No amount of care will make your lawn healthy and green if you have poor soil. The key to a healthy foundation for your lawn is understanding the make-up of your soil from the ground up. A good place to start to determine if you’re missing vital nutrients is a simple soil test.
Knowing what’s going on underground helps you choose the best varieties of grass to plant, and which type and how much fertilizer to use.
How to Test Your Soil
You can test your own soil using a basic soil test kit from The Home Depot. Inexpensive, easy and accurate, soil tests provide a wealth of knowledge about what’s going on under your feet, including the levels of pH, calcium, lime, gypsum and potassium. For a fee, County Extension Services will test your soil as well.
To Take a Soil Sample:
- Gather 3-5 samples from different parts of your lawn, each from 4-6” below the surface.
- Remove any grass, thatch or debris from your samples.
- Thoroughly mix your samples to ensure you have enough soil to test, as required in the kit.
- Spread over newspaper and allow soil to dry out, at least 24 hours.
- Follow the instructions listed on your soil test kit or send a dry sample to the county.
The test lets you know about deficiencies needing correcting and how much the pH level needs adjusting. The ideal pH level is around 6.5 or 7, but levels vary depending on grass species and climate conditions. If you need to substantially increase acidity, add sulfur. If you want to reduce acidity, add lime.