Lawn care + Soil testing? Do you actually do it?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by JDUtah, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    So there is a lot of background reading to bring me to this point but a basic summary is this...

    The ultimate goal of organics is to create a healthy environment where nature is in balance so you do not need to spend an overabundance of effort and resources on maintiang the property.

    Properties that have had ignorant/neglectful care have been thrown off balance and need help to be restored to their equilibrium.

    Microbes play a significant role in the BALANCED ecosystem (soil food web), but their prominence in chemically fertilized soils is still debatable?

    Hence, the best rout to restore a property to its natural and healthy function is to have a soil test done which includes testing the pH, salinity, texture, P, K, Nitrate-N, micronutrients, sulfate, and organic matter. Then have a bioassy that tells you what of these the plant is actually absorbing from the soil. (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Na, S, B, Fe, Zn, Mn, Cu)

    You then make educated decisions to what minerals, nutrients, organic matter, and microbes need to be replenished in order to restore the balance.

    Once you achieve that balance you basically use proper mowing and cultural practices to sustain the healthy environment. (Great if you mow and care for the property :) )

    So my question is this, how many of you actually have a thorough soil test and bioassy done for every property (at least the first & second year)?

    And second, do you charge the customer for the test directly?

    Or do you offer a complete care package with a monthly rate and include the test in that cost? (The tests out here run around $100)

    I do not see the customer really jumping for joy just for a test unless they are really educated, which I doubt (that is probably why they are paying us to pull off a successful organic program on their property).

    PM's welcome if you don't want to share it with the world. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    most of the time an exception might be next door does not get one, or 3 houses in a row, one test with a mix of yards.
     
  3. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    I knew you would answer something like that! :cool2:

    So as I learn more of the 'organic' way it is a lot more pro-active. Which is good and in hind site obviously a more professional way to handle landscape maintenance in general.

    Less- run over here and make it green, run over here and mechanically remove the thatch that you caused, run over here and chemically treat the disease that you let break out, then run over here and treat the bugs, then run over here and spray the whole lawn with herbicide because it let 5 weeds grow through it, then back to round two of the quick green up to start the process again.
     
  4. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    we do have a good lab here and we have a soil test kit of our own.
     
  5. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Does your soil test kit only do npk, or do you do micronutrients and OM as well? Also, do you still send the bioassy out? And lastly, do you test every year?
     
  6. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    Tests for nitrate nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, aluminum, sulfates, ammonia nitrogen, nitrate, nitrogen, chlorides, ferric iron, calcium, humus, ph and some other neat stuff, then the microscope is used and a sample sent off.
     
  7. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Tree, searching the net finds test kits for all those that = about $6-$9 a test. If you don't mind, how long on average does it take to perform all the tests for a given sample? (including cleanup)
     
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Shame on you :nono:
     
  9. dtally

    dtally LawnSite Member
    Male, from Rock Hill, SC
    Posts: 82

    We test a lot of them, but not all. It really depends on the age of the property, how much chem was put down, it's a judgment call. We use Logan Labs www.loganlabs.com. they seem do be very reasonable and have a very fast turn around. They e-mail the results. They also do tissue test, compost test and water quality test.
     
  10. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    shame??? so a bankrupt company is better??? or lose the yard to a chem guy because of the test cost???? gfys!!! maybe if there was some help from the great beyond we could all be as perfect and our sh*T wont stink
     

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