Soil sampling and testing can be used
as a management tool to help in decisions related to fertilizer and limestone
applications for commercially grown crops, home gardens, fruit trees, ornamentals,
and lawns. It provides a scientific basis for maintaining optimum soil
fertility levels and proper soil pH values to help attain maximum plant
growth and economic yields. Soil testing also protects against the expense
and environmental hazards resulting from excessive fertilizer applications.
Standard soil test includes pH,
pH, extractable phosphorus, potassium, calcium,
zinc, manganese, copper, boron,
lime requirements and recommendations.
for CEC (cation exchange capacity), acidity,
and % base saturation will also be
Nitrate Nitrogen. For a reliable nitrogen
analysis, two or more samples should be taken from several depths
within the soil profile.
Extractable sulfate sulfur can be determined
for subsoil clays (B horizon) of Coastal Plain Soils. This information
is useful only if the subsoil is within twenty inches of the soil surface.
Subsoil samples should contain only the top four inches of the clay layer.
Pond Bottom. A pH
and lime requirement test will be run
on mud samples from farm ponds for fish production.
Soilless Mixes. At least one quart of media is
needed for this test. Soluble salts, pH, phosphorus,
potassium, calcium, magnesium, and nitrates will be determined
on a saturated water extract.