Soil Fertility Analysis

Soil fertility is the characteristic of the soil that supports abundant plant life. Healthy soils produce healthy plants, which reduces the need for pesticides and fungicides. Fertile soils have the following:

  • Nutrients for basic plant nutrition
  • Soils contain sufficient minerals
  • Contains soil organic matter
  • Good soil structure
  • Micro-organisms to support plant growth

A successful landscape maintenance program strives to create a fertile soil. A soil fertility program should feed the soil and not the plant. By creating a fertile soil you will grow healthy, pest resistant plants.

To achieve fertile soils, determine what nutrients are in short supply or out of balance. The soil pH must be examined to make sure it is in the desirable range of 6.3-7.0. The organic matter content must also be checked to maintain a healthy micro-organism content.

Soil testing is the only effective method to determine the condition of the soil and achieve a fertile living soil that will be able to provide the best environment for landscape plant materials.

The information provided from a soil test assists in formulating a custom fertilizer plan for the landscape, as well as what organic amendments may be required. Utilizing proper fertilizers and organic materials will result in a soil that is capable of growing healthy, pest resistant plants.

Site selection:

Examine the ground to be analyzed, areas with different soil types should be sampled separately, as well as turf and planters. Map out the landscape areas showing where samples were taken from.

Sample preparation:

Each area sampled should have 7-15 cores removed from the area. Core samples require a depth of 3-7 inches. Mix all samples together and place in a paper bag. Turf samples are taken from a depth of 3-6 inches; remove any thatch or debris from the sample. All samples are then sent to lab for results.

Once the results are known, a program is established specific to the site. If the recommendations are followed, the plants benefit tremendously. The soil will be more fertile with more micro-organisms. This will, in turn grow healthier pest resistant plants.

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