Test Your Soil for a Thick, Healthy Lawn

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You can have a beautiful lawn without spending an extreme amount of money and protect our water quality at the same time.

Soil Testing KitStep 1:  Test your soil. You need to know what your starting point is and to have a baseline reading before you go out and apply lime or fertilizer. If you don’t, you may not apply enough to be sufficient and will have wasted your time and money, or you may apply too much, wasting your money and excesses can be carried into the storm water management system and into our streams and rivers. Soil testing kits from N.C. Cooperative Extension are available for pick up at the Union County Agriculture Center and at all Union County Public Libraries. The cost for analysis is FREE from April 1 – Thanksgiving and $4.00 between Thanksgiving – March 30. Directions for collecting a proper soil sample are included in the packet. You must fill in a code for the crop you are growing, so for lawns you have two choices Centipede or Not Centipede. The turn-around time for receiving your soil analysis is about two weeks. Your analysis report will include lime and fertilizer recommendations as needed for your site. If you don’t understand your report or have questions about it, you can call me at 704-283-3729 for help. 

Step 2: Fertilization at the proper time. If you are growing a cool season lawn, the ideal time for fertilizing is in the fall. Fall fertilization encourages root growth, developing a strong root system that is deeper and more resistant to injury from diseases, insects, winter cold, and summer drought. If you are growing a warm season lawn, then spring is the proper time to fertilize.

If you sample your soil and apply the proper amounts of fertilizer and lime at the appropriate time you will be on your way to a healthy, beautiful lawn. Healthy turf makes it hard for weeds to compete and become established and is more resistant to damage from disease and insects.