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It's All About The Soil

Grow your soil and the grass will follow

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It's All About The Soil

A healthy lawn can be directly linked to a healthy soil. If a lawn is struggling, weeds creeping in, under attack by insects and diseases, it may very well be the quality of your soil. A soil that is rich in organic matter can better support turf growth which reduces weed pressure and promotes drought and disease resistance as well as threat from insect infestations. In essence, your goal is to feed and care for the soil in order to build organic matter which in turn nourishes the turf.

The Importance of a Soil Test - I can not stress enough the importance of getting your soil tested. It's cheap and easy (it should cost less than $20 from your local university extension office), and it's a great starting point for creating a lawn care program. A soil test will not only explain the amount of nutrients in the soil, it will give the soil's pH and indicate the amount of organic matter present in the soil. These are all things that are important to know before applying fertilizer, lime, or compost to the lawn.  Read more...

A Closer Look at Nitrogen - Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients being used by a plant. In turf, it is responsible for color as well as shoot growth and turf density. Fertilizers high in nitrogen encourage rapid top growth and there is often a flush of growth shortly after application. Nitrogen in fertilizers can be synthesized to be slow release so that the fertilizer pellet breaks down slowly over time, offering a slow, extended feeding than can last several months. Read more...

Lime the Lawn? - Does your lawn need lime? Are you applying lime every year and have no idea why or if it's even necessary? Lime is used to adjust the pH of certain soils. A balanced pH allows plants to efficiently absorb nutrients while a pH that is too high or low weakens the turf and can create a situation for weeds and diseases to infiltrate the lawn. Depending on soil test results, certain types of lime may be more appropriate than others.Read more...

How to Analyze your Lawn Profile - It is very important to get to know your soil. That means taking a look at it once in a while. Cut into the lawn with a knife, trowel, or shovel and grab a chunk of it, smell it, squeeze it, examine it. Look at the thatch layer, look for grubs, take note of the depth of the roots and general health of the plant. Notice the soil, is it sandy? Clay? Loam? There's much to be learned from taking a look at the soil, you just need to know what you're looking for.  Read more...

Nourishing the Food Web - The food web is kind of like the engine of the soil. Hundreds, maybe thousands of relationships among microorganisms and other bugs eating, digesting, dying. Each relationship necessary for the next one to occur whether it's cycling nutrients making them available to the plant, or becoming food for fungi or nematodes. A functioning, healthy food web nourished with organic matter will naturally feed the lawn and maintain plant health thereby alleviating weed and pest pressure. Although some insects can be harmful to turf, it is important not to destroy the fragile food web by applying broad spectrum insecticides.   Read more...

Compost - The Ultimate Organic Matter- A soil should ideally be a minimum of 5% organic matter for effective nutrient cycling and functioning food web. Most soils contain 2%-3% organic matter and although that seems close, it can take several years of adding organic matter to achieve a 2% increase in organic matter. The best way to add organic matter to the lawn is to add compost. There are many varieties of compost and they can vary widely in quality and price. Read more...

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