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Allyn Hane, “The Lawn Care Nut,” draws on his 15+ years of professional lawn care experience to provide practical lawn care advice to homeowners and DIYers. Here, he shows you the importance of soil testing and what you can learn from it!
“On today’s Toro Yard Hack, we’re digging in the dirt and setting strategies based on what we find.
Now here in Florida, my lawn soil is mostly composed of sand with a little bit of organic material. When I lived up north, in Indiana, however, I had the challenge of working with a compacted clay lawn soil. Now pretty much all lawn soils pose their own unique challenges. What matters more are the nutrients that are naturally found and available in your lawn soil, as well as the pH levels. And that’s why I recommend soil testing at least one time per year.
A soil test will give you hard evidence as to the levels of marcro and micronutrients that are naturally existing within your lawn. Macronutrients are those you know well, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Macros are defined as such because plants need them in greater quantities and they have the most impact on turf health and vigor. Micros, like iron and zinc, are just as important to plant health but they are just needed in smaller quantities. Having unique baseline data sets like this will help you choose the proper fertilizer and other inputs for your site and also can help you reduce the use of pesticides.
This leads us to the other important part of a typical soil test and that is the pH level. This is important because having your pH out of whack can actually affect the availability of some of the macro and micronutrients we just talked about, as well as allow pests, such as weeds, to gain a foothold.
We’ll talk a lot more about the micros and the macros as well as dig deeper into pH in a future Yard Hack. But for now, if you’d like to get your soil tested, my recommendation is to check out your local County Extension Service. Most will offer soil testing services for a nominal fee, sometimes for as little as ten dollars. A lot of times, they’ll also have extension specialists to give you one-on-one advice from your results.
Lawn care strategy doesn’t have to be difficult and in fact, it can be quite fun to literally hack your lawn and a soil test is a great place to start.
For Toro, I’m Allyn Hane, The Lawn Care Nut. Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you in the lawn.”