Why You Should Test Your Soil This Season
Unearth the Benefits
November 16, 2023
Now that most of the leaves have fallen from the trees, shift your gaze from the sky to the soil. Okay, look beyond the pile of leaves. Focus on what’s giving your plants life. Learn about the importance of testing soil in the fall and how it can help your yard and garden bounce back beautifully in the spring.
Why Test the Soil at All
Soil is a vital factor in plant health. When you conduct a soil test, you determine what essential nutrients—like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium—are lacking. With this information, you can determine what fertilizer the soil needs to balance levels for optimal plant growth.
Testing Soil in the Fall
So, why now? After a full growing season, you’ve seen what plants thrived and which ones didn’t. Some plant problems stem from poor quality soil. When you test the soil now and understand the levels, you still have time to apply the appropriate fertilizer before the winter freeze and dormant season sets in. The soil is also still warm enough to absorb nutrients to help support future plant growth.
Since most of the plants have died for the season, you’re also left with more exposed soil. Not only does this make it easier to test, but it’s more clear which areas are prone to erosion. With this knowledge, you can implement control measures—such as cover cropping or mulching—to protect your soil from winter’s eroding wind and excessive snow melting.
While you’re collecting soil, take note whether or not the area is compacted or pooling water. Poor drainage also creates more plant problems in the future. Help correct these issues by aerating the soil, reseeding bare spots, and mulching areas to enhance soil structure.
Why You Don’t Want to Wait
It’s not worth applying fertilizer or seed in the winter while the ground is frozen. If you wait until spring, any fertilizer may not have enough time to fully take effect before you plant anything. Testing soil in the fall and acting on the findings is a proactive way to help support your plants—both annuals and perennials.
When you take care of your yard and garden, not only are you improving the look of your property, but you’re also doing a service for the environment. Limiting erosion helps prevent nutrient runoff and the possibility of contaminating water sources. When you test your soil and pinpoint the specific needs, you’re also less likely to use unnecessary fertilizers, chemical enhancers, or weed control products.
While there are easy-to-use soil test kits available at your local garden store, you can also contact Elite Tree Care for expert care and service of your lawn and garden. You don’t have to wait until spring to do something beneficial for your yard. Act now and prepare your soil to provide for your garden from the ground up.