Soil Testing for Effective Lawn Fertilization

A look at the importance of soil testing and how lawn care professionals can read the results to promote healthier lawns.

The Role Of Soil Testing In Effective Lawn Fertilization
Sod Solutions

If you want your customers to have great lawn, you’ve got to have great soil. Working from the ground up by soil testing is the best way to make sure your customers'  yards are growing in the best environment as this directly influences how well the grass itself grows. Don’t be one of the many contractors that skip the step of soil testing. This oversight leads to spending on unnecessary fertilizers, contributing to ineffective nutrient application and potential environmental harm due to runoff into water systems.

Testing the soil is as easy as it is important for a healthy lawn as it tells you exactly what the soil needs. 

The importance of soil testing

The makeup of the soil can differ from one part of the yard to another, so it’s important to test more than one area of the lawn. Testing the soil is a key step if you want to know what nutrients it’s made of, how acidic or alkaline it is and other important details that affect the health of your lawn.

Cost-effective and eco-friendly applications

Soil testing enables a cost-effective and eco-friendly approach to lawn fertilization by precisely identifying what nutrients the soil lacks, thereby eliminating guesswork. This allows for targeted nutrients, ensuring the lawn receives exactly what it needs for optimal health without overspending on unnecessary fertilizers. Such precise application not only saves money by avoiding the waste associated with overfertilization but also prevents nutrient runoff and environmental pollution. This contributes to a more sustainable lawn care routine, ensuring the lawn remains an eco-friendly aspect of the home landscape while receiving the proper nourishment to thrive.

Interpreting soil test results

Interpreting a soil test might seem a little daunting at first, but it’s quite straightforward once you understand the basics. The results from a soil test provide valuable information about the nutrients present in your soil, its pH level and other important characteristics that affect plant growth.

Soil pH

The pH scale runs from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Numbers below 7 indicate acidic soil, while numbers above 7 mean the soil is alkaline. Most plants prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH (around 6.0 to 7.0). If the soil’s pH is outside the plants' preferred range, you’ll need to make adjustments.

Nutrient levels

The three main nutrients listed are macronutrients that plants usually need in larger amounts—nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). These are the primary nutrients that plants need to grow, and they’re often listed as N-P-K on fertilizer packages.


Lastly, look at the recommendations section of the soil test report. This part is particularly helpful because it translates the test results into actionable advice. It might suggest specific types of fertilizer, how much to apply and when to apply them. It could also offer advice on adjusting the pH level or improving soil structure and organic matter content.

Developing a tailored fertilizer plan

Once you’ve received the results of your soil test, using it is a lot like using a map to arrive at a healthy lawn. With its customized recommendations, the soil test demonstrates what your soil currently lacks or has in excess. This allows for choosing or mixing a fertilizer that meets the exact requirements of your clients' yard. Instead of guessing or using a one-size-fits-all approach, you can target specific deficiencies to make sure your yard gets the right balance of nutrients. This not only promotes healthier, more vibrant growth but also prevents was and environmental damage from over fertilization.