For many years I have denied that my lawn was lacking in grass and overflowing with weeds. I can no longer ignore the issue. So I've been trying to improve the grass to weeds ratio but I am trying to accomplish it in an environmental friendly way. The best way to improve your chance of growing grass in a green friendly manner is to test your soil to determine its pH and determine which nutrients it's lacking. You need a perfect balance in order to enable grass to grow on your lawn. Think of your lawn as your body. You need to feed it a balanced diet in order to keep healthy.
Well at least I've had a few lawn guys come around and tell me this. The problem is that lawn testing is expensive. I think last year I got a quote from a landscaper of $75 for testing a sample and since my property is on the larger side, I need more than one sample. So when I saw the Soil Test Kit on Edmund Scientific, I thought it was a no brainer.
My one complaint about the actual product was that the directions weren't detailed enough. The first step of doing a soil test is getting a soil sample. You would think it would be simple; scoop up some soil and then test it. Well its not that simple. And the biggest problem was that the soil collection information was in a different pamphlet from the instructions for testing the soil (this is the second step). Luckily for me that I recalled from speaking to my local extension office last year that you need to get a few soil samples from various parts of the yard and then let it dry out before you can test it. Otherwise, I would have just tested the first handful of moist soil I came across. It was also annoying that since the soil has to dry out, that the first step takes at least 24 hours (but you can't avoid that step with any kit).
After you collect the soil, there are four soil tests that you can run: (1) pH test, (2) phosphorus test, (3) nitrogen test and (4) potassium test. You essentially mixed your soil sample with different solutions and tablets. The good thing about the kit is that it had everything (other than the soil) needed to conduct the test. So, you didn't have to conduct one test, then go run and wash a test tube to run the next test. It also had color charts to help you figure out the solution. My children could have figured out the results by looking at the easy to read color charts.
Essentially, the soil tests told me that my soil is missing every kind of nutrient that it needs. That's probably why I have about 10 blades of grass on my lawn and everything else is weeds.
Overall, I thought the kit was very good. If you are the type of person who likes science experiments and has the patience for this type of stuff, you will love it. Seriously, after collecting the soil for testing, I felt a little bit like a mad scientist. It would probably be lots of fun for kids 10 and older.
If you are interested in the product, you can check it out here .