What the test report tells you
Testing your soil lets you know the status of your soil nutrition and unearths any particular shortages or excesses that you should know about – and correct.
Most importantly, lab reports give recommendations on exactly what nutrients are needed for your lawn, how much of them to apply per 1,000 square feet of lawn, and when they should be applied (i.e. all at once or broken down over multiple applications).
Besides the nutrient information, reports spell out your soil’s pH reading.
If your lawn is too acidic or not acidic enough, the report will advise on how much lime or sulfur is needed to bring the pH back into a range that’s ideally suited for good lawn growth.
A range of 6.5 to 7.0 on the pH scale is ideal for good grass growth. Lime helps make acidic lawns more neutral (7.0 is neutral), while sulfur counteracts soils that are too alkaline.
Read more on liming the lawn
Soil can be tested any time during the growing season, but early spring is a particularly good time so you have readings in hand in advance of prime lawn-fertilizing time.
Retesting every two or three years also is worth the small investment to make sure your lawn is continuing to grow under optimal nutrient and pH conditions.