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5 Simple Steps to Soil Testing and a Beautiful Lawn

Soil Testing

Want a beautiful lawn and save money? Sounds like the best of both worlds, but it's entirely possible. How? By testing your soil. When you know what type of soil you have, you don’t waste money on buying the wrong fertilizers and grass seed. Testing your soil sounds a little intimidating to the average homeowner, but it isn't. Here's how to test your soil, quickly and easily.

Step 1 - Get Soil Sample Boxes

Testing soil immediately brings to mind a laboratory, test tubes, vials, and deciphering tricky formulas. This isn't the way it's done. Your first step is to go to your local extension office. To find your local extension office, search online or look in the yellow pages. Tell them you want to test your soil, and they'll set you up with the soil sample boxes, forms, and instructions.

Step 2 - Gather Supplies

Not so tricky so far...right? Once you're home, gather your tools. All you'll need is a bucket and shovel. You do need to be sure the bucket and shovel are clean. You don’t want dirt from another location to get in your samples and give you the wrong test results.

Also, don’t use tools with galvanized  metal, brass, or bronze. these metals will contaminate your soil sample too.

Step 3 - Collect Soil Samples

Now it's time to collect your samples. One thing you need to be sure about is where you collect your samples. If you want a gorgeous front lawn, collect your soil in the front lawn. Don’t collect your soil from the backyard or garden. Soil can vary even on a small suburban lot.

If you want to save time and find out what type of soil you have in the front and back yard as well as the garden, do separate samples. This way, you'll know exactly what each area needs to perform in the way you want.

Using your shovel, put the dirt in the bucket and then scoop the dirt into the boxes for the sample. Each box should be 2/3 full or fill to the line if there's one on your particular sample box. As you fill each box, be sure and label the box with a name that indicates where the sample was taken.

Step 4 - Fill Out the Forms

Your soil sample kit will come with some forms. These forms will tell the extension office what you want the soil tested for - lime and fertilizer requirements or nutritional problems. You'll also be asked what type of plant material has been growing in the sample and what type you want to grow there.

Step 5 - Patience!


Once you return your soil samples to the local extension office, it will take about one week to get the results. Your results will tell you what your soil lacks in nutrients, what type of fertilizer you'll need, and how much lime to apply to your soil.

Soil tests are inexpensive. They do take a small amount of time, finding the extension office, getting your supplies, collecting the soil samples and returning the samples, but the effort is well worth it. Once you get your results, you'll know exactly what your lawn needs to grow a beautiful lawn, plants, shrubs, or garden and you'll no longer throw money away.

If you would like to have your soil tested but don’t have the time to do it, call Phillip Wheeler at Wheeler Lawn Care Service in Decatur, Al at 256-221-9775 and have the convenience of having your soil tested for you.

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