Before the ground freezes, have your soil tested

Staff report

BUCYRUS — Fall is the best time to soil test for next summer’s fertilizer activities. Soil tests are a valuable tool to your lawns fertility program, from a plant health stand point profitability stand point and environmentally. A soil test will tell the amount of nutrients currently available in your lawn and will help determine what, if any, fertilizers are needed for next year’s growth.

If your soil test indicates a need for fertilizer, determine what nutrients are lacking and only apply those nutrients. It is also important to remember when fertilizing your lawn not to over apply fertilizers. Use your soil test to determine how much to fertilize to apply. If you would like assistance reading your analysis, contact our office at the phone number below. Nitrogen applications should be split and done 2 or 3 times over the growing season because Nitrogen is very volatile. Never apply more than 1lb/1000sq ft of Nitrogen at one time and make sure that at least 30% of Nitrogen applied is in a slow release form (check label). If soil test levels for Phosphorus exceed 11 ppm, there is no need for Phosphorous fertilizer. If less than 11 ppm, an application of phosphorous may be necessary. When soil test levels for Potassium exceed 100ppm, no Potassium fertilizer is necessary. If soil test levels fall below 100ppm, potassium may be necessary.

Fertilizers come in different of forms (liquid or granular) and types (19-19-19; 10-34-0; 0-0-60). Regardless what the form is, the type is always listed the same with a three number system of Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium, in that order. These numbers represent the percent of each nutrient. For instance, 10-34-0 fertilizer is 10% Nitrogen-34% Phosphorous and 0% Potassium. Therefore, applying 100Lbs of 10-34-0 provides 10 lbs of Nitrogen, 34 lbs of Phosphorous and no Potassium. Applying too much fertilizer to your lawn can be extremely detrimental to the environment. When your lawn is saturated with nutrients, it cannot store them anymore and they leach out, into our storm sewers and ultimately in our streams, rivers and lakes. It is also important to sweep up any fertilizer on sidewalks or driveways as this will also become a pollutant in our streams and rivers with the first rain or snow melt.

For more information or a brochure on other storm water management tips contact the Crawford Soil & Water Conservation District at 3111 Ohio 98, by phone at 419-562-8280, ext. 3, or visit our website.

Staff report