Plant food and fertilizers are all made with their ingredients mixed in accurate proportions. However, the ground is not chemically inert and substances within it mix with the fertilizer and alter the composition of nutrients. This is why soil testing should be an essential part of your winter lawn care.
Ph level – the most important parameter to measure
The best Ph level for lawns is slightly acidic 5.8-6.5, just under the neutral 7. If it becomes too alkaline the absorption of iron, zinc, and manganese is affected, which may lead to iron chlorosis and other problems. If it is too acidic, these and other elements may be absorbed in excessive quantities and become toxic to the plant. Acid affects the transmutation of the main nutrient nitrogen into a form available to the root system, meaning a lot of fertilizer applied would be wasted.
Soil testing with or without equipment
There are multiple ways to test the Ph at home. You can dig a small hole in the ground, fill it with distilled water, and test with a commercial probe. If you don’t have probing equipment you can use vinegar and baking soda. Add vinegar to a sample. If it fizzles it is alkaline. If not, add water and baking soda to a new and clean soil sample. If the mixture fizzles now, it is acidic.
An affordable and accurate solution is to have a sample tested by a professional who can help you with various aspects of winter lawn care. Simply Green provides analysis which also shows the levels of minerals important for maintaining correct chemical balance in the ground to ensure that your plants receive proper nutrition.