Healthy Green Grass – Country Club Lawn and Tree
The quality of soil that is on your property has a lot to do with the health of your lawn.
For a soil analysis, we collect twelve or more cores which will then be combined into one composite sample. The samples will include soil from the surface to a depth of 2-4 inches. We take a minimum of two cups of soil per sample to test.
We take a soil sample from each section of your yard. Usually this means, for example, one sample in your front yard, each side yard, and the back. If you have a problem area where plants do not seem to grow well, we take a separate soil sample from that location. Each sample represents only one soil type or area for each of the locations.
Soil test results usually take between 1-2 weeks to be analyzed. You will be contacted with the results and supplied a copy of the report. We will go over the information and make recommendations accordingly.
*Soil tests only performed on currently active accounts!
THE MORE YOU KNOW
WHY ARE (PH) LEVELS SO IMPORTANT IN ILLINOIS?
It’s because soil acidity, or alkalinity, directly affects all plant growth. If a soil is too sour or too sweet, plants cannot take up nutrients such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). And plants need specific amounts of those compounds—just like we need proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins to grow—to thrive and fight off disease and stress. Nutrient uptake and Ph. Soil is like the human body. Too much salt is harmful, and it needs just the right amount of water. If it’s too sour or too sweet, nobody likes to live around it. When its chemical balance is out of whack, it suffers wear and tear. It needs testing by professionals on a regular basis. It’s likely to prefer drinking over eating, and too much P is definitely a detriment!
INTERPRETING YOUR SOIL TEST RESULTS FROM COUNTRY CLUB LAWN AND TREE SPECIALISTS, INC.
An excess or deficiency of any one of the nutrients in the soil can increase or decrease the pH reading. Calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium all have an effect on the alkalinity of a soil. Our goal is to balance the soil in a way that will, in turn, bring the pH closer to 6.5. A pH of 6.5 is desired because this is the level at which most nutrients are readily available.
Phosphorus is an essential element and is classified as a macronutrient because of the relatively large amounts of P required by plants. Phosphorus is one of the three nutrients generally added to soils in fertilizers. One of the main roles of P in living organisms is in the transfer of energy. Organic compounds that contain P are used to transfer energy from one reaction in order to drive another reaction within cells. Adequate P availability for plants stimulates early plant growth and hastens maturity. Although P is essential for plant growth, the mismanagement of P in the soil can pose a threat to water quality. The concentration of P is usually sufficiently low in fresh water so that algae growth is limited. When lakes and rivers are polluted with P, excessive growth of algae often results. High levels of algae reduce water clarity and can lead to decreases in available dissolved oxygen as the algae decays, conditions that can be very detrimental to game fish populations.
The desired value of potassium is 5%, but we like to see it closer to 7% for lawns and trees. Potassium is the most critical factor in a lawn’s ability to withstand wear and tear. In trees, potassium helps give stalk strength. Potassium has been referred to as the poor man’s irrigation, because potassium will help a plant through droughts more than any other nutrient. Calcium (Ca) we use sulfur to drive calcium down. A high level of Ca takes up a majority of the space in the soil, preventing the efficient uptake of other nutrients. Calcium is needed to feed the microorganisms and affects the permeability of plant cell walls and the thickness of stems.
Magnesium is important for photosynthesis and acts as the glue in a soil. Too much Mg in a soil causes compaction and tightness, creating major problems. The desired percentage is 11%. Many soils have a low Mg level at around 4% – 7%. The actual amount of Mg in a soil can be figured by subtracting 69% from the percentage of Ca found in the soil test, then adding that figure to the Mg percentage. This demonstrates the amount of Mg that is being tied up by Ca and therefore unavailable to a growing plant. But until Mg is above 11%, the Mg will be a limiting factor as a plant nutrient.
Normally, sodium is not a concern. Some neighborhoods have salt problems created by incorrect watering, which causes the salt to accumulate. Watering for short periods of time frequently can cause a sodium build-up. We recommend one inch of water per week, without causing excessive runoff. This schedule will flush the harmful salts out of the root zone. Major problems arise when the level of sodium is higher than the potassium. Sodium and potassium are similar elements and plants will take up the sodium instead of the potassium, causing cells in the plant to die.
A calculated value from the release of humus. Nitrogen is necessary for the formation of every cell. A large amount of available nitrogen—such as found in synthetic fertilizers—causes the humus to burn out and creates rapid unhealthy growth in plants.