What’s underneath your field is just as important as the field itself.

This is where soil tests come into play.

Last year, the Sports Turf Managers Association published an informative report titled “Utilizing Soil Tests in Nutrient Management for Sports Fields.” (Read the full report here)

A “basic” soil test will typically provide information on soil pH and the levels of the macronutrients phosphorus (P), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca).

Perhaps the most important piece of information from a soil test is the soil pH. The chemical reactions in the soil that result in nutrients transforming between plant available and/or unavailable forms are governed primarily by pH.

Regarding soil tests, labs report results as either parts per million (ppm), pounds per acre, or as a predictive index. Most laboratories report a rating indicating the relative status for each nutrient, such as:

  • Very low: A plant response is most likely if the indicated nutrient is applied. A large portion of the nutrient requirement must come from fertilization.
  • Low: A plant response is likely if the indicated nutrient is applied. A portion of the nutrient requirement must come from fertilization.
  • Medium: A plant response may or may not occur if the indicated nutrient is applied. A small portion of the nutrient requirement must come from fertilization.
  • High: Plant response is not expected. No additional fertilizer is needed.
  • Very high: Plant response is not expected. The soil can supply much more than the turf requires. Additional fertilizer should not be added to avoid nutritional problems and adverse environmental consequences.

Source: STMA