When to sample turf soil

Sampling is done to monitor fertilizer application, or when there is an observed deficiency or growing problem. It is recommended to test at the following times:

  • Before establishing a new lawn (whether from seed, sod or sprigs)
  • Every three years on established lawns (late summer)
  • Annually when attempting to correct a nutrient deficiency or change the soil pH
  • When fertilizers containing phosphate or potash have been used on a regular basis for a number of years

Soil Sample Form for Commercial Fruits, Vegetables and Turfs

How to take turf samples

It is best to use a soil coring device and take an equal amount of soil from the surface through the sampling depth (4-6 inches) and an equal amount at each sampling location. Take 6 to 10 random subsamples. Sample from uniform areas. Avoid known soil differences (soil color, texture, slope). Mix samples to obtain one composite sample in a clean plastic pail (metal pails contaminate the soil with micronutrients) and retain 1 pint (fill MU soil sample box).

Turf for which recommendations are given

Recommendations are given for the following turf — up to four options with associated age may be selected for each sample. For one soil sample submitted you may get recommendations for athletic field cool season, athletic warm season, commercial sod cool season and low maintenance turf cool season (for one example). So you may choose any combination of four options of those listed in the table below.

Code Crop
Turf - establishment
61 Turf establishment or renovation
Turf - maintenance
62 Athletic field, cool season
Bluegrass, fescue, ryegrass
63 Athletic field, warm season
Bermudagrass, zoysiagrass
64 Commercial sod, cool season
Bluegrass, fescue, ryegrass
65 Commercial sod, warm season
Bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, buffalograss
66 Low maintenance turf, cool season
Bluegrass, fescue, ryegrass
67 Low maintenance turf, warm season
Bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, buffalograss
Golf courses
68 Putting greens
69 Fairways, cool season
Bentgrass, ryegrass, bluegrass, tall fescue
70 Fairways, warm season
Bermudagrass, zoysiagrass
71 Tees, cool season
Bentgrass, ryegrass, bluegrass
72 Tees, warm season
Bermudagrass, zoysiagrass