Plant nutrition[ edit ] In agriculturea soil test commonly refers to the analysis of a soil sample to determine nutrient content, composition, and other characteristics such as the acidity or pH level. A soil test can determine fertilityor the expected growth potential of the soil which indicates nutrient deficiencies, potential toxicities from excessive fertility and inhibitions from the presence of non-essential trace minerals. The test is used to mimic the function of roots to assimilate minerals. The expected rate of growth is modeled by the Law of the Maximum.
Tests are performed to evaluate the soil's nutrient potential and to determine the most beneficial application rates of fertilizer and lime for optimum plant growth. Accurate soil analysis with subsequent recommendations provide a tool for making economical and ecological land use decisions.
Maximum economic yields are realized through careful management of nutrient availability. Over-fertilization is costly and may be damaging to the environment.
Soluble salts and organic matter tests are also available. Local Cooperative Extension offices in counties and cities throughout the state can provide soil sample boxes and information sheets.
Soil samples are analyzed and computer recommendations generated usually within three working days of receipt. The completed soil test reports, along with one or more soil test notes containing additional information on fertilization and liming, are either mailed or emailed directly to the client.
A copy of the report is also made available to the local Cooperative Extension office.
Lab facts Started operations in Over 50, samples are tested each year. More than a third of garden samples tested have too much lime, creating an alkaline soil that can cause micro-nutrient deficiencies in plants. Lab uses over 1, gallons of liquid argon a year.
Lab uses automated pH analyzers designed and manufactured in Australia. In a typical March, one person with half-time help types in client information for around 10, samples.
Data from soil test instrumentation is captured electronically, and never has to be entered by hand.This publication provides an overview of soil testing and general guidelines for interpreting soil test results for nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, potassium, calcium, magnesium, boron, zinc, copper, manganese, iron, molybdenum, chloride, sodium, soluble salts, organic matter, cation exchange capacity, pH, and lime.
For each test, the document describes what is measured, recommends how and when. Soil test may refer to one or more of a wide variety of soil analysis conducted for one of several possible reasons.
Possibly the most widely conducted soil tests are those done to estimate the plant-available concentrations of plant nutrients, in order to determine fertilizer recommendations in agriculture.
By Nikki Tilley (Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden). Getting a soil test is a great way to measure its health and fertility. These tests are generally inexpensive, though well worth any cost when it comes to growing and maintaining healthy plants in the garden. A soil test determines whether your soil is acidic, neutral or alkaline.
A soil test also indicates which elements are missing from your soil and how much to add to remedy the problem. Soil test kits are available at Lowe’s Garden Centers.
How to Test Soil pH.
In this Article: Article Summary Testing Soil pH with a Commercial Test Probe Using Paper Test Strips Changing Your Soil pH Community Q&A Do you want to plant a garden?Then it is important to know about the pH of your soil. The pH is a measure of the soil's acidity or alkalinity.
Knowing the characteristics of the soil not only helps determine the most productive species to plant but gives land managers the information needed to properly amend the soil .