Know what ya’ got.
Is your lawn growing in the perfect soil? Or is it just growing in dirt? The quality of soil that is on your property has a lot to do with the health of your lawn. If you are experiencing many broadleaf and grassy weed problems, poor grass health, and bare spots, chances are it has something to do with what is below your feet.
The best way to determine if your soil is supplying the required nutrients for healthy plant growth is to perform a soil test. An evaluation of soil fertility and pH level is an important first step in developing a plan or diagnosing problems in your lawn. A soil test is the basis for organic inputs in a natural management program and is strongly recommended before we can effectively transition any lawn to an organic lawn care program.
Your basic soil test will recognize the nutrients (NPK) available. It will also measure soil pH. A pH of 7 is neutral and grass likes pH of 6.5. Higher numbers indicate alkaline conditions and lower numbers indicate acidic conditions. Organic matter is also measured on this soil analysis report.
A soil foodweb analysis is another soil test that will give you a broader picture the life in your soil. It will measure the beneficial soil microorganisms. This will give you direction for inputs of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms. It will also identify the different nematodes and protozoa present. This advanced test is more expensive than a basic soil test but provides much more information.
For an upfront fee of $65, Peters Lawn Service will visit your property, take soil samples, order a basic soil test, read the soil analysis report and recommend a plan of action.
For your own basic soil test, contact the University of Minnesota Soil Testing Laboratory at http://soiltest.cfans.umn.edu/