You decided to create Your Organic Lawn Care Plan because you want a safer lawn for yourself, family, pets and the natural wildlife surrounding your home.
Great, the first step is Your Organic Lawn Care Plan Soil Test. It all begins with a soil test to determine what the current nutrient levels in your soil are (these nutrients feed your lawn). These tests, once the results are given may offer a plan of action to help return your soil to a more ideal state that will in turn strengthen your lawn.
You can get soil test kits from your local garden centers, farming co-operatives or universities (offering turf grass management studies).
These kits will either be home test kits that provide results on the spot (which may only offer limited information) or one that requires you to take a sample and mail it away for analysis. The home test kits normally will not provide as accurate or detailed results as those kits requiring one to mail the sample to a specialized testing facility.
It is recommended to have your lawn soil professionally tested to receive a more accurate result. This will help ensure any misreading or uncertainty when reading the results from your home test kit.
Make sure that you follow the directions exactly included with either type of test kits as it will affect the results of the test. Always make sure to use clean tools to acquire the proper soil sample as requested by the instructions.
Once the test results have come back or been performed by yourself then one needs to interpret the results. If you chose to use the home test kit your results may be simple such as matching the colours on a supplied chart to those you attained from your test.
Now let’s move on to taking a soil sample correctly.
When you take the sample, make sure the soil is not too wet from any recent rain or prolonged watering. To get the best result take the sample before any fertilizer has been applied or at least not recently applied.
To begin you will need a clean pail. Unless it is brand new then make sure that is well cleaned and rinsed out. Allow the pail dry. By not washing the pail out carefully any remnants of prior use could register in the soil test.
Use a shovel to dig a small hole 3 to 6 inches deep. With the shovel, after the hole is dug, take a 1 inch slice along the side of the hole from top to bottom. That slice is the sample you will use for the test. Once you have the sample, place it into the pail.
Next, take samples from various parts of the yard. For an average sized front yard, take a minimum of 6 samples, in a crisscross pattern. Take multiple samples from both the sides of the house and the back yard as well. You should end up with as much as a quart or more of dirt when it is all done. Put the pail aside in a sheltered, dry location and let the soil dry overnight.
The following day, combine the soil thoroughly in the pail and remove the amount the lab requires for the test. Put the sample in the container approved for the test and mail it as directed or return it to the testing office. By mixing the soil you will be providing an “average”, this way the same amount of fertilizer or corrective measures necessary can be done evenly over the yard.