Lawn care is a science and testing your soil is a scientific way to determine the nutrient status of your soil in your gardens and landscapes. Most homeowners apply fertilizers and other soil additives without knowing the status of their soil. Without knowing what’s in your soil you could be doing more harm than good. Applying fertilizer, sulfur, and lime when your soil doesn’t need it can lead to other problems further down the road. Doing a proper soil test can reveal the mystery of your soil so you can take the appropriate actions to fine-tune your landscape and create the perfect yard.
Soil testing is a cheap and effective way to better understand your yard. A soil test can help you better plan your landscape so your trees and ornamentals can perform at their best. First, start with checking the pH levels of your soil.
Check the pH Levels of Your Colorado Springs Soil
Soil pH levels should be between 6.2 and 7.2. To improve the pH balance of your yard you should add sulfur or lime. Your soil pH level is the measurement of how alkaline or acidic your soil is. Knowing your soil pH will let you know if your plants are taking up nutrients properly. Soil pH is measured on a scale from 1 to 14, with 7 considered neutral. Measurements below 7 are considered acidic or while anything above a 7 is alkaline. Most plants prefer neutral soil with a pH balance between 6.2 and 7.2. Soil that is out of balance makes it harder for plants to access and use the nutrients in the soil and fertilizer. A soil test kit is a cheap way to make sure your soil is getting the right nutrients. The soils found in Colorado Springs tend to be more alkaline and low on organic matter.
When and How Often Should I Get My Soil Tested?
Soil testing can be done any time of the year as long as the soil isn’t frozen or wet. Getting a soil test can help you choose plants that will perform best in your yard. Established lawns should be tested every 3-4 years and vegetable gardens should be tested every 2-3 years.
Make a Plan
The first step of gathering a good soil sample is to draw up a map of your property and mark where you will be taking soil samples from. You should take tests from different parts of your yard because different areas have different characteristics. Your front yard, for example, will have a different pH balance than your vegetable garden. This will allow you to add the proper amounts of fertilizers to the right areas.
Gather Your Samples
Clear leaves and other debris from the area before you take your sample. Next, use a garden trowel to take a core sample of your yard. Place several samples from each area of your yard in separate buckets. Gardens and flower beds should be sampled at a depth of 6-8 inches, while your yard should be sampled at a depth of 3 inches. Mix the soil in the bucket until all the lumps and clumps are out of it. Finally, spread the soil on a newspaper to dry it out. Collect a pint for your sample. Next, submit your samples to a soil testing facility and wait for the results.
Improving Acidic Soil
Most soil in the eastern half of the United States is naturally acidic. Soils that are too acidic not only reduce the effectiveness of your fertilizers but it can also create an ideal environment for thatch, weeds, and diseases. To fix acidic soils, garden lime is recommended. The best time to apply lime in Colorado Springs is in the fall, however, it can be applied any time of the year.
Improving Alkaline Soil
Alkaline soils are common in the southwestern and central parts of the United States. Alkaline soil restricts a plant’s ability to take in nutrients. Sulfur is recommended for bringing alkaline soils back to proper pH levels. Organic compost can also increase soil acidity.
Get Fall Lawn Care For Your Colorado Springs Lawn
Now that you know everything about soil testing, it’s time to rejuvenate your lawn, so it’s prepared next spring! Green Vision offers lawn care for the entire Colorado Springs area. Our six-step lawn care program is designed to rejuvenate your lawn and keep it healthy and weed-free all year long. If you’re interested in learning more or would like to schedule an appointment, give us a call at 719-453-2000 or leave us a message, and don’t forget to check out our monthly blog for more tips and tricks.