The Importance of Soil Testing

A healthy lawn or garden starts with healthy soil.


With all the attractive marketing and clever gimmicks that exist in the world today, it’s no wonder the right information is so difficult to come by. The internet is such a wonderful place, isn’t it? All you need to do is type “lawn care” in a search engine and, voila! More than 2 billion results at your fingertips… a bit daunting, isn’t it? How do you know, then, when you’ve finally found the right information?

Well, I can’t really answer that. Let me put it this way: Would you ask your chiropractor to give you investment advice? Maybe, but I’ll bet you would sooner place your hard-earned money in the hands of a trusted financial advisor. With that in mind, I ask you now to trust the knowledge of a team of soil scientists, agronomists, and biological researchers when it comes to the needs of your soil.


With so much information available on the topic of soil health, this article can only scratch the surface. If you retain nothing else, I ask you to at least remember this:


There is no one-size-fits-all solution to plant nutrition.


Plants, like us, require a balanced diet in order to grow and thrive. The phrase everything in moderation is most often used when we talk about food, but it can be applied to plant nutrition as well. Without a soil test, you can never be sure what your plants are missing.


Much like the human body, nutrient deficiencies can result in a compromised immune system, changes in pigment and even developmental delays. All of which are great reasons to ensure sufficient nutrient levels. Caution must be exercised, though, as an over abundance of essential nutrients can be equally detrimental.

Soil conditions can be broadly generalized based on soil data from a particular region. Soils in southwestern Ontario, for example, are typically high in calcium and low in magnesium. It is important to note that, even for a relatively small region, fertility needs cannot be generalized. Regional data can, and should, be used to formulate proper fertilizer blends. However, the combination and rate at which these blends should be applied needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.


There are many components at play when it comes to soil conditions, even in a residential setting. Next door neighbours are unlikely to receive an identical fertility program from A&L Canada Labs. Whether you have altered these conditions or not, it is entirely possible that a previous owner has done so without your knowledge. Aeration, irrigation, and fertilization are just a handful of practices that could have resulted in differing conditions.


Fertility requirements fluctuate based on end use, soil structure, nutrient availability, and more. The availability of each individual nutrient is also dependent upon a number of factors. These include – but are not limited to – pH, soil texture, and interactions between different nutrients.


The experts at A&L Canada Laboratories take all of these variables into account when making recommendations. 'Your Nutrition Program' has been developed from this expertise and has been designed to provide you with a lawn and landscape nutrition program that is specific to your needs.





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