What Is A Soil Test?
A soil test is a process by which elements (phosphorus, potassium,
calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, manganese, copper and zinc) are
chemically removed from the soil and measured for their “plant
available” content within the sample. The quantity of available
nutrients in the sample determines the amount of fertilizer that is
recommended. A soil test also measures soil pH, humic matter and
exchangeable acidity. These analyses indicate whether lime is needed
and, if so, how much to apply.
Why Do You Need A Soil Test?
Encourages plant growth by providing the best lime and fertilizer recommendations.
- When growers guess about the need for lime or fertilizers, too
little or too much is likely to be applied. By using a soil test report,
the grower does not need to guess.
- For Example:
When applying too much lime, soil pH may rise above the needed level,
which causes nutrients such as iron, manganese, boron, copper and zinc
to become less available to plants. It is also common to see homeowners
purchase one bag of lime when they purchase one bag of fertilizer. Based
on an average lawn size of 5000 square feet, one bag of fertilizer may
be enough. Applying one bag of lime over 5000 square feet, however, will
have little effect on soil pH. Diagnoses whether there is too little or too much of a nutrient.
Promotes environmental quality.
When gardeners apply only as much fertilizer as is necessary,
nutrient runoff into surface or ground water is minimized and natural
resources are conserved. Saves money that might otherwise be spent on
unneeded lime and fertilizer.
Saves money that might otherwise be spent on unneeded lime and fertilizer.