How to Test Your Soil
Why a soil sample?
Click for Soil Test Form

A soil sample will establish the requirements of your soil to support your new lawn. If the soil pH is too low (as is common in New England) plants are not able to absorb all of the nutrients in the soil and much of the fertilizer that you apply will be wasted. With corrected pH, you will save money and have a healthier lawn.

With a small trowel, dig up a small amount of soil from 6-8 different places, two inches below the surface around your lawn, and mix together. By taking soil from several places, the test will give a better cross section of your lawn. You will need about 1 cup of soil total. Let the soil dry on a piece of paper. Pour the dried soil into a resealable plastic bag and close. Attach an address label to the bag. Click here to download the order form from the University of Massachusetts. Print the form and select the "Standard Soil Test" ($10). For details on interpreting soil tests go to Interpreting Test Results. For more info go to UMass Dept. of Plant and Soil Sciences.

Follow the instructions on the form. Package your soil sample and mail to the address listed on the form. Add your e-mail to the form for faster results. In 7-10 days you will receive the results of your soil sample. It will include recommendations on how much lime and fertilizer you will need, along with other important information.

Your results page will look similar to this:

In the sample shown, 68 lbs of limestone per 1000 sq ft is recommended.

Fertilizer need is: 1-2 lbs of nitrogen, 4 lbs of phosphorus, and 2 lbs of potassium per 1000 sq ft. This can be accomplished by using: a 5-10-5 fertilizer at 40 lbs per 1000 sq ft OR a 15-25-10 starter fertilizer at 15 lbs per 1000 sq ft and 1 lb per 1000 sq ft of 0-0-60 muriate of potash.

It is recommended to retest 1 year after turf is established. This will correct any soil deficiencies and help maintain a proper pH level. Giving you a green and healthy lawn for years to come.