Soil can be tested at any time of the year, but for optimal results get your soil tested in fall or early spring this gives you ample time to make adjustments before you start planting.
Use a soil composition (soil from around your yard combined) as most amendments are going to be deployed broadly around the yard and there are not likely huge swings in nutrient levels to warrant super specific small tailoring of amendments.
Test every couple years to see how the amendments you have made are affecting the soil.
Testing your soil is incredibly beneficial to the everyday home-owner with a lawn. Testing your soil allows you to understand the fertility of the lawn and its specific nutrient levels and what it needs in order to prosper. You can then tailor your applications to target the specific needs of your lawn. This should save you time and money while being more effective and better for the environment.
How to test your soil:
Hands down the best way to test your soil is through either an extension school/university or through a private lab. The prices can range from $15 if you drop it off to $100 if you ship it in. The biggest problem is knowing what to do with the results. They will provide you with a lot of language such as 3 lbs of nitrogen per 1,000 sq ft. If that doesn’t make a lot of sense to you it might make sense to use Lawn Serv.
Things you will test for:
There are many different types of nutrients or lack thereof in a yard, and they can differ city to city or state to state based on a lot of different factors. Some of the main lawn related items you should see in a soil test result are:
You will see recommendations regarding nitrogen levels based on these factors and where you are located in the country also.
How to with Lawn Serv:
With Lawn Serv it is as simple as clicking a button.
Get at least 1” of water per week (25-30 minutes) minimum, best twice a week
Using a sprinkler will save you time and money
Don’t – water small amounts every day, it keeps the roots at the surface (NOT GOOD)
For more information on our Pro Tips keep reading!
What Time to Water & For How Long:
Every season there is a perfect time of day to water your lawn and how you should water it for the best results possible. The preferred method to get the best results in watering your lawn is in the morning. This is when the wind has died down and the air is much cooler. The best time would be anywhere between 4 AM to 10 AM allowing for the water to not evaporate too quickly giving it ample time to be absorbed. You need to water long enough for it soak down into the soil around 6-8 inches and you need enough water to get down that far. That amount is typically 1 inch of water over about 20-25 minutes. One way you make sure that your soil is reaching 6-8 inches deep is by lifting up the sod. But let’s be real that’s too much time and energy. If the water is being absorbed it needs more water, if it is sitting up slightly you can stop (it will take a minute to absorb deeper into the soil), and if it is pooling you’ve gone too far.
You want to be sure to not over water your lawn, this being said most lawns need at least 1 inch of water per week from either rain or your watering system. Understanding that watering your lawn in the morning is the best time because if you water at night your lawn is subjected to getting a disease and/or fungus. If you also don’t water enough your lawn will not grow properly due to the grassroots not allowing them to grow to full length. Interesting enough, watering your lawn everyday is not necessary due to its resilience. Although this does not mean you can just forget about it, once it starts to turn a dull green color it’s time to start giving it some more attention.
How to Water your Lawn:
Within the first year of your newly seeded grass it is important to know that your watering schedule is crucial. That is because the roots have not developed deep enough yet to withstand weather extremes. Early on lighter more frequent waters are needed. While towards the second half of that new lawns seeding you should water less frequently and with a larger amount to drive water deeper into the soil enticing the roots down.
It’s good to know what type of grass you have. For “cool-weather” grass, specifically Tall Fescue in the north, we see that grass being more resilient towards shade with great deep greens in spring and fall and a winter survivor. However it needs some love in the summer as it is prone to drying out in the summer. To grow it sufficiently you need to water irregularly and deep and be a good friend to it in the summer months.
For “warm-weather” grass such as Zoysia, St. Augustine, Bermuda and Centipede grass they do not need as much water as “cool-weather” grass. They are meant for the heat but will brown out fast in a cold weather climate during fall and winter months.
If you take ANYTHING away from this content…..USE A SPRINKLER TO WATER YOUR LAWN! It does a way better job watering your lawn more evenly that a person watering by hand. Set that sprinkler up and tell your smartphone to set a reminder for 20 minutes. Go enjoy something (or fold laundry), move and repeat.