A lawn care or tree care program alone with necessary treatments will do a good job maintaining your lawn or landscape. However, every property’s soil is uniquely different and thus the need for soil testing is recommended. Soil tests are completed to determine how your lawn or landscape can take full advantage of the treatments you’re already giving it.
We offer a Penn State soil analysis to evaluate your soil, and are capable of making any recommended amendments such as limestone, sulfur, phosphorus, potassium, or other nutrients to make your lawn or landscape look its best.
Lawn soil testing as well as that for trees and shrubs in your landscape, specifically targets soil deficiencies. When we test soil, we take samples from areas throughout your lawn and then send the samples to the lab at Penn State. They will analyze the soil and examine it for issues with the items listed below.
Turfgrasses prefer to grow in a soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0. We often correct low soil pH (acidic) in our area by adding limestone. If soil pH is below optimum levels, lawns will have a decreased availability of plant nutrients and other elements (causing loss of vigor and color), thatch decomposition will decrease, some turfgrass pests and diseases will be more prevalent, and pesticide activity will be diminished. Every variety of tree and shrub that you have in your landscape has an ideal soil pH where it will grow best. Many times, soil pH needs to be corrected by adding sulfur to lower the pH around these plants so they can take in nutrients properly.
Although it is present in small amounts in balanced fertilizers, phosphorus is extremely important for rooting, seedling development, cell division, and the synthesis of various compounds used by plants. When we test the soil, we look for what our normal program will not replace. Phosphorus deficiencies in turf are usually expressed in the early stages of seedling development, appearing as discoloration of leaf blades and as reduced growth and spreading of the young grass plants. In landscape trees and shrubs, this deficiency will promote poor root development and other problems.
Potassium is a primary turfgrass nutrient and is usually supplied annually as fertilizer to lawns. When we test the soil, we look for what our normal program will not replace. Potassium activates plant enzymes used in protein, sugar, and starch synthesis. Thus, it has a strong influence on drought tolerance, cold hardiness, and disease resistance of turfgrasses. Deficiencies of potassium in turf may be expressed as increased susceptibility to drought, winter injury, and disease. The same is also true for these deficiencies in your landscape trees and shrubs.
Jan P. | Lititz, PA
Julia G. | Harrisburg, PA
Bonnie S. | York, PA