The Importance of Soil Testing
The most important aspect of soil testing is that it provides you with your soil’s pH number, while also measuring mineral and nutrient availability in the soil. Healthy soil means a healthy lawn and garden.
Conducting this soil test is crucial for multiple reasons:
- Optimizing crop production
- Protecting the environment from contamination that could happen as a result of runoff and leaching of excess fertilizers
- Help diagnose plant culture problems
- Improve the nutritional balance of growing media
- Save money and energy by applying only the amount of fertilizer needed
How Do You Test Soil?
Testing soil is so important, but how do you do it properly? See below for some of the best tips for testing soil the correct way.
- Test for phosphorus, potassium and pH: Garden soil pH levels should fall in between 6.0 and 7.0. Proper levels of phosphorus help build healthy root systems and support flowering.
- Utilize organic matter: A higher amount of organic matter is necessary if lawn and garden owners want to improve their lawn’s ability to hold water as well as nutrients.
- Take samples from different areas: Individuals should move in from the corners and sides of the garden to take numerous samples. Then, each sample can be mixed together to create a single sample for testing purposes.
- Exclude any surface vegetation in samples: To gather a sample within a garden, individuals should dig a small hole about a foot deep, and peel off a side of the hole, collecting only the top 6-to-10 inches of the soil profile.
- Continue testing: Routine tests should be run every five years to evaluate how gardening is impacting soil health.