The lawn soil test analysis is like getting your blood checked at the doctors. The soil report you receive should have information you can understand and others you don’t. The soil test analysis video at the bottom of the page is your best source of understanding the results.
The correct numbers and percentages on the soil test results need to be in there ranges. The how’s and why’s are not important right now.
The results of the soil analysis example we are using is not the optimum outcome we want. But that is why we do a lawn soil test in the first place.
When you receive your soil report back, it will have recommendations on adjusting the soil. The reference will be to apply synthetic fertilizer. Lawn Rage gives you different options to improve your soil.
Now we’ll go through the soil analysis and point out the important areas. We will give a brief explanation of each but if you want in-depth breakdown just click on the links.
This lawn soil test analysis was done at the University of Massachusetts. I’ve had good experiences there and I’ve been doing business with them for years.
Up top it’s mailing address, soil weight and how you identified the soil sample.
A Soil Test Analysis Provides pH Levels Results
In the section below, recommendations on resolving nutrient deficiencies are given. Follow what they recommend for adjusting the pH level. They will propose using calcite lime or dolomite limestone, depending on your magnesium level.
The next paragraph is the micro-nutrient section. Not only do they give you the results of the test but also the range it should be in. Usually, these micro nutrients levels have a wide range of acceptance. If one or more is off by quite a bit then it will have to be adjusted. Read more on this subject on the micro nutrient page.
A Soil Test Analysis Gives Lawn Nutrient Levels
Let’s start with lawn soil pH. Soil pH levels should be between 6.8 – 7.2 for lawn care. If your pH level is below 7 it is acidic and will need lime or dolomite applications. Use the recommendations the soil analysis testing facility gives your to adjust. No more than 50 pounds for 1000 square feet per application. Lime moves slowly through the soil, so it does take a while to raise pH levels.
If your pH level is above 7 the soil is considered basic. Applications of granulated sulfur will be needed. There are also other natural products to lower pH, such as cottonseed and sulfate of potash and magnesium. Check out our pH levels page.
Across to the right is the nitrogen (N) level. Levels of nitrogen will vary throughout the season. Your soil analysis is not a very good indicator of a correct measurement. Nitrogen cycling can be understood on our nitrogen page.
Below Nitrogen is the organic matter percentage. Organic matter percentage should be between 5% and 12%. If your intent is to not use synthetic fertilizers then your organic matter level is very important. It will enable nitrogen cycling and supplies many nutrients. It helps adjust pH and provides microbes and the food to feed that biology. The impact of compost on lawns can be read on our organic matter page.
Below organic matter are other important nutrient levels which range from low to very high. Those nutrients include phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium.
- Phosphorus availability for plants promotes early plant growth and accelerates maturity. Although phosphorus is essential for plant growth, high levels in the soil can threaten water quality.
- Helps with root formation and stimulates early growth. Potassium aids in water retention and assists in preventing insect and disease issues.
- Sandy soils will have lower levels of calcium than clay soils. If your pH levels are good, your levels of calcium should be correct. A ratio with magnesium is important in lawn care. A ratio of 7 – 1 should be achieved.
- It has a direct correlation with chlorophyll within the grass plant. Like calcium, only if the pH level is very low will there be a deficiency.
On the bottom is the Cation Exchange Capacity. The higher the cation exchange capacity is the better. This area of the soils report refers to how well the grass plant and the soil are exchanging nutrients. The higher amount of organic matter the better the exchange. Read more about CEC here.
To the right of CEC is the Percent Base Saturation which gives the percentages of potassium, calcium and magnesium. A ratio between calcium and magnesium should be 7 – 1. There is more on this at the Percent Base Saturation page.
The result page ends with aluminum and lead levels.
Soil Test Analysis Video
Here you can find great soil testing facilities.
An understanding of your soil test analysis will certainly better your chances of achieving a beautiful lawn.