A good soil analysis is one of the most important things you can do for your lawn. A properly done soil test will assess just about everything that’s going on in your depleted soil. Is it too acidic? Too alkaline? High in magnesium?
Conducting a proper soil analysis will help you develop healthy, thick, lush green grass and produce one of the best soil test kits around will help you do this in a fast, effective way. In order to do it right, though, you need to have the right testing equipment to do it right. You need to have pH, potassium and nitrogen probes to check pH levels and trace elements for proper levels. You also need an analyzer to measure these elements out of the soil sample. Finally, you’ll need a third type of probe to determine if you have any other contaminants like weed seeds or sand in the soil sample.
Many gardeners don’t think of all of the elements in their own yard as being soil contaminants. The truth is, the lawn, flower beds and plants themselves share many of the same contaminants that can cause serious health problems in humans, should they be subjected to them. Some of the most common types of contaminants found in both the environment and in the soil are: herbicides and pesticides; lead and mercury; bacteria and viruses; and tannic acid. The best soil test kits take these elements and calculate the percentage of each in the soil sample.
If you have a garden, it’s very important to understand how to best care for your plants and the soil in those plants’ root zone. For example, the best soil test kits take magnesium and calcium out of your soil to determine how much iron and calcium your plants need. That’s because plants use up more iron and calcium when growing than do people, so you want to avoid over fertilization. Likewise, a deficiency of potassium is serious, because the plants won’t get enough of it to survive.
Plants will also absorb more nutrients from the earth’s surface if there are proper moisture and adequate air circulation around them. That’s why it’s important to keep the soil in your yard well-drained. When the soil is too dry or becomes too moist for the plants to efficiently absorb the nutrients they need, the results can be the plants turning yellow, waxy or slimy. A low pH level indicates that there is too much water in the soil, so you’ll want to water down the area with a sprinkler or even hose it down. Too little water, on the other hand, indicates that there is too much salt in the soil and no moisture, which leads to clay-like soils.
For a complete assessment of your soil’s needs, you should also include micronutrients in your arsenal. These are small minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium that are crucial to plant growth. Soil that is lacking in these substances is neither healthy nor nourishing. Most commercial and home gardens will have a variety of micronutrients included in their formulas, but sometimes you can test the soil yourself to determine what your soil really needs.
There are three main types of soil tests available: soil testing by a number of microorganisms, testing by density and soil testing by micron measurement. The number of microorganisms being tested represents what kind of microorganisms are living in your Sample Stick and the density of the sample is how packed the soil is. The micron measurement, however, is done only in large commercial and organic gardening systems.
So, what’s the difference between a and acidity? They’re two different ways soil bacteria relate to your plants. While plants do not actually “acidify,” as the name implies, they do “alkalize.” What that means is that when they need an acid to feed on, they use alkaline chemicals instead. Plants that exist in a naturally alkaline environment (where there is no oxygen) have a very efficient digestive system and are able to produce their own food. So, they don’t need any additives or fertilizers to maintain the ph levels in the soil.