Four Easy Do-It-Yourself Soil Tests
Testing Your Soil: How to Collect and Send Samples Obtain sample bags and instructions. County Extension offices provide soil sample bags, sampling instructions and Collect Composite Samples. The objective in sampling is to obtain small composited samples of soil that represent the Select the. You can test your own soil using a basic soil test kit from The Home Depot. Inexpensive, easy and accurate, soil tests provide a wealth of knowledge about what’s going on under your feet, including the levels of pH, calcium, lime, gypsum and potassium. For a fee, your local County Extension Service will test your soil as well.
Soil tests can be used to estimate the kinds and amounts of soil nutrients available to plants. They also can be used as aids in determining fertilizer needs. Properly conducted soil sampling and testing can be cost-effective indicators of the types and amounts of fertilizer tet lime needed to improve crop yield. The effects of adding ho fertilizer often depend on the level of nutrients already present in the soil Fig. If a soil is very low in a particular nutrient, yield will probably be increased if that nutrient is added.
By comparison, if the soil has high initial nutrient levels, fertilization will result in little, if any, increase in yield. Sample bags provided by the Extension geg hold a sufficient amount of soil for use in most soil tests. Fill the sample bag or other suitable container with approximately 1 pint of a composite soil sample. Any suitable container can be used for the sample, but it is important to complete the information sheet and follow the instructions for collecting and mailing samples.
The tedt in sampling is to obtain small composited samples of soil that represent the entire area to be fertilized or limed. This composited sample is comprised of 10 to 15 cores or slices of soil from the sampling area. To sample a field or pasture, make a map that identifies each area in the field where subsamples were taken Ssoil.
Fields or tracts of land with differences in past ho, fertilization, liming, soil types or land use will require several composite samples. The field identification map should be used each time samples are collected from that field to compare results over time.
Factors that will affect results include sampling tools, number of subsamples, depth of sampling, and soil compaction and moisture. Several tools can be used to collect samples Fig. The choice depends on soil conditions and sampling depth. The selected tool must be able to cut a slice or core through what year is it in the chinese new year calendar desired layer of soil as illustrated in Figure 4.
The objective is to obtain a cross section of the plow ot or layer being subsampled. In fields up siil 40 acres, collect hpw least 10 to 15 cores or slices of soil per composite sample. Composite samples should represent the smallest acreage that can be fertilized or limed independently of the remaining field or acreage. The development of precision agriculture has allowed some producers and fertilizer suppliers to manage soil fertility levels testt 1- to howw parcels.
In small gardens and lawns, five to six tst may be adequate. Because soils are variable, it is important to teet enough subsample to ensure a representative composite sample. A greater number of cores makes the sample more representative of the field. Unusual problem areas should be omitted or sampled how to get a soil test. To properly diagnose the causes of poor crop production, collect separate composite samples from the good and poor growth areas.
Do not include soil from the row where a fertilizer band has been applied. Traditionally, soil too are collected to a depth of 6 inches. This depth is measured from the soil surface after non-decomposed plant materials are pushed aside. This sampling depth can be significantly altered based on tillage or fertilization practices. Stratification accumulation at the surface of phosphorus and lime from prior surface applications can dramatically alter soil test data.
Stratification is of particular concern in reduced tillage and non irrigated fields that receive limited rainfall. In these instances, subsurface sampling depths may vary from 2 to 8 gwt or 3 to 9 inches below the surface. Also, deviations from the traditional 6-inch sampling depth may be required if fertilizer has been placed deeper in the soil. Deep rooted perennial crops can require deeper subsurface sampling. The slow movement of most plant nutrients prevents any dramatic manipulation of subsurface nutrient levels, however sampling data can how to get a soil test useful to assess pH or salinity problems.
Subsurface sampling is illustrated in Figure 5. When sampling perennial sod crops, sample to a depth of 4 inches. Use this sampling method in all established lawns, golf greens and similar turf applications.
These include tests for routine nutrients, micronutrients, boron, detailed salinity, lime requirement, texture and organic matter. After taking the soil sample, select the appropriate test to obtain the desired information. The routine test determines the soil pH, salinity, nitrates NO3-Nand levels of the primary nutrients P — phosphorus, K — potassium, Ca — calcium, Mg — magnesium, Na — sodium, and S — sulfur available to plants.
Gft routine test will provide the basic N-P-K fertilizer recommendation for selected crops. This test meets most application needs. The micronutrient test estimates the levels of zinc Zniron Femanganese Mn and copper Cu in the soil that are available to plants. Conduct this test for specialty crops, in soils with high pH on which corn or sorghum is being grown, or to provide general guidelines for troubleshooting deficiencies.
The boron test determines the level of water extractable boron B in the soil. Conduct the test where clover, alfalfa or other legumes are grown on sandy soils or when soils are being irrigated and water quality is of concern. The detailed salinity test uses a saturated paste extract to measure the pH, electrical conductivity and water soluble levels yet the major cations in the soil. Conduct this test when water quality is of concern; in soils in the western part of the state where the rate of evaporation or transpiration exceeds the rainfall; when previous soil tests have shown an increase in sodium or salinity; or in areas bet brine and salt water spills have occurred.
The etst requirement determines the amount of lime needed to raise the soil pH to a desired level. Texture and organic matter are specialty tests for specific applications. The texture determines the amount of sand, silt and clay in the soil.
This test may be requested when installing a septic system. The organic matter may be requested for general information. Both tests often are requested for environmental how to get a soil test research purposes. The information form, obtained from the county Extension office, requests information about soil conditions, acreage sampled, past cropping, fertilization and an estimate of the expected yield. All information is important in relating soil test results to suggested fertilization and liming.
The expected yield is an indication of intended management, past production levels and local environmental factors that control yields.
Uncontrolled production factors such as nematodes and disease should be considered in estimating a tp goal or expected yield. In areas where samples are collected from problem fields, the how to play monopoly electronic banking rules of plants should be described along with observations that would aid in relating soil test results to the problem. Soil samples should not be stored for long periods of time prior to shipping to the laboratory.
The levels of nitrate-nitrogen in the soil may change if the samples are stored wet. In addition, the nitrate-nitrogen data from properly dried samples may be of little value if environmental conditions and plant growth have altered levels in the soil. Air drying samples in the shade on clean brown paper is strongly recommended.
Do not oven dry the samples because high drying go can alter tp results. Instructions for mailing what goes with greek salad provided with the sampling instructions. The fee for each sample should be noted and payment should accompany the samples. The information sheet and payment should be attached to the sample package.
Between 5 sol 7 days are required to obtain results for routine analyses from the laboratory. In-depth analyses of samples require additional testing and processing time.
Therefore, it is important to conduct sampling early hest the season. This will ensure that yo results are tes in time to make necessary fertilizer and lime applications. Contact Your County Office. Our work makes a difference, in the lives of Texans and on the how to download songs to your zune. View Economic Impacts ».
By: T. Provin and J. Pitt Soil tests can be used to estimate the sokl and amounts of soil nutrients available to plants. There are three steps involved in obtaining a soil test: obtain sample bags and instructions, collect composite samples, select how to drink to death proper test, and complete the information sheet and mail to the Soil, Water, and Forage Testing Laboratory at TAMU, College Station, TX for U.
Collect Composite Samples The objective in sampling is to obtain small composited samples of soil that represent how to make a catapult for physics class entire area to be fertilized or limed. Sampling tools Several tools can be used to collect samples Fig.
Number of Samples In fields up to 40 acres, collect at least 10 to 15 cores or slices of sokl per composite sample. Depth of Sample Traditionally, soil samples are collected to a depth of 6 inches. Download a printer-friendly version of this publication: Testing Your Soil: How to Collect and Tesh Samples Do you hlw a question -or- need to contact an expert?
These tests will help determine your soil?s properties
How To Take a Soil Test. To take a representative sample, scrape away any surface litter, plant residues, leaves, etc. Avoid sampling in a spot where ashes have been dumped, manure or compost stored, or brush burned. Cut straight into the soil with a shovel or trowel 6 to 8 inches deep making a V-shaped hole.
Do you test your soil? Before you start dumping on the lime and fertilizers, your first step should be taking a soil sample to send off for testing. A good soil test will evaluate the basic texture of your soil—and, silt, or clay—and determine its acidity—the pH level. The available amounts of nutrients including magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium will be calculated and recommendations will be made for raising each to the correct levels for optimum plant growth.
Armed with this knowledge, you can make the proper improvements. Too much of a good thing can be just as harmful as too little so let your soil test be your guide. Home test kits are available but they are not as accurate or thorough as professional testing. Contact your county extension office for soil testing information and instructions. Most have websites; fees for soil testing, along with the proper forms, can be found there.
When you get your test results the fertilizer recommendations will be quite specific, and speak to three elements: nitrogen, phorphorus, and potassium. N stands for nitrogen which helps plants make leafy growth. For nitrogen they will tell you how much manure to use. If you are using fresh manure, spread it on in the fall so it can break down over the winter and be safe for spring planting.
If you prefer, dried blood, alfalfa, soybean, or cottonseed meals can be substituted. Nitrogen is released quickly from them so it is best to wait until spring to add it to your soil. P stands for phosphorus which is necessary for germination, strong root growth, flowers, and fruit. It helps plants absorb minerals, grow strong stems, and withstand disease.
Rock phosphate provides phosphorus, magnesium, and trace minerals. Rock powders are wonderful soil enhancements. They are slow acting but long lasting so they need to be applied only every years. Bone meal and bone char are more readily available sources of phosphorus. K stands for potassium or potash. It regulates the flow of water in plant cells and is necessary for flowering, fruiting, and disease resistance. A lack of potassium will cause plants to have weak stems and stunted growth.
For added potassium you can use granite dust or greensand which is made from glauconite, an ocean mineral high in potassium and iron. Wood ashes are also high in potash. Great article. We had our soils tested by UMass, they were by far the least expensive of all the testing sources we found and are much more accurate than the DIY kits.
We live in Vacaville, Ca. Temps get to in the day and drop to 65 at night through June so some plants need extra help. Thanks so much for your instructions regarding the proper method of collecting soil samples for testing. I am Master Gardener and one of my volunteer activities is performing the soil tests on samples that people bring into our local Extension Service office.
All too often, I receive a sample that is mostly mulch or grass. You really need to collect your sample from the root zone which is about 6 to 8 inched below the surface for most garden plants.
When I first started gardening in , I amended my soil with blood meal, alfalfa, soybean, or cottonseed meal. But, now, they all contain GMOs thanks to Monsanto. I now use kelp meal, worm castings from red wigglers fed organic produce wastes, and composted leaves, unsprayed grass clippings, and a variety of animal manures from livestock not grown with GMO grains or grasses.
What goes into the soil comes out in food, so I am extremely careful with my supplements. Can glacial till be used to add minerals OR will it put unwanted heavy metals like chromium 6, arsenic, lead, mercury, and other poisons?
From peer reviewed studies around the world, I'm learning that GMOs include high levels of herbicide and antibiotic resistant bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum.
See M. Krueger et al, , , , This highly resistant bacteria is killing dairy cows, is was found at farms, in farm house dust, and in the feces of the animals, humans, and human children with dire consequences!
Suggestions are wanted on other uncontaminated sources of soil amendments to add beneficial minerals to the soil. Glacial till can be naturally high in some types of heavy metals, depending on its source. How do you feel about using other kinds of rock powders such as basalt or granite dust? They are good at re-mineralizing soil. The best thing you can do is to be aware of your sources.
I always get my soil amendments from a trusted organic company. Check out the blog post on soil amendments for more information. Soil pH is Maintained at 6. Bill - Master Gardener - 25 years. To Ask what to put in the soil about the mod to kill it. Thank you? Lime will kill the mold by changing the pH of the soil. Too much lime can cause that area to have too high a pH level though and render it unable to grow anything so be cautious when using it to kill mold.
As for drying gourds, leave them on the vine until the plants are dead. Let the gourds stay outside in a sunny, well ventilated spot, turn them every few weeks and check for rot. It is okay for them to freeze.
It can take months for large gourds to dry. I think you folks could do all gardeners a great service by writing a detailed article explaining to the consumer how to read and look for these ingredients, to pin point exact needs and buy only what they need. Thanks: K Clancy: Manchester, Nh. Manure is high in nitrogen but it also high in seeds. All kind of weeds and grasses. These weeds grow much better than the plants you are trying grow.
Unless you can used sterilized manure I don't recommend using it in your garden at all. The amount of weed seeds in manure varies greatly depending on the animal it comes from and their diet. It is amazing what can pass thru their digestive tract unscathed. It takes really hot composting to render the seeds incapable of germinating. Nitrogen can come from other sources but manure is most beneficial for its high organic matter.
Compost can provide organic matter but it also can harbor weed seeds. Skip to main content. You are here Gardening Advice. How to Take a Soil Test. Soil Sampling and Testing. By Robin Sweetser. January 29, About This Blog. Tags soil testing soil test. What do you want to read next? Soil Preparation: How Do You Prepare Your Soil in Fall for Next Houseplant Care Guide.
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