Fantabulous Soil and Soil Testing


What is traditionally the largest live component in a landscape?  If you guessed the lawn...you guessed right!


There is something sexy about an expanse of lovely green lawn.  It beckons us in the heat of Summer as a cool respite; its bright green color in Spring is the harbinger of the growing season to come.


Year after year we apply a bastion of products, some synthetic and not-so-healthy to our large expanses of green to do just that...ensure that they are a perfect green, pristine and appear to be healthy and thriving!  This sort of care results in soil that is lifeless and basically just holds the grass blades in place.  Fertilizers with excessive, high Nitrogen, soil compaction (from weekly mowing, crazy rainfall and general traffic), and the application of herbicides/pesticides result in lawn soil that is highly acidic, lacking in earthworms or positive biota, has poor drainage and basically not able to support grass on its own.  The pH is out of whack and tipped towards a lower number on the scale (acidic, that is) and can not unlock the naturally occurring minerals that are so important for a healthy lawn.


Not to mention, your pets and children are running, rolling and playing in it.  The chemicals used can be tracked in to your home as well.  Nope, not good.  Not good at all.


We are becoming more aware of the impact of all of this "chemical warfare" in our lives, and our landscapes are an important place to also consider. Our first step in resurrecting our pathetic lawn soil is to have a Soil Test performed.  You can hire a maintenance company to provide this test, or you can do it yourself. 


One local soil testing laboratory in the Portland area is A & L Western Agricultural Labs located in Tigard, Oregon.  Follow the directions on their website; just a cup or so of soil provided by you from a variety of locations in your landscape and they will do all the testing and analyzing and follow up with a nice print out of what state your soil is in.  For a few extra bucks, they will also give you their professional suggestions for what to add to improve certain aspects for the best results.


Once you begin, it takes a few years to see the results.  Nature works on her own slow and steady schedule.


Is this the year that you change your lawn care routine for sustainable results??

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