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How do you test soil


Lawn Maintenance / Lawn Renovation

A great way to talk about all things lawn care related. Grass, turf, shrubs, trees, aeration, fertilization, reseeding, hydro-seeding, mowing, grub control, chemicals and pesticides. Ask questions, give answers. Grow!
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Old 02-19-2010, 02:33 PM
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Post How do you test soil

I am trying to start a lawn mowing business and everyone around me offers soil testing and I want to offer the customers the same it is set as a standerd in my area. I dont want to pay someone else to test the soil because that would raise my prices to much. Will you tell me how do you test the soil where you are at and if the soil is poor or "sick" what do you do about it?
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Old 02-19-2010, 02:41 PM
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So far I only do the soil test when I am first there (maybe once a year) and send it to the U of M soil testing lab. I always tell the homeowner that it is an investment because you really don't know how much fertilizer to apply or what amendments you need/don't need.

I haven't used the home tests.
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Old 02-19-2010, 05:03 PM
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I've seen test kits at home depot
I've used one I leave that to the spray guys
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Old 02-19-2010, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by lawn mowering View Post
I am trying to start a lawn mowing business and everyone around me offers soil testing and I want to offer the customers the same it is set as a standerd in my area. I dont want to pay someone else to test the soil because that would raise my prices to much. Will you tell me how do you test the soil where you are at and if the soil is poor or "sick" what do you do about it?
I did a lot of research into this a year ago, after all how can we make an informed suggestion if we do not know the exact problem. PH is pretty straight forward but only a small part of the puzzle.

What I found was a kit that would tell me everything I needed to know was over a grand and even then there were questions on how accurate it was.

I simply take soil samples as per instructions and send it to the Provincial Dept of Agriculture and have the results by email within three days, they charge me $10.00 I charge the client $35.00 however I know exactly what the ground needs to make the grass grow. I have yet to have a client refuse this service.

Most of the time I can tell without doing a soil sample but there were a few times last year the condition was beyond anything I had seen, for me clients don't mind waiting a few days and they respect the fact that we are using professionals to tell us what needs to be done.
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:08 AM
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What I found was a kit that would tell me everything I needed to know was over a grand and even then there were questions on how accurate it was.
Did you you ever find yourself testing the properties and getting results that your gut told you were not correct?

Also sending the sample to a government lab, does that help you sell it? I'd figure a person might pay more if they heard that is where it was being sent because it sounds more scientific and exact.

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So far I only do the soil test when I am first there (maybe once a year) and send it to the U of M soil testing lab.
How much do they charge?
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Old 02-20-2010, 11:21 AM
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Did you you ever find yourself testing the properties and getting results that your gut told you were not correct?

Also sending the sample to a government lab, does that help you sell it? I'd figure a person might pay more if they heard that is where it was being sent because it sounds more scientific and exact.



How much do they charge?
http://soiltest.cfans.umn.edu/scans%...d%20Garden.pdf

Here is the sheet that they want you to fill out

for a regular N-P-K it is like $15 and you can include other test that might, might not be needed depending on the location.

It isn't that bad of a price and again, I remind home owner of the importance before adding any fert/amendment otherwise they could be spending too much or too little on treatments.

Give me a day and I will post up what they send back. That way you can see all the helpful info that they provide!
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Old 02-20-2010, 01:41 PM
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Did you you ever find yourself testing the properties and getting results that your gut told you were not correct?

Also sending the sample to a government lab, does that help you sell it? I'd figure a person might pay more if they heard that is where it was being sent because it sounds more scientific and exact.



How much do they charge?
No Steve, the Government reports are very through and bang on accurate, keep in mind Nova Scotia is one of the largest Organic Vegetable producers in the world, the government has state of the art testing equipment.

Having the government give me a report shows the clients that we are a professional company and we do get jobs because of it, when the trunk slammer shows up with his tool box kit vs us with a letter explaining why we have the Department of Agriculture do our test results, it has worked every time and I have feedback saying our reports were very different than the company that tested the soil themselves and almost always they state, I am glad we called you.

I am a stickler for detail and accuracy in just about every area of my life, especially woodworking, this is why both companies do so well.
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