Fertile Soil, Happy Lawn

By Judy Yohe

Did you know that lush, green, healthy turf begins with healthy soil? To thrive, your grass relies on fertile soil that is rich in the proper nutrients. If the soil is in poor physical condition, the grass will not grow properly. A soil that is in good physical condition is loose and easy, and has proper water-holding capacity, drainage and aeration.

Healthy Soil

Soil is the foundation for grass and accumulates by decomposing plant and animal matter with aging parent (grass) material. As the components deteriorate, the elements become nutrients that feed the grass. Decomposition takes time, proper climate conditions, living organisms, and topography. This means there may be times where turf may need a boost.  Fertilization helps with that boost and supplements the soil with additional nutrients to sustain the soil’s health.

Healthy Soil

Fertilizer

Keeping your lawn fertilized will help replenish depleted nutrients in the soil – but you can’t just put any nutrient on the soil from the local hardware store and expect it to work. Knowing which nutrients are already present keeps the soil from being overfed or underfed. The acidity of the soil also directly affects how the absorption of nutrients. 

Fertilizer

Nutrients

Key nutrients for the soil include nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, with a bit of calcium, magnesium, zinc and manganese. The pH level also needs to be preserved to stabilize the absorption of the nutrients and prevent aluminum and other levels from reaching toxic stages. The soil needs to be tested every two to three years to ensure the turf has the right balance of nutrients and pH. As part of the maintenance contract, at no extra charge, SKB takes a soil sample periodically for testing by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension labs. The UGA report gives a clear picture of the minerals, nutrients and pH levels in the turf. This allows for the proper fertilization to keep your turf lush and green.

pH Level in Soil