Soil Testing

A soil test can provide information on the proper amount of lime and fertilizer to apply to your lawn, garden and other areas of your landscape. When gardeners apply only as much lime and fertilizer as is necessary and at the appropriate time, nutrient runoff into surface or ground water is minimized, money is saved, and plant health is optimized. Soil testing can also be used to diagnose common nutrient deficiencies or toxicities for plants that are growing poorly.

The reliability of the soil test, however, can be no better than the sample you submit. For results you can depend on, it is vitally important that you take samples correctly to accurately represent the soil in your landscape.

Don't Guess, Soil Test!

This web site explains how to obtain representative soil samples and to submit them for analysis to a Soil Testing Laboratory. It is an easy-to-learn process that will benefit you, your landscape and the environment. There are six sections of information (listed below in the table of contents). You can go through the site from beginning to end by clicking the "START HERE" button below. Then, just click the "NEXT" button at the bottom of each section to go to the next section. Or, you can jump to a particular section by clicking any of the items in the table of contents.

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Soil Testing

Several times throughout this web site, you are given an opportunity to review what you have learned by answering a question on important aspects of soil testing. These short questions are designed to help you confirm that you have understood the key points of the instruction. The questions are optional, so if you do not wish to use them, move ahead to the next part of the instruction.

Here's a quick question to get you started:

Of the statements below, which one is false concerning the reasons to soil test? Click on the statement that is false.

  1. Soil testing can prevent costly misapplications of fertilizer and lime that can be harmful to plants.
  2. Soil sampling is a highly technical procedure best left to soil scientists.
  3. Soil testing can protect the environment by providing recommendations tailored to the plant needs.
  4. Soil testing can be used to help diagnose poorly growing plants.


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