Any recipe is only as good as its ingredients and that goes for lawn care too. If you don’t have good flour and shortening (soil and pH level), it doesn’t matter how much frosting (or fertilizer) you add, your recipe (lawn) isn’t going to turn out well. That’s why it’s important to get a soil test and start with a good foundation.
A soil test can measure many things like soil fertility. Elements like phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, manganese, copper and zinc are removed from the soil to determine nutrient and contaminant content. One of the most important things a soil test measures is pH. Experts say if a soil is too acidic or too alkaline it can be toxic to plants. The acidity in the soil can limit plant growth to such extremes that the plants won’t be able to utilize any fertilizer applied. So, the soil test can help determine the best lime and fertilizer recommendations. It’ll help save you money in the long run and help the environment by limiting the over-use of fertilizers.
Basically soils in moist climates tend to be acidic while those in dry climates are generally alkaline. A soil pH lower than 7.0 is an acid soil, anything higher is alkaline. The soil has to be adjusted to fit the needs of the particular plants planted in the area.
There are do-it-yourself testing kits available in many areas at reasonable prices or you can hire a company to do the testing for you. Either way you’ll be getting important information that will help your lawn and garden grow and will make you look like the expert with the green thumb without all the effort.