How Your Lawn and Garden Can Benefit From a Soil Test
A soil test is a process by which your soil is tested to see the number of nutrients that exist in the area. The results of the soil sample determine the amount of fertilizer that is recommended. A soil test also measures soil acidity. These analyses indicate whether lime is needed and, if so, how much.
Most of us use fertilizers without knowing the content of our soil. Without knowing what nutrients are in available, you could be just wasting your time and money. Performing a soil test can reveal the secrets of your soil so you can take action.
Your soil’s pH balance is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline your soil is. Soil pH affects the ability of plants to absorb nutrients. Soil pH is scored on a scale from 1 to 14, 7 being the ideal number. Anything below 7 is acidic or “sour”, while anything above 7 is alkaline or “sweet”.
Your plant’s growth and health depend on your soil’s pH level. Soil pH is the measurement of how acidic or alkaline your soil is. This might not seem important but the soil pH affects how well plants can take up nutrients. Soil pH balance is measured on a scale from 1 to 14, with 7 considered neutral. Measurements below 7 is considered acidic or “sour”, while any number above 7 is alkaline or ”sweet”. Most plants prefer a pH balance between 6.2 and 7.2.
Fixing Soil pH
Overly acidic soil prevents phosphorus, potassium, and other nutrients from being absorbed by the plant. In the eastern part of the U.S., the soil is naturally acidic which means if you use fertilizers on your yard they probably won’t work. Soil acidity can be neutralized with the addition of lime. Don’t overdo it with the lime. It is much easier to raise pH than to lower it. Alkaline soils can be remedied with the addition of sulfur, iron sulfate, or aluminum sulfate.
Should I Get My Soil Tested?
You can test your soil at any time of the year as long as the soil isn’t frozen or wet. Performing a soil test can help you better decide which plants will grow best in your yard. Sandy soils should be tested every 2 to 3 years and clay soils every 3 to 4 years.
First Step To Gathering A Soil Sample
The first step you want to do when taking a soil sample is to make sure you know where you are sampling from. Your yard isn’t uniform when it comes to soil composition. That’s why you should take samples from different parts of your yard. This will allow you to visualize what areas need fertilizer, lime, or sulfur.
Gather Your Samples
Pick out leaves and other debris from the area before you sample. All you need is a garden trowel to take a small core sample. Place the samples in separate buckets. Mix the soil in the bucket until it is smooth and lump-free. Spread the samples on a newspaper to dry out. Collect a pint for your sample. When you are finihsd you can send your soil samples to a soil testing facility and wait for the results.
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