In order to have healthy, productive plants, you must start with fertile, healthy soil. Good soil retains water, releases nutrients for plants and grass, and drains well. Your garden’s soil must contain adequate nutrients, optimum pH, and organic matter to be healthy and fertile. Oftentimes guessing means too little or too much fertilizer, resulting in unhealthy plants and threatening water sources.

A soil test is necessary for determining what exactly is in your soil, and aids lawn care companies in tailoring their lawn care services to better match the exact needs of your plants. Here are some reasons we recommend soil testing for homes in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ankeny, and the surrounding central Iowa areas.

What Is Soil Testing & How Does it Work?

Soil tests provide a detailed analysis of your soil’s pH and the most important nutrients needed for soil: phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese, and iron. A soil test will tell you what nutrients your lawn and plants need to grow, and will recommend the type and amount of fertilizer to add to your soil.

For a soil test, several collections of soil are taken from approximately six inches deep, and from several different spots on your lawn. These soil samples can then be tested at home, by a professional like A+ Lawn & Landscape, or taken to a laboratory for further analysis.

Testing Your Soil Helps You Better Understand Your Lawn Care Needs

New plants are growing in the soil of this yard in Ankeny, IA.

Knowing your soil’s exact pH and nutrient levels allows us to customize your lawn care. If your soil’s pH level isn’t in the correct range, plants cannot take up nutrients in the soil. A soil test takes out the guesswork involved in trying to figure out what nutrients your soil needs.

Soil testing tells you exactly what’s in your soil and how much of each type of nutrient, as well as the nutrients that are lacking in your soil. With this knowledge, we can make better choices for your fertilizer, making sure to pick ones that have the most nutritional value for your particular lawn and landscape plants.

Soil Testing Is Needed for Healthy Plants

Sometimes it isn’t easy to determine if your plants are starving or suffering from nutrient deficiency. Plants won’t yell at you to feed them, but they will eventually show their unhappiness by displaying stunted growth, losing their color and vibrancy, and in extreme cases, dying. Soil testing helps you catch nutrient deficiency before it progresses too far and informs you of the current health of your lawn and how to improve it if needed.

Your soil’s pH levels directly affect the available nutrients for your grass and plants. Being able to determine what nutrients your plants need is vital to supplying the right nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong.

Testing your soil is necessary for determining what nutrients your soil needs to help your plants grow strong and healthy.

Soil Testing Leads to Less Fertilizer Waste

Fertilizing your lawn and plants without knowing what nutrients are in your soil or how many there are, leads to over-fertilization, fertilizer burn, and increases the risk of soil erosion. Knowing the exact chemical compounds in your soil allows us to determine the quantity and type of fertilizer needed. Too many nutrients cause an imbalance that can lead to runoff and water contamination, but too little will leave your plants starving.

If your soil has a low pH on the acidic side, approximately 50 percent of the fertilizer you apply to your lawn is unavailable to the grass because the blades can’t absorb the needed nutrients and minerals. Half your fertilizer is going to waste and your lawn will lose its color and die because it’s unable to soak up the nutrients it needs from your soil. Testing your soil prior to fertilizing and receiving informed fertilizer recommendations prevents over-fertilization and reduces chemicals going into our water sources.

Looking to have your soil professionally tested?

Testing your soil is the first step to making informed decisions about the health of your lawn and plants. At A+ Lawn & Landscape, we use your soil tests to provide the best compost and fertilizer options that will maximize your lawn’s health and growth and keep your soil at its very best.

Call us today at (515) 289-2020 to get started with testing your soil.