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Let’s Talk About - Soil Tests

Posted: Sep 17, 2019

You’ve had another successful season, things are winding down and now its time to plan for next year. At this point, now is a good time to get the information you need to ensure you have the successful year you’re envisioning.  Testing your soil is the starting point and foundation of any healthy turfgrass regimen. A soil test gives you a solid understanding of the chemical and sometimes physical properties of your soil.

Why its Important

In our industry, we perform soil tests because we believe there is significant value in fully understanding a property before recommending products. Avoiding or skipping this step would be considered mismanagement and would do you a disservice.  It's important to us at BrettYoung that what we recommend is actually what you need to be successful. As we know, Canada is made up of many varying soil types and there are many variances in construction materials, water quality, and turfgrass construction methods. All of these have a great impact on how your turf will perform and the only way to get a true understanding is to start with a soil test. From here we will be able to help you make educated and insightful decisions about what exactly your turf requires.

When and How Often?

Once you begin testing your soil, we recommend performing a test twice per year. Now you are faced with two options; a fall or a spring soil test. Fall is great because it gives you plenty of time throughout the winter to learn, plan and make educated and informed decisions about what you believe is best for your turf come spring. A fall evaluation will also show you the effects of your irrigation water throughout the year and for many, effluent irrigation water is the cause of most turf issues due to the tied up nutrients in the soil from Sodium or Bicarbonates in the water.

Although fall is a great time to test, spring will produce better test results. This is because there is a natural flush that usually takes place during the winter and spring thaw, due to snow or rainfall during these months. Spring results will also tell you what can be done with acidifying products. Depending on your situation, spring may be a good time to perform a test, especially when you are already quite familiar with your soil. This would usually mean your program requirements will likely have fewer adjustments. However, it's important to consider, with may other things happening on a property in the spring, it may not allow for the most thorough evaluation or decision making.

We’re here to help you make the right decision

When you're ready to perform an analysis on your property, our BrettYoung reps are ready and able to help you with your soil test needs by ensuring your tests are taken correctly and measured by an accredited lab specializing in turfgrass to ensure the highest quality standards are met.

What these results mean for you

Once your soil test has been taken and you receive your results, you’re probably wondering – what does it all mean? Well for starters, we always recommend taking a chemical extraction and paste extraction test. The Chemical Extraction will provide information about the physical properties of your soil, which essentially means, “what your plants live in”. If your results indicate that you have a higher calcium level in your soil, you likely have a porous, calcareous soil that will drain well but has limited micronutrient availability. If you discover that you have a higher magnesium level, it’s possible you have tighter soils, with finer particles that tend to hold moisture and are poorer draining. A Paste Extraction will tell you “what your plants live on”. This will give you information on what nutrients are soluble and plant available and what nutrients aren’t. This is a great way to see phosphorus and micronutrient availability.

With both Chemical and Paste Extraction tests you will have a complete picture of your soils, and your BrettYoung rep will assist you in the explanation of both of these scenarios, what they mean and how to manage your individual soils for best results.


To learn more about your soil’s health, book an appointment with your local BrettYoung Sales Rep today.
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