Soil Test – Nitrogen

Q: After ten years of lawn struggles, I decided to do a home soil test. It said we are low in nitrogen. The sod we laid last year looks pitiful. Can I put out nitrogen now?

A: I’m doubtful that low nitrogen is your problem. Home soil tests are notoriously inaccurate when it comes to measuring nitrogen. In fact, even the University of Georgia soils lab will not estimate the level of nitrogen in your soil because nitrate availability fluctuates with soil temperature, moisture and numerous other factors. In my experience, hard soil, improper watering and wrong mowing heights affect lawn health more than poor fertilization. Fertilize your bermudagrass lawn with turf fertilizer every six weeks this summer and maintain it as outlined here. You can get an accurate soil test for a small fee by calling your local Extension office at 1-800-ASKUGA-1.

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