What is Soil Testing?

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hand testing soil

Soil testing is a scientific process used to assess soil's chemical, physical, and biological properties. We use soil testing in the lawn care industry to help with growing healthy grass, but there are several other benefits and things to know when it comes to testing your soil's pH.

Soil Testing For Lawns

By conducting soil tests for your lawn, you can avoid over-fertilization, prevent nutrient imbalances, and provide your lawn with the precise nutrients it requires, among other things. This promotes healthy grass growth and contributes to environmental sustainability by minimizing nutrient runoff into waterways. Soil testing is best left to the professionals, but you can buy DIY soil test kits to complete a basic one yourself.

Benefits of Soil Testing

Soil testing offers a range of benefits that contribute to effective land management, improved plant growth, and sustainable agricultural and gardening practices. Some key benefits of soil testing include:

  • Optimized nutrient management
  • Environmental protection
  • Improved plant health
  • Sustainability
  • Gardening success
  • Informed land use decisions

How to Test Soil pH

Testing soil pH at home is a straightforward process and can give you valuable insights into the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. Here's how you can test soil pH at home using a DIY soil testing kit:

What You'll Need:

  • DIY soil pH testing kit (available at gardening centers or online)
  • Clean container
  • Soil samples from different areas of your garden

Steps:

  1. Collect Soil Samples: Use a soil probe, trowel, or shovel to collect soil samples from various locations in your garden. It's a good idea to gather samples from different areas to account for potential variations in soil pH.
  2. Prepare Samples: Remove any debris, rocks, or organic matter from the soil samples. Mix the samples together in a clean container to create a composite sample.
  3. Follow Kit Instructions: Each DIY soil pH testing kit comes with specific instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully to ensure accurate results.
  4. Moisten Soil: Some kits require you to moisten the soil before testing. Follow the instructions on how much water to add and how to mix it with the soil.
  5. Perform the Test: The kit will typically provide pH testing strips or a color-changing solution. Insert the testing strip or add a few drops of the testing solution to your soil mixture as directed.
  6. Observe Color Changes: The testing strip or solution will change color based on the pH of the soil. Compare the color change to the pH color chart provided in the kit.
  7. Read the pH: Match the color of the testing strip or solution to the corresponding pH value on the chart. This value indicates the pH level of your soil.
  8. Interpret the Results: Based on the pH value you obtained, you'll have an idea of whether your soil is acidic (pH below 7), neutral (pH around 7), or alkaline (pH above 7).
  9. Make Adjustments: If your soil's pH is not within the desired range for the plants you're growing, you can make adjustments. For example, adding lime can raise soil pH, while adding sulfur can lower it.

Remember that DIY soil pH testing kits can provide a general idea of your soil's pH, but they might not be as accurate as professional laboratory tests. Consider hiring a Chesapeake lawn care company if you need precise pH information for specific crops or plants. 

Professional Soil Testing in Virginia

Agronomic Lawn Management offers professional soil tests at the start of all our lawn care services to ensure we provide the best treatment for your lawn. Not all soil is the same, and we shouldn't treat it as such! If you're looking for soil testing and lawn care in Virginia, call us for a free estimate today. 

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