what is a soil test?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Feb 23, 2004.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    i hear over and over about getting a soil test done before seeding, prescribing a fert program, sodding, etc. can someone tell me, what is a soil test? how do you get one? how much does it cost? how long does it take? quite frankly, i have never tested soil other than the old ph meter. i DON'T put down lime, fert, etc before sodding, and have never, ever, lost even one piece of sod. i DON'T take soil tests, and my programs, and seeding jobs are second to none. so, how important is it, and how much does it cost, how is it done. thanx
     
  2. KenH

    KenH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,622

    To me it is very important. We walk around the site, take random samples, mix together, and send a cupful to our local extension service. They test the soil and tell you everything you could possibly want to know, ie. % sand,silt,clay, organic matter, nutrient levels, pH, metals, what could be done to fix it depending on what type of crop you are planting, etc. I havent sent any smaple yet this year, but as of last year it was only 7$ per sample.
     
  3. tx_angler

    tx_angler LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 278

  4. tx_angler

    tx_angler LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 278

  5. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Posts: 1,557

    In NC soil samples are free through the department of agriculture, soil conservation dept. I admit after a while of taking the samples in our soils, and they all com eback the same, i dont take as many samples anymore. Only take them now if something has happened to shrubs, or when grass wont grow in certain areas.
     
  6. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    thanx, i'll give them a call right now. also, is the test charged to the client? or you absorb the cost of soil tests for all of your prospective clients?
     
  7. Doster's L & L

    Doster's L & L LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 616

    You will absorb the cost by applying the lime, fert, ect. You will make huge profits from applying this stuff. for a small lawn up to 3/4 Acre, you can make $6 per 1000 to fertilize. To lime, i charge by the bag because sometimes you will need 80lbs per K and other times you will only put down 30 lbs per K. The more you put down, the longer it takes. ***REMEMBER THIS*** Don't put more than 50lbs per K of lime at a time. I charge $10 per 40 lb bag and i apply it. This is for the same lawn (3/4 Acre). The lime will cost you about $3 per 40 lb bag. You will need a mulch spreader as well. I recommend Spyker spreaders. www.spyker.com
     
  8. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    actually, we charge like $12 per thousand for applications. but, if i do soil testing for every client i estimate, before reccomending a program, i'm just afraid it will be counterproductive. i just called the extension office, thier fee is $10 per sample, and the results take 5-7 days to come back. so this means, when a client calls for an estimate on service, i can't quote them a price till the samples come back,thus leaving the door wide open for the other 15 vultures to pursuade the client to sign. the initial 10 bucks comes out of my pocket, not to mention the fuel and time consumed in going over to the property, and taking the samples, then, i can't even leave with a sale, cus i need the test results first? i'm not sure i like this. is this the way you guys do it?
     
  9. Doster's L & L

    Doster's L & L LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 616

    try this link bobby. http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=62135
    To summarize what it says, you can get a pH meter and walk around, and take an average of the soil pH. If you know how many pounds of lime you need per tenth your pH is low, you can give them a price pretty easily on the spot.
     
  10. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    Bobby, I don't know if you have a Lesco nearby, by the one I went to said they "usually" will do soil tests at no charge.
    I'm assuming "usually" appplied to regular customers (although, I had never been in there before and they gave me that info.).
     

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