Sunday
Aug222010

How To Achieve Ideal Soil Conditions For Your Lawn To Thrive

There are 2 primary reasons for treating your lawn. First, and most obvious, is to provide nutrients for the grass to feed on. Second (and this is usually ignored), is to prepare the soil in a way that is ideal for your grass. If you are only putting down fertilizer to feed the lawn, you won’t see it’s full potential.
Without knowing the history of the lawn (what products were put down when and at what rate) it is impossible to know the condition of the soil. In general, most of the soil in the southeast has a hard red clay consistency. Most grasses will grow in red clay; however, the clay will not sufficiently hold nutrients for grass to thrive.


A soil analysis will provide an overview of the current nutrient levels in your lawn as well as the soil PH and levels of organic matter. A basic soil analysis can be obtained from your local co-op extension service, or contact us to get a professional soil analysis, You will receive a graphical analysis of all the nutrients in your lawn as well as the soil PH level. You will have a current snapshot of your soil which will allow you to apply the correct fertilizer formulation to address any lacking nutrients.


Ideal soil PH is 6.5 for Tall Fescue and Bermuda grasses. Your soil test will tell you exactly how much lime per 1000 sq ft to put down to reach ideal soil PH.


The soil sample also tells you the organic consistency of the soil. 95% of lawns I have tested in this area are lacking in organic matter in the soil (due to the red clay). This can be corrected by applying organic soil conditioners to the lawn  as part of your annual lawn care program. I use a fantastic organic fertilizer product (called Sustane) made up of composted turkey manure (don’t worry, it does not smell). Sustane adds the organic component to the soil resulting in better water retention and allowing the grass to absorb nutrients easily. Once your soil is rich in organics you will actually require less water and your lawn will hold up much better in drought conditions.


Synthetic fertilizers are extremely effective in providing weed control options and timely nutrients to the turf. Organic treatments, although overlooked by many lawn companies, help prepare the soil to allow synthetic treatments to work better. Ideal lawn care programs, such as the Premium Lawn Care Program offered by Whitehouse Lawns, include a balance of synthetic and organic treatments that compliment each other and result in nutrient rich soil and thriving turf.


A professional soil analysis is a no-brainer. You can’t take steps to improve your lawn without the information a soil analysis will provide. Would a doctor prescribe treatment without going through a series of tests to properly diagnose the problem?