Don’t Guess, Soil Test

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You fertilize, seed, and do your best to make your lawn beautiful.  Although, for some reason your lawn just doesn’t seem to respond to your attentive applications.  What could possibly be happening?

In many cases it is a simple fact of balancing the pH of your soil.  For cool-season grasses the optimum pH of soil should be between 6.5 and 6.8.  Too much organic matter can make the soil too acidic, which will result in thinning grass.  This can be corrected by adding proper amounts of lime to raise the pH.  How much lime should be added?  This question varies greatly depending on the environmental conditions of your landscape.  There are many home tests that can be done, but many times these tests can be unreliable.  The best thing to do is to conduct a soil test.

How do I conduct a soil test?  Conducting a soil test can be quite easy and inexpensive.  To conduct a soil test you will need to probe the ground 4-6 inches deep.  It is important to get a good sample with sterilized equipment.  There are core augers that can be purchased or you can dig a hole 4-6 inches deep and take a sample from the side of the hole.  Make sure the sample is uniform in all layers of the soil.  Additionally, this process should be done in 10-15 locations throughout the landscape to obtain a good sample.  All samples should be placed in a sterile plastic bag or bucket and mixed together.  Only one pint or one pound of soil is needed to conduct a soil test.  Take the sample to your local university extensions location where they will send the sample to a lab to be analyzed.  The analysis will determine the amount of nutrients and potential pests in the soil that may be causing you problems.  The results will inform you of the pH, nitrogen, potassium, phosphate, iron, magnesium, and sulfate in the soil.  Additionally, the results will offer recommended amounts of material needed to correct any issues.  This is where you will be informed of how much lime to apply to your lawn if needed.

By properly conducting a soil test, you will eliminate the “guess work” out of caring for your lawn.  Additionally, you will learn the exact needs of the landscape and be able to provide it with the proper amounts of nutrients needed for healthy growth.  Of course you can always take the guess work out of maintaining your lawn by contacting SK Lawn Care for all your lawn and landscape needs in Kansas City.  Find us on the web at http://www.sklawncarekc.com 

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