Soil testing? What is the best way?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by ranger520, Nov 25, 2002.

  1. ranger520

    ranger520 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 231

    I am just starting to dabble in the area of lawn renovations. I have gotten quite a few calls for it this fall but of coarse it was to late in the season up here to do anything so I will be looking to bid these jobs this sping. The one thing I have never done is to get soil tested and do not have a clue how to go about it.

  2. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,205

    There are a couple of routes you could go. First off, there are many kits available so you can test the soil on site. These range anywhere from $150 to as much as $800 from what ive seen. From what im told, the more you pay, the more accurate results you get. The kits are pretty easy to use and you get about 400 samples from them. The second thing you could do is find out your local soil testing lab. In CT the Univesity of Connecticut which i attend has its own lab. Anybody can send in their soil samples and the lab will test them for $4. They mail you back a readout of your pH, potassium, magnesium,calcium, phosphorus and recommendations on what should be done as far as what N-P-K fert to apply and how much lime. Check with your local universities, because many colleges countrywide do this.
  3. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,457

    I'm not saying this is the best way but this is the way that has worked for me for 2 years.

    I charge the customer $40. I come out take at least 1 cup (total) of soil from different areas of the lawn using a stainless steel tool I got from Lesco. Then I take the soil in to Lesco and let them send it off to a lab. Lesco provides small plastic sealable bags. When it comes back from the lab you get a printout of exactly what the soil is comprised of. You get recommendations including application rates. Lesco charges $11 for this service.
  4. Tony Harrell

    Tony Harrell LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 739

    The Lesco option is the best but, if you don't have a Lesco in your area you can take it to your county extension service. Use a clean bucket and take several samples from different areas of your lawn. Don't include any grass, just soil. Mix it up really good and put about a cup of soil in a ziplock baggie. This service is free here in NC.

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