your soil and lawn health. The other isn’t as valuable.
Which is which? Let’s take a look.
First, the pH Test
If your lawn isn’t looking too great, even though you’re staying on top of your fertilizer applications, it could mean its pH is off, and needs lime or gypsum to balance it.
Soil pH is a way to measure the amount of acidity or alkalinity in your lawn’s soil.
It’s measured on a scale from 0 to 14, with a cool meter that sticks a probe into the soil, without taking actual soil out of the ground.
If your lawn soil pH is too low, it’s time for lime, a soil amendment made from ground limestone rock, which contains calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate.
Or, if your lawn soil pH is too high, your lawn might need gypsum, a mineral that contains hydrated calcium sulfate.
Lawn soil pH varies from city to city, and even from lawn to lawn in the same neighborhood.
Lawn soil in Eau Claire, WI tends to be acidic, while the soil in Minneapolis often leans toward alkaline.
Once your lawn is balanced with the right pH, your soil can actually use the nutrients in your fertilizer, and flourish.
A balanced lawn soil pH is key to a healthy, thriving lawn.
Next up, the Lawn Soil Test
A lawn soil sample test involves taking a portion of soil out of the ground and having it tested at a lab to see what nutrients are there — or not there.
Many communities have a university extension office that will do the testing. There are also at-home or mail-in soil test kits that offer a snapshot of your soil.
Some focus on light exposure, pH, and moisture level, others offer information on your soil’s composition, including levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Most fertilizers are designed to replenish these three elements.
Chances are, a lawn soil sample test won’t really help your lawn.
Why? A few reasons.
- Most homeowners don’t want to spend the money required to fix what the lawn soil test results say needs improving. If the lawn soil test reveals your soil is mostly sand, would you really be willing to tear out your lawn and bring in new soil? Probably not.
- Lawn soil tests tell what’s in your soil the day of the test. But by the time you get results back from a testing lab, that’s likely changed. Maybe the lawn soil test results show your soil has plenty of nitrogen. But while you wait for the results, your grass is continually using the soil’s nitrogen, so those results are no longer valid.
- Lawn soil test results often indicate a soil pH issue, telling you that your soil needs lime or gypsum. So why not just do the soil pH test and get that information right away?
In rare cases, a lawn might have a mystery issue going on that defies even a lawn care specialist’s knowledge. Maybe a rare fungus or disease is keeping it from thriving, and an advanced level of lawn soil testing can reveal the problem.
But in most cases, a lawn soil test won’t provide helpful information worth using,
A soil pH test, on the other hand, offers valuable information you can use to realistically improve your soil, and your lawn’s health.
Trust Your Lawn Soil Health to RainMaster
Here at RainMaster, we consider lawn soil pH so important, we include pH testing in all three levels of our lawn care programs. And we include pH balancer in our top two lawn care program levels.
Meanwhile, a comprehensive and proactive lawn care program will automatically nourish your lawn’s soil with the nutrients your lawn needs to thrive.
Let’s create a custom nutrition plan for your lawn that focuses on packing your soil with the nutrients it needs to help your lawn grow thick and healthy and resist weeds.
We offer three different levels of lawn care programs, based on the results you’d like, how fast you want to see results, and your budget.
When you’re ready to put your trust in us, we can’t wait to meet you — and help you make the best choices for your lawn.
Want to boost your soil’s health? Request a quote today! We’ll review your lawn care options together so you can make a great choice. Then, you can finally enjoy your lawn and stop worrying about it.