Lawn Care 101: How to Get Soil Tested in Maryland and Why It Matters

how to get soil tested

Did you know that lawn grass is one of the most grown “crops” in America?

Even though you can’t eat it, lawn still needs a lot of care to stay looking pristine.

However, sometimes, no matter what you do, your lawn just doesn’t want to grow. If your lawn is unresponsive to care, then you should look at getting a soil test done.

If this is your first time, you need to know how to get soil tested before you start. As well as what type of test to choose. Otherwise, you might just waste your money, and not get the results in your lawn that you were looking for.

Keep reading for the low-down on soil testing.

Why Get a Lawn Soil Test Done?

If you aren’t sure of the benefits of testing your soil yet, let’s take a look at some of the advantages of soil tests.

Basically, a lawn soil test gives you an insight into the condition of your soil. From this, you can then craft a tailored care program and clear up any issues that your lawn might have.

To Check Your Soil’s PH Level

If you are wondering how to test soil pH, a lawn soil test will do this.

This is very important to know because most lawn grass will prefer soil that is between pH 6.0 and 7.5.

Anything over or below this and you might run into issues such as yellowing, diseases, and prevalence of lawn moss and weeds. Soil that is either too acidic or too alkaline can effectively lockout and render certain nutrients unavailable to your lawn.

For instance, if your lawn’s soil is at pH 4, this means that no matter how much you feed it, the grass still won’t be able to take up all the nutrients in the fertilizer.

If soiling testing reveals that your soil pH is out of balance, then you can remedy it by using different pH altering products such as lime or sulfur. However, you will need to be very careful with the application, as you don’t want to swing the pH too far the other way.

To Check Your Soil’s Organic Trace Mineral Content

Besides indicating the ph of your soil, soil testing can also tell you what levels of nutrients are present.

This can be very important for effective feeding schedules. Overfeeding can be just as bad as underfeeding and result in lawn burn. At the same time, if your lawn is doing poorly, a lawn soil test might show up an essential mineral that’s lacking.

Once you find that out, you can start applying fertilizer with higher concentrations of this mineral to balance out your soil.

How to Get Soil Tested

Ready to start reaping the benefits of soil testing? Let’s now take a look at how to get soil tested.

There are two main ways to get soil testing done. You can either choose to do a DIY test, or you can leverage a professional soil testing service.

DIY Soil Testing

If you wanna get a very rough idea of what’s going on in the soil under your lawn, you can try a storebought soil test. All you gotta do is pick up a soil testing meter, and stick it into your lawn.

Once you have done that the display will indicate the pH level of the soil as well as an indication of overall nutrient levels.

While DIY soil testers are easy to use, they do not give very accurate results. They also don’t give you any details about what minerals are high or low in your soil. All they give you is a general indication of whether your soil is poor or rich.

Professional Testing

If you would like to get an accurate soil analysis done, then you will need to send your soil in to be professionally lab tested. There are a number of ways to do this.

Firstly, you can research soil testing services, extension services, or labs in your area of Maryland, contact them, and enquire if they will test your soil.

Or, you can choose to contact a good lawn care service company (such as us) who can have your soil tested.

Getting your soil tested professionally will yield the most reliable and in-depth results.

DIY vs Professional Soil Testing

When comparing DIY and professional soil testing, it’s a bit like DIY versus professional lawn care.

Doing a DIY lawn soil test is not a bad idea if you just want to get a broad idea into what your soil profile looks like. Because store-bought soil testing kits can be re-used, you can stick them into various areas of your property to satisfy your curiosity.

However, you should not rely on DIY soil testing if you want to use the results to treat your lawn. Because store-bought soil tests do not give detailed info on nutrient levels, you won’t be able to tailor a feeding program from them.

Soil Test Costs

If you buy a soil meter for DIY soil testing, this will only run you between $10 and $20. A professional soil test from a lab can cost anywhere between a few hundred to over a thousand dollars.

Although laboratory soil tests are a lot pricier, they will be able to give you more accurate results and useful results. Besides testing for organic trace mineral levels and pH, they can also tell you if there are any contaminants or heavy metals present in your soil.

Do You Need to Find a Soil Testing Service?

If your lawn is struggling, one of the ways to figure out why is to get soil testing done.

Now that you know how to get soil tested, do you need to find a professional service? If so, we would be happy to facilitate your soil testing.

Besides this, we can also create a tailored feeding and care program to get your lawn back into peak condition. If you are tired of struggling with your law, get in touch with us today for a free quote.

Fully licensed and insured, we specialize in providing professional lawn care. All of our employees are trained and go through extensive background checks. We focus on superior service and customer satisfaction is our top priority—one of the reasons why we have some of the best ratings and customer reviews in the Montgomery County area.