Soil Testing: A Smarter Approach to Lawncare

Take a More Scientific Approach This Spring!

We “get” it: Spring is here, and like many homeowners are all incredibly excited to shut Netflix down, put the rock salt away, and start enjoying the outdoors as weather becomes more enjoyable and accessible.

To many, Spring and appreciation of the outdoors equals quality time spent at home after a busy day of work, enjoying a quiet evening grilling on the patio, tossing a baseball around with the kids, or perhaps no “activity” at all, but a few moments outdoors for quiet reflection.

Until you notice a few things. The grass could “always” be greener, but perhaps turf isn’t as thick and lush as your bare feet would prefer, or worse: you see a mostly barren landscape with a few spots of crabgrass, miscellaneous weeds, and a few leftover glacial or home construction “deposits” (i.e rocks).

Most likely if you are reading this you have some cause for concern for your turf’s health, as people don’t typically meddle with systems that are working properly.

On behalf of your lawn, we’d like to sincerely thank you for taking the time to do so instead defaulting to the “typical homeowner” fix, which is:

Spread seed and lime as soon as the snow melts, then call a professional when things look the same, worse, or still not up to standards.

While our region is naturally blessed with great soil to grow grass (among other things) there are many factors, both manmade or natural that contribute to below-average growing conditions. Newly constructed homes often are victims of greedy builders that have stripped all valuable topsoil away. Conversely, you may have purchased property on a former farm where the soil may have been specifically tailored for a certain crop’s success (but too “rich” for grass), or on a hillside where heavy rain and erosion have removed valuable nutrients over time.

Whatever the reason for dissatisfaction with your lawn, testing the soil’s pH is generally a great first step toward improvement if you haven’t in a few years, or ever. Just like a Doctor would perform lab and other diagnostic tests before prescribing a medication, a homeowner or Landscape Professional should always test soil’s pH (which measures the alkaline or acidic value, and ranges from 0-14) before taking action that involves any chemical intervention.

Per Jason von Reyn, Mowing Operations Chief here at YardApes, the majority of lawns he and his Crews care for read between 6 to 6.3 prior to treatment, while optimal pH for most turf varieties hovers at 6.6.

“Really, the best time to seed is Fall, if you can resist waiting. If you prepare for and apply seed during Spring or the warm season, you run the strong risk of allowing crabgrass and other unsightly species to germinate, right along with the prized Bluegrass and Fescue varieties most prefer.” Jason went on to elaborate. “Some clients refuse to see bare spots, and I totally understand wanting to see green everywhere, but once the warm season ends, the weeds will return to dormancy or die off, leaving the same bare spot, which will then have to be treated again. We strongly discourage this quick-fix practice, but will cater to these requests after making clients aware of what to expect, to include the additional cost and labor associated with improperly timed treatments or re-treatment”.

With a lawn (and most things in life) it’s better to make the necessary changes in calculated steps. Whether you choose us at YardApes to get your lawn back in order, or venture down the the Do It Yourself route, we highly recommend soil testing as a first step in a successful long-term treatment and maintenance plan.

Your lawn, wallet, and bare feet will thank you!

 

We believe everyone everywhere benefits from a connection with nature.