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Soil testing kit from local hardware stores?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by JFGauvreau, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,298

    Just wondering if I should be using some soil testing kit both from local hardware stores?

    They are not so expansive and they tell you the pH level along with the NPK ratio.

    I'm interested in knowing in what calculation form will it say the NPK?

    I never used a soil testing kit before but i'm planning on using some this year to know exactly if I need more nitrogen in the lawn or if it has to much potassium etc.

    How difficult is it to use?
  2. 44DCNF

    44DCNF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,563

    I think the cheaper sets advise high, low, and adequate, and maybe very high/very low. You make a color reference of the finished solution to a chart from the kit, or tinted windows on the sample vials, much like testing pool water if you are familiar with that. You will need to not be color blind and have good eyes for slight color differences.
  3. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,298

    Yes I remember now. I am in fact familiar with pool water test, the color charts your talking about.

    Would there be a chart somewhere on the internet that tell you for example KBG should have a X level of nitrogen while Fescue should have a X level of nitrogen?
  4. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    These test kits for lawns are for the homeowner and not very accurate to say the least.
    I say this for the pool kits also.
  5. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,298

    Probably not the best accurate but at least better than not taking any soil tests?

    I really don't see any homeowners using those kits anyways. What kind of more accurate test would you suggest?
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,717

    Send it to Guelph.
    I tried those kits years ago. It was difficult to judge tiny color differences in muddy water, comparing them to printed charts. Came out low, med or high.

    Most labs do not test for nitrogen as such tests are meaningless--nitrogen changes too fast, very mobile, different after 24 hours.

    Take a few tests and get samples from your customers--after a year or two you will know about what to expect in your area.

    That said, I often used an inexpensive pH meter during estimates and checking problem lawns. Quick and easy. Accurate--fair. Ignore anything beyond the decimal point.
  7. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,298

    Ya thanks, that's my whole plan, just to use something quick and easy to determine that to do the with the lawn. Last year I didn't use one, and was always using a 25-5-15 fertilizer with 50% slow release that always seems to work on every lawn.

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