Soil Test Kit Results Back: What Next?

Homeowners often take pride in their beautifully manicured lawns, but achieving that perfect green carpet requires more than regular mowing and watering. One of the critical components of successful lawn care is understanding the soil beneath your grass. Soil health directly impacts the growth, color, and overall health of your lawn, making it essential to assess and address any deficiencies or imbalances.

When it comes to optimizing soil health, a soil test is the first step in the right direction. Soil testing provides invaluable insights into the composition of your soil, including pH levels, nutrient content, organic matter, and micronutrient levels. Armed with this information, you can tailor your lawn care regimen to meet the specific needs of your soil and ensure optimal growing conditions for your grass.

Join us as we look at the crucial steps to take after receiving your soil test results. From understanding the implications of various parameters to selecting the right amendments and implementing a comprehensive lawn care plan, we'll guide you through the process of transforming your soil into the foundation for a vibrant and healthy lawn.

How to Test Your Soil

First up, buy a soil testing kit. We recommend the MySoil Soil Testing Home Soil Test Kit as it is the most accurate and easy-to-use professional soil test kit available and is designed for the DIY community.

The report you receive provides 13 plant available nutrient levels, including nitrogen and pH (nitrogen (N) (nitrate and ammonium), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), sulfur (S), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), boron (B), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), and sodium (Na)).


Understanding Your Soil Test Results

Interpreting the Various Parameters Measured in a Soil Test

Soil testing provides a wealth of information about the composition and characteristics of your soil. Here are the key parameters typically measured in a soil test and their significance:

  • pH levels: The pH level of your soil indicates its acidity or alkalinity. Most grasses prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH range between 6.0 and 7.0. Soil pH influences nutrient availability and microbial activity, making it a crucial factor in plant growth.
  • Nutrient levels (NPK): Soil tests measure the levels of essential nutrients — nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) — which are vital for healthy plant growth. Understanding nutrient levels helps you determine if your soil requires additional fertilization or if certain nutrients are in excess, potentially causing imbalances.
  • Organic matter content: Organic matter is the lifeblood of healthy soil, providing essential nutrients, improving soil structure, and enhancing water retention. Soil tests quantify organic matter content, allowing you to gauge the overall health and fertility of your soil.
  • Micronutrient levels: In addition to the primary nutrients (NPK), soil tests may also measure micronutrients such as iron, zinc, manganese, and copper. While plants require these nutrients in smaller quantities than NPK, deficiencies or excesses can still impact their growth and vitality.

Identifying Deficiencies and Excesses

Analyzing your soil test results enables you to identify deficiencies or excesses in key nutrients and make informed decisions about soil amendments and fertilization. Common issues revealed by soil tests include:

  • Nitrogen deficiency: Signs of nitrogen deficiency include stunted growth, pale or yellowing leaves, and poor overall vigor.
  • Phosphorus deficiency: Phosphorus deficiency can result in slow or stunted growth, weak root development, and delayed maturity.
  • Potassium deficiency: Symptoms of potassium deficiency may include scorched or browning leaf margins, weak stems, and increased susceptibility to diseases and environmental stressors.
  • Imbalanced pH: Soil pH that is too high or too low can hinder nutrient uptake by plants, leading to nutrient deficiencies despite adequate soil nutrient levels.
Soil pH chart

Selecting the Right Soil Amendments and pH Balancers

Soil amendments and pH balancers are crucial in correcting deficiencies, improving soil structure, and optimizing growing conditions for your lawn. 

  • Soil amendments: Soil amendments are substances added to the soil to improve its physical, chemical, or biological properties. They can enhance soil fertility, water retention, drainage, and aeration, creating an optimal environment for plant growth. Common soil amendments include compost, peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, and aged manure.
  • pH balancers: Soil pH plays a significant role in nutrient availability and plant health. pH balancers are products designed to adjust soil pH to the desired range for optimal plant growth. Acidic soils may require the addition of lime (calcium carbonate) to raise pH, while alkaline soils may benefit from sulfur or acidic fertilizers to lower pH.

Matching Soil Test Results with Appropriate Amendments

Once you've analyzed your soil test results and identified any deficiencies or imbalances, the next step is to select the right soil amendments and pH balancers to address these issues effectively. Consider the following guidelines:

pH Adjustment 

If your soil pH is outside the optimal range for your grass type, prioritize pH adjustment using appropriate pH balancers.

High Alkaline

When soil becomes excessively alkaline and compacted, it restricts the passage of air, water, and essential nutrients to the roots, hindering proper grass growth. Optimal lawn conditions are found in slightly acidic to neutral soil, maintaining pH levels between 6.2 and 7.0. In soils with pH readings ranging from 7.0 to 9.5, weeds flourish, while grass exhibits a pale, weak appearance. We recommend using MAG-I-CAL® Plus fertilizer with soil amendment to lower soil pH


  • Contains sulfur and calcium sulfate dihydrate.
  • It lowers soil pH, aids cell development, and supports grass functions.
  • Breaks up clay and compacted soil.
  • Improves root penetration and promotes growth.
  • Releases trapped nutrients.

Application tips:

  • Safe for seeding or sodding.
  • Apply on dry lawns after mowing.
  • Rake vigorously before application.
  • Use a broadcast or drop lawn spreader.
  • Irrigate the treated area for 15-30 minutes post-application.
  • Wait a day to mow after watering.
  • For pH > 7, repeat the application twice a year.

High Acidity

When soil becomes compacted or overly acidic, it hinders the passage of air, water, and nutrients to the roots, significantly impeding grass growth.

Grass flourishes in soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH level, typically between 6.2 and 7.0. When pH levels fall within the range of 4.0 to 6.0, weeds thrive, and grass tends to exhibit a pale, weak appearance. We recommend MAG-I-CAL® PLUS Soil Food for Lawns to raise your soil pH.


  • Contains soluble calcium carbonate to adjust soil pH upwards.
  • It lowers soil pH, aids cell development, and supports grass functions.
  • Breaks up clay and compacted soil.
  • Improves root penetration and promotes growth.
  • Increases biological activity and releases trapped nutrients.

Application tips:

  • Safe for seeding or sodding.
  • Apply on dry lawns after mowing.
  • Rake vigorously before application.
  • Use a broadcast or drop lawn spreader.
  • Irrigate the treated area for 15-30 minutes post-application.
  • Wait a day to mow after watering.
  • For pH < 6, repeat applications twice yearly.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Address nutrient deficiencies identified in your soil test results by choosing soil amendments or fertilizers rich in the deficient nutrients. For example, if your soil test indicates a nitrogen deficiency, consider using a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to supplement soil nutrient levels.

  • Soil structure improvement: If your soil lacks organic matter or exhibits poor structure, incorporate organic soil amendments such as compost, peat moss, or aged manure to improve soil fertility, structure, and moisture retention.

Common Soil Amendments and pH Balancers Available:

  • Lime: Used to raise soil pH in acidic soils.
  • Sulfur: Lower soil pH in alkaline soils.
  • Compost: Adds organic matter, improves soil structure, and enhances nutrient retention.
  • Peat moss: Increases soil acidity and improves water retention.
  • Perlite and vermiculite: Improve soil aeration and drainage.
  • Nitrogen-rich fertilizers: Address nitrogen deficiencies and promote healthy growth.
  • Phosphorus and potassium fertilizers: Address deficiencies in phosphorus and potassium, respectively.

Select products that align with your soil test results and follow application guidelines to ensure optimal results. By choosing the right soil amendments and pH balancers, you can create an ideal growing environment for your lawn and promote lush, healthy grass growth.


Related: Can You Put Compost on Your Lawn?


Fertilizing Strategies Based on Soil Test Results

Importance of Fertilization in Lawn Care

Fertilization is a fundamental aspect of lawn care, providing essential nutrients that support healthy growth, vibrant color, and overall resilience in grass. However, applying fertilizers without considering your soil's specific nutrient needs can lead to inefficient nutrient utilization, environmental harm, and potential nutrient imbalances. Therefore, tailoring your fertilization strategy based on soil test results is essential for maximizing effectiveness while minimizing ecological impact.

Choosing the Right Fertilizer Based on Soil Nutrient Levels

Soil test results provide valuable insights into your lawn's nutrient profile, allowing you to customize your fertilization approach accordingly. Consider the following factors when selecting fertilizers:

  • Nitrogen (N): If your soil test indicates a nitrogen deficiency, choose a fertilizer with a higher nitrogen content to address this shortfall. Conversely, if nitrogen levels are adequate, opt for a balanced fertilizer or one with lower nitrogen content to prevent excessive growth and potential environmental issues.
  • Phosphorus (P) and potassium (K): Adjust phosphorus and potassium fertilizer applications based on soil test recommendations. If phosphorus or potassium levels are low, select fertilizers with higher concentrations of these nutrients to replenish soil reserves. In cases where phosphorus or potassium levels are sufficient or high, choose fertilizers with lower or zero phosphorus and potassium content to avoid nutrient imbalances and environmental runoff.
  • Secondary and micronutrients: Soil tests may also reveal deficiencies in secondary nutrients (e.g., calcium, magnesium, sulfur) and micronutrients (e.g., iron, zinc, manganese). Select fertilizers containing these nutrients, such as Release 901C™ Biostimulant and Fertilizer, to address specific deficiencies identified in the soil test results.

Understanding Fertilizer Labels and Application Rates:

When applying fertilizers based on soil test recommendations, it's essential to understand fertilizer labels and application rates to ensure proper dosage and application timing. Pay attention to the following aspects:

  • Nutrient analysis: Fertilizer labels display the nutrient content using a three-number series representing the percentages of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P2O5), and potassium (K2O), respectively. Select fertilizers with nutrient ratios that align with your soil test results and grass's nutritional requirements.
  • Application rates: Follow the recommended fertilizer application rates provided on the product label or in your soil test report. Overapplication can lead to nutrient runoff, environmental pollution, and potential harm to aquatic ecosystems. Use calibrated spreaders to achieve uniform coverage and avoid uneven fertilizer distribution.
  • Timing: Apply fertilizers at the appropriate times based on your grass's growth cycle, soil conditions, and climate. Split applications may be necessary to minimize nutrient leaching and ensure sustained nutrient availability throughout the growing season.

Adopting a targeted fertilization strategy informed by soil test results can optimize nutrient management, promote healthy grass growth, and maintain a lush, resilient lawn while minimizing environmental impacts associated with excessive fertilizer use.


Related: How to Read Fertilizer Numbers 


Enhancing Soil Health with Biostimulants

Biostimulants are a category of natural or synthetic substances that stimulate plant growth, improve nutrient uptake, and enhance stress tolerance. Unlike fertilizers, which primarily provide essential nutrients, biostimulants work holistically to optimize soil conditions and support overall plant health. Incorporating biostimulants into your lawn care regimen can complement soil amendments and fertilization efforts, promoting a balanced and thriving soil ecosystem.

How Soil Test Results Can Guide Biostimulant Selection

  • Identifying soil deficiencies: Soil test results provide valuable insights into nutrient deficiencies, pH imbalances, and other soil issues that may hinder plant growth. Addressing these deficiencies with targeted soil amendments and fertilizers can create a more favorable environment for biostimulant application. For example, if your soil test reveals low organic matter content, incorporating biostimulants rich in humic acids or seaweed extracts can help improve soil structure and nutrient retention.
  • Enhancing nutrient uptake: Biostimulants contain compounds that enhance nutrient uptake and utilization by plants, maximizing the benefits of soil fertility improvements. By selecting biostimulants tailored to your soil's specific needs, you can amplify the effectiveness of nutrient applications and promote healthier, more resilient grass growth.


Related: Lawn Biostimulants for Environmentally Friendly Lawn Care


Biostimulants and Their Benefits

Humic Acids

Humic acids, derived from decomposed organic matter, improve soil structure, increase nutrient retention, and stimulate microbial activity. By enhancing soil fertility and nutrient availability, humic acids promote vigorous root growth and overall plant health.

Humic Max 16-0-8 - Lebanon Country Club Fertilizer is a premium granular fertilizer, ideal for achieving golf course-quality grass in residential lawns. This top-tier fertilizer is safe for all warm and cool-season grass types and boasts a potent 16-0-8 NPK formulation, making it perfect for monthly applications. 

Its benefits are manifold: the 16% nitrogen content facilitates rapid green-up, while the potassium component promotes plant health without increasing soil salinity excessively. Moreover, with 8.9% humic acid, it enhances nutrient absorption and resilience against environmental stressors. 




Seaweed Extracts 

Seaweed extracts are rich in trace minerals, amino acids, and plant growth regulators that enhance stress tolerance, stimulate root development, and improve nutrient uptake in plants.

Nutri-Kelp™ Liquid Kelp Fertilizer and biostimulant elevate the benefits of Norwegian sea kelp by integrating vitamins, enzymes, organic matter, and essential nutrients to address soil nutrient deficiencies effectively.

Safe for all grass types, Nutri-Kelp leverages NanoRelease™ Technology to optimize absorption, fostering stronger root systems and lusher foliage. With its potent blend of beneficial nutrients and potassium, Nutri-Kelp bolsters pH balance and shields plants and soil from heat-related damage. Suitable for use on cool or warm-season lawns, plant beds, pots, trees, and gardens, and should be applied when plants are actively growing.



Related: What Are the Benefits of Using Liquid Kelp on Your Lawn?


Microbial Inoculants 

Microbial inoculants contain beneficial microorganisms such as mycorrhizal fungi and rhizobia bacteria that form symbiotic relationships with plant roots, improving nutrient uptake and disease resistance. Introducing these beneficial microbes into your soil can enhance soil health, suppress harmful pathogens, and foster a thriving soil ecosystem.

ByoSpxtrum™ Microbial Soil Enhancer provides beneficial bacteria and fungi for optimal growth beyond just a few "superstrains." The microbes within ByoSpxtrum activate swiftly and effectively, thanks to a proprietary process that safeguards their vitality without causing harm. Comprising 100% non-GMO and non-synthetic components, ByoSpxtrum is certified for use on organic crops and can be mixed with fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides.

For optimal results, apply ByoSpxtrum alongside liquid fertilizer and other soil amendments during active growing months. You can apply it to cool and warm-season lawns, enhancing nutrient uptake and soil vitality throughout the growing season.


Essential-G Granular Soil Compost and Biochar

We’d be crazy not to tell you about one of our top-selling products, Essential-G from Mirimichi Green.

Essential-G is a granular biostimulant that improves your lawn by producing better soil. It adds humate, compost, biochar, and other ingredients to boost soil efficiency. It is safe for all grass types on residential and commercial lawns.

Featured benefits:

  • Improves soil fertility and nutrient availability
  • Accelerates turf establishment via seed or sod
  • Spreads easily using a broadcast spreader
  • Boosts fertilizer effectiveness
  • Ingredients: 45% compost, 35% reclaimed coffee grounds, 10% biochar, 5% humate, and 5% silicon.

Essential-G is a unique blend of soil-amending ingredients combined with CarboMatrix™ — activated carbon (biochar) inoculated with premium organics. It reduces soil compaction, drives root growth, increases fertility, and improves water absorption. Biochar also decreases nutrient leaching, which helps fertilizer applications feed your grass longer.


By leveraging soil test results to guide biostimulant selection and application, you can optimize soil health, promote sustainable grass growth, and create a resilient lawn that thrives in diverse environmental conditions. 

Developing a Customized Lawn Care Schedule Based on Soil Test Recommendations

Review your soil test results to identify key soil characteristics, including pH levels, nutrient content, organic matter, and deficiencies or imbalances. Use this information to develop a tailored lawn care plan that addresses your soil's specific needs.

  • Fertilization schedule: Develop a fertilization schedule tailored to your soil's nutrient requirements and grass type. Consider seasonal variations in nutrient demand and adjust fertilizer applications accordingly. Split applications may be necessary to provide a steady supply of nutrients throughout the growing season while minimizing nutrient leaching.
  • Soil amendment plan: Incorporate soil amendments such as compost, lime, or sulfur into your lawn care schedule to address pH imbalances, improve soil structure, and enhance nutrient retention. Follow recommended application rates and timing guidelines to achieve optimal results.
  • Weed and pest management strategy: Implement an integrated weed and pest management strategy based on soil health principles. Utilize cultural practices, such as proper mowing height and irrigation management, to promote grass vigor and minimize weed competition. Incorporate targeted herbicide, fungicide, or insecticide applications as needed, taking care to minimize environmental impact.

Importance of Regular Monitoring and Adjustment

  • Soil testing: Periodically conduct soil tests to monitor changes in soil health and adjust your lawn care plan accordingly. 
  • Observational monitoring: Keep a close eye on your lawn's appearance and health throughout the growing season. Look for signs of nutrient deficiencies, pest infestations, or other issues requiring intervention. Prompt identification and response can help prevent problems from escalating and ensure timely corrective action.
  • Adaptation and flexibility: Be prepared to adapt your lawn care plan based on evolving soil conditions, weather patterns, and seasonal variations. Flexibility is key to successful lawn care, allowing you to fine-tune your approach and achieve optimal results in response to changing circumstances.

By implementing a comprehensive lawn care plan informed by soil test recommendations, you can optimize soil health, promote vibrant grass growth, and maintain a resilient lawn year-round. Regular monitoring and adjustment ensure your lawn receives the personalized care it needs to thrive in harmony with its environment.


Related: How Soil Tests for Your Lawn Can Save You Money


Time for Some TLC (Tender Lawn Care)

Remember, successful lawn care is not just about achieving a picture-perfect lawn — it's about fostering a vibrant ecosystem where grass flourishes, soil thrives, and nature blooms. So, roll up your sleeves, dig into the world of soil health, and start your journey towards a greener, healthier lawn for years to come.

Enroll in our Lawn Care Academy course for a more comprehensive breakdown of your yearly lawn care schedule with specialist advice.