Why Soil Should be Tested

Soil’s nutrient characteristics and pH vary greatly depending on location. The soil’s ability to provide nourishment to a plant is critical to their overall health. When soil cannot provide the proper amount of nutrition, it can lead to reduced bigger and increase vulnerability to damage from insects, disease, droughts and other issues. Occasional soil testing is a good way to point out nutrient deficiencies, soil PH and other problems.

Soil pH

The optimum pH of soil depends on the species of plants to be grown, but typically shrubs, grass, flowers and other plants are maximized when the pH is between 6.0 and 7.0. Most of the nutrients in soil are optimally available when the pH is at about 6.5. If the pH drops below 6.0 and the soil becomes more acidic, certain elements become more water-soluble and excessive absorption can cause plant toxicity. When the soil is poorly structured, essential nutrients and water cannot penetrate it, which may result in plant nutrient deficiencies and stunted growth.

Proper Soil Sampling

The results of the soil test are only as accurate as the samples that are collected and sent off for analysis. Incorrect sampling is the biggest reason for error during the testing process, and it can bring about test results that may recommend the incorrect application of fertilizer and other nutrients.

Samples must be collected from areas that are different as far as soil texture, soil color and plant type are concerned. Turf must be sampled at three inches below the layer of thatch, while shrubs, trees and ornamental plants should be sampled at a depth of between six and 12 inches.


Primary Benefits of Soil Tests

Testing the soil is a best management practice recommended by the world fertilizer industry. It is also recommended by independent consultants and university agronomists, because it provides tremendous benefits to the landscape or turf manager. These can include:

Monitoring of nutrient and pH levels in landscape soils

Corrective action to increase nutrient uptake

Assistance in the customisation of various fertility programs

Promotion of proper industry stewardship

As shown here, there are many benefits to a proper testing program for soil. Consult the experts at acs engineering for more details.