Green Dreams Landscape Management, Inc. takes a yearly soil sample of your landscape areas, so we can provide you with the best information possible to maintain or repair any and all areas of your outdoor living spaces. These soil samples are sent to the state so they can be tested. The results from the tests give us a guide to help your landscape have the best opportunity to perform. In the attached result sheet you will see Lime Recommendation, N-P-K Fertilizer Recommendation, and the Additional Test Results (micro-nutrients). I will try to explain these as best and as briefly as possible.
Most North Carolina soils are naturally acidic. This means we need to keep an eye on the pH levels of the soil. This is particularly important around this area because we have a very sandy soil, which allows our lime and nutrients to leach through at a more rapid rate. Lime helps to neutralize the acidity of the soil to help produce optimum growth of ornamental trees, shrubs and lawns. As you will see on the left hand side of the soil test they give you the lime recommendations and a graph to see where your soil falls in the range. If you fall on the lower end of that range, the lime recommendation will reflect a higher rate depending on how acidic your soil is. If you fall on the higher end of the graph, we will need to either chemically or naturally decrease your soil from an alkaline state. If your pH level falls in the optimum range, it is our recommendation that you still apply a low rate of lime to maintain that level. This is very important, because as I mentioned earlier our sandy soil leaches at a very high rate, and by this time next year you could possibly have a low pH.
With Fertilizer we have the same issue with sandy soil. Everybody needs to apply fertilizer to there landscape. Whether it is a manmade product or an organic natural product. On the right hand side you will see the N-P-K Fertilizer recommendations graph. To understand this, you will need to know what the letters stand for and what they actually do. The N stands for Nitrogen. Nitrogen’s basic function is for the green factor. That beautiful green lawn you love to look at, nitrogen plays a large factor in that. The soil test does not indicate how much nitrogen is needed, as it leaches very readily and fluctuates considerably with rainfall and soil texture, so it is basically needed all the time in some area of your landscape. The P stands for Phosphate/Phosphorus. Phosphorus’s basic function is to promote fruit and flower yield. So this is very important for your flowering plants or ones with berries. The K stands for Potash/Potassium. Potassium’s basic function is to promote root growth, and we all know that what is below the ground is just as important as what we see above the ground. All three of these are very important, but can only be correctly used by the plant if the pH of the soil is correct.
The micro-nutrients are important, that is why we use a high quality fertilizer to help ensure these levels stay constant in the soil. These also can leach through our sandy soils at a faster rate, and need for the pH to be correct for the plant to use these nutrients correctly.
As you can see, the soil test plays a very important role, and how all of these items we have talked about work together to produce an aesthetically pleasing landscape. We hope this has been of some help to you, and we are always happy to answer any questions you may have about the soil test report or any other area in your landscape.
Dana Shook & Lewis Bennett
Green Dreams Landscape Management, Inc.