Gardening in Hazlet (2)

The Hazlet Gardener

By Bob Michaels of Hazlet, a Master Gardener certified by Rutgers through the Monmouth County Master Gardener program. 
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Aug 26

Soil Tips: How to Test and Correct

Posted on August 26, 2020 at 9:59 AM by the author

New Jersey's long, dramatic geological history produced the soils currently found in the state. Millions of years ago, New Jersey was connected to Africa and then violently torn apart. The same coastal soils found in New Jersey exist in Africa along the same lines of latitude.The geological, climatological and biological history of an area dictates its soil formation. New Jersey's soil is the eroded and altered remains of a number of its parent rocks.

Historically speaking much of the land west of Route 35 was farmland. 
A soil test would determine if the soil in any particular area is good farming soil, as well as the texture of the soil.

If gardening, specifically lawn appearance, is of interest to you, you should start with a soil test.  A test kit from Rutgers that will identify your soil makeup and give recommendations for amending. Instructions for getting a test can be found at this Rutgers site (link).

If your soil test results show that your soil’s pH is below 6.5 for your lawn, you will be given a recommendation on how much lime to apply in order to raise the pH back up to where it should be in order for your lawn to thrive. 

Here are some signs that may indicate your lawn needs lime:
Your lawn is yellow instead of green.
Your lawn becomes too weedy.
Soil test reveals (with a pH test kit) a pH level lower than 6.5.
The fertilizer you apply does not seem to be working.
If the pH is too low or too high for the plant you are growing, nutrients from fertilizers, although available in the soil, will not be taken up by the plant.  This is why it’s very important to get a soil test every few years. 

More information on soil testing and liming your lawn can be learned at at Soil Testing for Home Lawns and Gardens and Managing Soil pH for Turfgrasses


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