Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Soil Testing in the Orlando Area

Soil testing plays an important part in turf and landscape problem solving.

As the primary source of food, fiber and major interface with the environment, soil is the reservoir on which most life on earth depends. As part of modern turf and landscape management practices, soil tests are conducted to analyze soil composition to determine nutrient and contaminant content and other characteristics such as acidity or pH level. Soil tests are usually performed to measure the expected growth potential of a soil. Any deficiencies that need to be remedied and the potential toxicities from excessive fertility and inhibitions can be detected in soil sampling.

When conducting a soil test, elements such as phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, manganese, copper and zinc are chemically removed from the soil and measured for their "plant available" content within the sample. The quantity of available nutrients in the sample determines the amount of fertilizer that is recommended. A soil test also measures soil pH, humic matter and exchangeable acidity. These analyses indicate whether lime is needed and, if so, how much to apply.

Soil characteristics can vary significantly from one spot to another, even in a small garden or home owners lawn. Taking samples from several different areas is crucial to get the most accurate measurement of the nutrients and other organisms. An example of this is along gravel roads where the soil could have more lime from the dust from the roads settling down in the soil, or an old cow pasture where phosphorus and nitrogen counts could be higher than the rest of the property.

Sample depth is also a factor for various nutrients, and other soil components vary during the year, so sample timing may also affect results. Usually the best time when soil tests can be done is spring. Mixing soil from several locations to create an overall average, or composite sample is a common procedure.

Proactive soil testing is being used in the Central Florida area to maintain healthier lawns. While many people think about lawn care as mowing, trimming and using soil additives to enhance the condition of your grass, many don't think about soil pH. As an important factor as well, soil pH can be affected by a number of things. If care isn't used, incorrect pH values can kill off plants and grasses. It is important to check the pH of a lawn every year in order to design an appropriate watering and fertilization regiment.

Many are finding that soil analysis services are an integral part of a solid turf management plan. Soil science has provided Orlando area residents and businesses with an understanding of the physical, chemical and biological properties and processes essential to the ecosystem integrity. This understanding is important to enhancing the heath of the lawn and the ecosystem.

Let Miller Enviro-Care plan a Lawn Care Program for you based on an analysis of your soil. When it comes to your lawn, we care! Start your protection today. Call our offices at 407-359-8888 to schedule a free evaluation/estimate.

Miller Enviro-Care has over 30 years of combined experience in Pest Prevention, Termite Protection, Irrigation Systems, Sod Supply and Lawn Care Solutions. Based in Oviedo, we are in business to protect the health, food, property and quality of our environment for customers throughout the Orlando area including, but not limited to Winter Springs, Casselberry, Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Maitland, Lake Mary, Sanford, Apopka and Winter Park.

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