Determining the Health of the Soil
All turfgrass management programs focus on the primary cultural practices of mowing, fertilization, and irrigation. When focusing on turf fertilization it is necessary to have a basic understanding of how the soil provides the nutrients, what factors affect nutrient availability, and how these factors are managed under turf situations. Soil testing programs now provide an extremely accurate analysis of the nutrients in the sample. Standardization of the nutrient extraction procedures and state-of-the-art analytical equipment have highly refined the analysis portion of the testing procedure. Plants constantly respond to soil conditions by changing a number of internal physiological factors related to water content and salts by osmotic adjustment and salt balance. Special consideration should be given to soil testing prior to establishing the turf. This is the opportune time to thoroughly incorporate lime, phosphorus, and potassium into the root zone.