The Importance of Soil Testing


  • Author Ricky Luttrell
  • Published March 18, 2021
  • Word count 487

The Importance of Soil pH

Many things can be done to make your neighbors green with envy, and having a beautiful lawn is one of them. Every homeowner knows that grass needs, sun, fertilize air, and water to thrive but often overlook their soil's health. Soil health is critical to having a healthy and green lawn. The chemical composition and wellbeing of the ground will determine the success and health of any turf variety growing in it. The soil's health is usually measured in pH, potassium, phosphorus, lime, calcium, and nitrogen.

Annual Soil Testing

Testing the pH level of the soil is a quick and easy process. Many experts recommend testing your lawn's soil every year as the acidity can change over time. Many homeowners choose to test dirt in the winter while turfgrass is dormant. Learning of a deficiency early in the growing cycle can provide ample time for the issue to be corrected. There are three ways to conduct a soil test:

Handheld Test

Handheld products read the pH level of soil when the unit's prongs are inserted into the ground. Handheld units are ideal when levels need to be taken in large lawns. Handheld units are easy to use and can be used year after year. All of the convenience of handheld units does have a drawback in that their accuracy is less than that of other testing options.

At-Home Chemical Tests

Many retailers offer at-home testing kits that homeowners can purchase at local hardware stores or online marketplaces. At-home chemical kits typically allow a homeowner to test three to five areas for pH, potassium, and phosphorus. Homeowners will take soil samples and mix the dirt will the included solutions. Reagents will react with the different chemicals in the soil, and, typically, a color change will occur. After the reaction has occurred, the user can determine the output by using the included color-coded rubric. Many at-home tests will offer the ability to test for more than just the soil's pH, but more analysis may be needed for more complex problems.

Mail-In / Commercial Tests

If a homeowner is interested in the complete chemical to make up of their lawn, they will need to enlist a professional lab or university. When an in-depth analysis is required, soil samples will be collected and then mailed off to a testing location. Consumers have the option of paying for a private company to analyze their soil, or they can use a university agricultural extension to help. Most state universities have an agricultural extension office that assists homeowners with agricultural issues, including soil analysis.

Testing the pH and chemical composition of the soil is critical and easy. Tests should be conducted every year to track any changes that may occur over time and formulate a plan to correct deficiencies. The soil's health is a building block for having a lush green yard and is something that homeowners should not overlook.

With a love of gardening and landscaping, Ricky has always enjoyed sharing gardening advice. Ricky contributes to multiple sites including Lawn and Petal. More information about soil health, testing, and pH can be found here.

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