Fall Lawn Care

I came across this article, “Soil Test Results Help Homeowners” by John Dawson.

The article has some good reminders about soil and what to look for with respect to results received from  soil testing for your lawn in September/October time frame.

It is important to maintain a proper soil pH 6.5 – 6.8 .  The article points out that soils in Maryland are often acidic and pH can range from 4.5 – 5.5. This is true of soils that we have analyzed from the east coast states.

Fall is the best time to get a soil sample.  The soil is still warm from the hot summer temperatures, but the air temperatures are quite cool. This combination sets up a great time to check the soil and apply the appropriate product;  (lime  – raises pH or sulfur – lowers ph)  or seed to help build a stronger, thicker grass.  It is for this reason, that areas that were once dry and brown, come back in the fall because of these ideal temperatures.

Soil Sampling Tips

Decide the puprpose for collecting a soil sample:

  1. Resolve Issues – Collect samples only sample in areas where there are issues to determine the cause for the issue. Do not mix soil from areas that are performing well.
  2. Overall better Lawn – Collect a composite sample from different areas in your lawn and combine them together to get a general idea of your overall lawn needs.

Collect sample  4-6 inches from the surface.  No need to go any lower. You are looking at the nutrients in the surface soil and you need to see how you can effectively manage this layer of soil for your lawn.

Combine the samples all together, which should result in a soil sample that is two cups full.  Soil bags are available from most laboratories. There is no need to dry the soil.  Laboratories are equipped to properly dry and grind your soil for proper soil analysis.

Send your soil sample to a laboratory that offers 1 – 3 day turnaround time.  There isn’t any reason to wait 10 days to 2 or 3 weeks for results. The technology has really advanced in the area of soil testing and as a result the consumer should benefit from receiving their results in a timely manner.

If you have questions, contact a representative at Midwest Laboratories.

Photo | Rob Young