All Of Your Soil Testing FAQs

Posted on May 17, 2021

You may have heard of the benefits of having your soil tested. But have you ever wondered what those benefits are? Or what exactly a soil test looks for? Today, we’ll explore some of the most common questions relating to soil testing.

Common Questions About Soil Testing

What Is Soil Testing?

Soil testing is basically like taking the vital signs at a doctor’s office – only you measure the vitals of your lawn. Emerald Island Lawn Service will send out a licensed professional to take about 15 samples of soil from different parts of the yard. This will give us a more accurate reading by collecting a wide range. Soil near a flower bed – that might have received fertilizer recently – may have a higher balance of nutrients than the soil in the middle of your lawn. Once we’ve collected the samples, we will compile them into a report.

What Does A Soil Test Show?

There are several things that your soil test will show you.


Macronutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K). Each helps your plants perform vital life processes, and if they’re out of balance, your lawn may not have what it needs to thrive.
Nitrogen fertilizer helps with rapid growth, which is ideal for having in the spring as the grass begins to ramp up its growing cycle. It also helps with leaf development, chlorophyll formation, and photosynthesis. Phosphorous is needed for early root growth and developing seeds. If your lawn took a beating over the colder winter months, it can help the grass bounce back and revitalize its greenness. Potassium makes your grass hardy and more resistant to droughts or stressors. Potassium also helps your turfgrass develop a robust root system and strong stems. If you’ve ever purchased fertilizer from a store, you’ll know that the bags or containers have a three-digit number like 3-1-2. This is the ratio of the different elements above. So in this example, this particular blend has three parts nitrogen, one part phosphorous, and two parts potassium. This may seem like a trivial thing, but your soil test will give you the precise numbers that your lawn has in abundance or is lacking. This allows your lawn care service technician to make informed decisions regarding the care of your lawn.


Micronutrients are just as important as macronutrients, but your grass doesn’t need as much of them. These include minerals like boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, nickel, and zinc. These elements are utilized for life processes like chlorophyll production, photosynthesis, DNA synthesis, disease resistance, and more.

pH Level Of Your Soil

Ideally, our lawns should have a pH level between 6 or 7 – either perfectly neutral or slightly acidic. However, excess rain, overwatering, or the over-use of fertilizer can cause the lawn’s pH scale to be out of balance.

What If My Lawn Is Acidic?

The most troubling consequence of an acidic lawn is that it won’t be receptive to fertilizer. You might have noticed that despite distributing fertilizer on your own lawn, the grass has not made any improvements. If this has happened to you, it could be because the soil is too acidic. A soil test will tell you for sure and save you money on fertilizer that would be rejected.

How Do You Correct An Acidic Lawn?

Lime! No, not the citrus fruit – we mean the mineral. A lime application will move the pH level back to the neutral zone where it belongs.

What If My Lawn Is Too Alkaline?

Alkaline soil is the opposite end of the spectrum from acidic soil. In order to bring your soil closer to the neutral range, you’ll need to add slightly acidic things like the following: sphagnum peat, elemental sulfur, aluminum sulfate, iron sulfate, acidifying nitrogen, or organic mulches to correct the imbalance.

What If My Soil Has Contaminants?

This is a crucial thing to be aware of – especially if you plan on having a vegetable garden or fruit trees in the future. You need to make sure the soil is safe so any food grown will, in turn, be safe to eat. Some common contaminants that may show up on your soil test include things like chlordane, arsenic, lead, heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s), and other chemicals.

Find Lawn Care Services Near Knoxville, Tennessee

Are you concerned your lawn may need a soil test? The experts at Emerald Island Lawn Service can help! Our team of licensed professionals will perform a soil test and create a detailed report of your lawn’s health. From there, we will recommend the lawn care services we think would best benefit your lawn and recommend a lawn fertilization program. We are pleased to offer lawn service to the metro Knoxville area. To learn more about soil testing or schedule an appointment, give us a call at 865-588-4497 or leave us a message online. If you’re interested in learning more about lawn care, tree and shrub care, or pest control, be sure to visit our monthly blog!

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