Soil testing is the first step to any well maintained lawn. The good news about soil testing in Shawnee, Kansas is that the ground is usually very rich in nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium.

Most soils need a “balanced fertilizer” such as a 10/10/10. These three numbers signify the amount of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) that are present in the fertilizer. As noted above, the latter two numbers (phosphorus and potassium) are likely already prevalent in your soil, so you probably only need to add nitrogen for most plants to flourish.

However, the amount of nutrients is only one aspect of soil testing. For example, is your soil type clay or loam? What is the Ph level of your soil? Is it compacted or lose? These are questions you need to ask now before you make the major time and financial commitment of lawn renovation or even maintenance of your current yard. These questions can be answered by a simple soil analysis which can be completed by your county extension office.

How to take a soil sample

Soil samples should be taken from several different areas of your lawn. Begin by digging down below the thatch level of your turf and take a small portion of the soil from 1 to 6 inches below the surface. Take several samples and place them in a plastic bag. Take one sample from the front yard and one from the back yard. The total amount of dirt only needs to be about 1 to 2 cups per sample. Take these samples to your local county extension office.

If you are soil testing in Shawnee, KS, you live in Johnson County whose extension office is located at 11811 S Sunset Dr, Olathe, KS 66061. Their phone number is (913) 715-7000. Soil samples start at $12 and there are a number of additional tests they can conduct as well. Click here for more info.