By, The Old Guy with the Ponytail
Soil testing is the first step in determining nutrient availability. A soil analysis provides the levels of all the major (macro) nutrients necessary for turf establishment and development.
The pH of the soil is also provided. Soil pH the level of acidity or alkalinity. A slightly acid pH of 6.5 to 6.8 provides for the highest level of nutrient availability. Recommendations are made, if necessary, to achieve both the acceptable pH level and major nutrient levels.
More complete testing can be accomplished to determine minor (micro) nutrients. This level of testing is not normally required since micro nutrients are typically adequately available in native soils.
Soil compaction in typical heavy textured clay soil is inevitable and minimizes every aspect of quality turf development including nutrient availability. From minimizing root development, to restricting exchange of soil gases, to compromising effective moisture management, soil compaction is the single most detrimental influence on existing nutrient availability in most turf management programs. Tissue analysis of the grass blade is the only true means of determining if these soil nutrients are being efficiently utilized by the turf.