Water Tower | La Porte City, IA

Test Your Lawn and Save

Eric Thompson, PE, CFM | with 0 Comments

Test Your Lawn and Save

The weather is finally getting warmer and Spring is in the air (although my colleagues in MSA’s Duluth office might disagree with me). Now is the time that people turn their attention to their unsightly brown lawns with dreams of lush green. Before you run off to Home Depot to pick up bags of fertilizer, wait for a moment. Think to yourself, “Does my lawn really need this?”
The soil in many yards already has enough nutrients to support a healthy green lawn. Applying fertilizer where it isn’t needed not only wastes money, but it can harm our environment. Excess nutrients wash away during rainstorms, ending up in our local waterways. Those excess nutrients promote algae blooms and harm water quality.
How do you know if your lawn needs additional nutrients? By testing the soil. An inexpensive soil test at a local lab will give you the soil pH, percent organic matter and a nutrient analysis. An analysis will also provide you with recommendations for fertilizing.
The following labs can help you test your soil:
In addition to testing your soil, here are some other suggestions that will keep your lawn healthy and our lakes and rivers clean:
  • Mulch lawn clippings and leave them on your lawn. The will decompose onsite and provide a natural fertilizer.
  • Use phosphorus-free commercial fertilizers. Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin have statewide bans on phosphorus fertilizers unless there is a demonstrated phosphorus deficiency or the homeowner is trying to establish new turf. Local communities may have their own additional regulations on the use of phosphorus fertilizers. Homeowners should buy their fertilizer locally to be sure they are complying with these regulations.
  • Avoid the need for herbicides by pulling weeds by hand.
  •  Choosing fertilizers with at least 25%- 50% of the nitrogen in slow release form.
Do your pocketbook and the environment a favor. Get your soil tested today.

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