We all want greener grass, so we load up our lawns with fertilizer and weed control and hope for the best.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t guarantee a healthy turf— and many homeowners are left scratching their heads, wondering why their grass is still patchy, discolored or anything less than brilliant.
If you really want to get to the bottom of your turf issues, it’s best to start from the ground up— literally. Your soil.
Your soil is the what holds all your grass’ nutrients, a rich paradise of microbial life, all controlling your lawn’s wellbeing.
Let’s explore some of the benefits to maintaining a healthy soil profile:
Healthy Soil is Drought Tolerant
Proper soil health practices increase your soil’s organic matter, which enlarges its water storage abilities.
Organic matter acts much like a sponge, holding water so that your soil can retain moisture even in dry conditions. In fact, even a 1% increase in organic soil matter allows your lawn to hold an additional 1.5 quarts of water per cubic foot, according to an extensive study done by Michigan State University.
Spongy, light organic matter also allows more water to penetrate your soil. Ever see someone’s lawn that pools with water and runs off post-rain? Their soil wasn’t very healthy and its dense and compact state didn’t allow for absorption.
Overall, a healthy soil profile means less watering for you when it gets hot or during brief droughts.
Healthy Soil is Disease Resistant
Think of your lawn’s soil like your body’s immune system. Nutrient-rich soil gives your grass and plant life the strength and resistance it needs to fight off disease.
If your body is low on a certain mineral, you can more easily get sick, just like your grass can be overtaken by an infection without proper protection.
A common turf disease is a fungal infection (again, just like humans get!), but there’s a long list of diseases that can destroy large portions of your grass such as mildew, snow mold, various ring spots, patches and more. Though fungicides can help in many instances, the concoctions can also further stunt your plant growth.
Luckily, a well balanced soil profile will provide your grass with resistance and deter the spread of harmful pathogens.
Healthy Soil Saves you Time, Money & Effort
A healthy soil profile means less fertilizing, less watering, less time and money spent on weed, disease control and other lawn treatments. If you invest in cultivating healthy organic matter, your lawn’s microbial life will do much of the maintenance for you.
Understanding Soil Matter Can Get Complicated
In the same way that you have to feed your body healthy foods to remain fit and strong, you too have to give your soil the energy it needs to grow vibrantly. Just like a vitamin D deficiency to you might make you fatigue and tired, or more susceptible to illness, soil has a wide variety of nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Loading your body up on vitamins it doesn’t need— let’s say vitamin B and A— isn’t going to help you feel better. It’s just like loading your lawn up with generic fertilizers might not target the actual problem.
Justus von Liebig popularized the “law of the minimum,” which states that only by increasing the amount of the limiting nutrient (the one most scarce) will your growth improve.
There’s 17 essential nutrients that play a role in the health of your soil including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium— just to name a few. Without knowledge of proper soil testing, it becomes a rather complicated process to identify which nutrients your lawn is lacking, and then to to also understand the correct ratios.
Give Your Soil the Expertise it Needs
Controlling your soil well-being involves more than just a PH balance. Although there’s a number of thing you can do to maintain a healthy lawn on your own, it’s worthwhile to have a professional lawn care expert test your soil at least once a year to know exactly what your grass needs to thrive.
Want a greener lawn? Our team at C. Caramanico & Sons, Inc. will help you identify your property’s problem areas and provide your grass with the nutrients and care it needs.