Learn the Ins and Outs of Soil Testing & Why You Need One

Businesses and residences in the White Plains area take pride in our landscapes, so when we start to see brown patches and dry spots, the panic sets in. Most of us try adding in more fertilizer or start overwatering. But this may be doing more damage than repair. It’s important to determine the initial cause of your lawn fatigue before wasting time and money on fixing a problem that may require a different solution. The best way to determine what your grass needs is through a soil test.

At Griffin Organics, we recommend performing a lawn analysis through soil testing before beginning any lawn program. The soil test will tell us your soil pH level, organic matter, nutrient contents, and soluble salts. Once the soil test results are returned, we can adjust our program to meet your lawn’s specific needs.soil testing by hand

So, what exactly is a soil test? What does it involve, and how is it beneficial for your White Plains area lawn? We have your answers. Read on as we explain what a soil test reveals, why it’s important, and what we can do to improve your soil’s alkaline levels.

What Is a Soil Test?

A soil analysis is a detailed report of your soil’s composition. While you can buy inexpensive soil test kits at most home goods and garden stores, a licensed professional such as Griffin Organics will come out and take 10-15 small samples from various parts of your yard. We will then combine the results and deliver you a report. Things the information can tell you include:

  • Which nutrients your lawn lacks or has in abundance
  • Which nutrients are low
  • The pH level of your soil
  • The presence of any pollutants or contaminants

Generally, you should conduct a soil test every three to five years.

Benefits of Having a Soil Test

Determine Your Soil’s Nutrients
There are several reasons having your soil tested is important. A sample of your lawn’s soil will be removed and tested for nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, calcium, and potassium. In this way, your lawn care professionals are aware of any overfertilizing that has taken place, which can cause damaged, burnt-out roots, uneven growth, and brown patches, as well as any nutrient deficiencies.  

Lawn Contaminants
A soil test will help you determine if there is anything in your soil that should not be there. If something is found, your lawn care professional can help you select a course of action to remove it.

Determine Levels of Acidity
This is perhaps the most important information you’ll get out of your report. If you’re testing soil for pH and it’s out of balance, your lawn may not be receptive to the nutrients and fertilizer that is applied. Having it tested will allow lawn care professionals to understand your soil better and determine if there is a particular nutrient it needs more or less of.

For example, phosphorous helps your grass’s cell development, and potassium helps with root development and stress recovery. If either of these nutrients is low, the results from the soil test will help lawn care professionals recommend to you how to improve it. 

Why the pH Level of Your White Plains Area Lawn Is Importantsoil ph testing

Most turfgrasses grow best in soil with a pH level between 6.1 and 6.9 (slightly acid). Soils with a pH level below this range will benefit from the addition of lime. If the pH level is above this range, aluminum sulfate may need to be added. Lawns that fall below the normal pH levels usually show signs of distress. A few of these symptoms include:

  • Weak growth
  • Moss development
  • Disease frequency
  • Insect infestation
  • Chronic weeds
  • You’ve tried applying fertilizer and see no improvement
  • Washed-out or faded color to your grass

If the lawn pH is too high, it will cause the soil to have trouble soaking up certain much-needed microorganisms, thus causing the decline of your turf’s health. At Griffin Organics, we have solutions for both situations. We offer lime treatments for lawns falling below the normal levels and applications of aluminum sulfate for turfs that fall above normal levels.

Whatever Your Soil Test Results, Griffin Organics Offers Two Different Lawn Care Programs

Griffin Organics understands New York’s soil. We are familiar with our local climate and all the factors that go into creating the perfect lawn. Along with a soil analysis, we offer two different lawn care programs to fit the needs of each individual property. Our Eco-Turf Program combines the benefit of organic soil principles with the careful, selective use of effective, standard lawn pesticides. Our Fully-Organic Program focuses on building organic content while improving microbial activity in the soil.

Both utilize the integrated pest management approach. We work with our clients to help you achieve the healthiest lawn possible with the least amount of herbicides and pesticides needed, for a safe, environmentally friendly approach to lawn care.

Contact us today to learn more about our lawn care programs and soil testing. You can visit our website and fill our form online, or give us a call at 914-788-9622. Then check us out on Facebook to get to know us better.

Learn more about lawn care, tree and shrub care, and landscaping by following our monthly blog articles.

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