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Soil Testing
编辑:University of Rhode Island   出处:University of Rhode Island   时间:2011-1-13 14:42:29

The soil test is an excellent measure of soil fertility. It is an inexpensive way of maintaining good plant health and maximum crop productivity. Soil fertility fluctuates throughout the growing season each year--the quantity and availability of mineral nutrients are altered by the addition of fertilizers, manure, compost, mulch and lime or sulfur, in addition to leaching. Furthermore, a large quantity of mineral nutrients are removed from soils as a result of plant growth and development, and the harvesting of crops. The soil test will determine the current fertility status. It also provides the necessary information needed to maintain optimum fertility year after year. Some plants grow well over a wide range of soil pH, while others grow best within a narrow range of pH. Most turfgrasses, flowers, ornamental shrubs, vegetables and fruits grow best in slightly acid soils with a pH of 6.1 to 6.9. Plants such as rhododendron, azalea, pieris, mountain laurel and blueberries require a more acidic soil to grow well. A soil test is the only precise way to determine whether the soil is acidic, neutral, or alkaline.

Most soil nutrients are readily available when soil pH is at 6.5. When pH rises above this value, nutrient elements such as phosphorus, iron, manganese, copper and zinc will become less available. When soil pH drops below 6.5, manganese can reach a toxic level for some sensitive plants.

The soil test takes the guesswork out of fertilization and is extremely cost effective. It not only eliminates the waste of money spent on unnecessary fertilizers, but also eliminates over-usage of fertilizers, hence helping to protect the environment.

When Do I Soil Test?

Sampling can be done at any time, but late October or early November is usually preferable. Avoid sampling when the soil is very wet or recently limed or fertilized.

How Many Samples do I Take?

Soils that look different or have been used differently should be sampled and tested separately. Areas where there is poor growth should also be tested separately.

How Do I Take Soil Samples?

Using a trowel or spade, take thin, vertical slices of the soil as indicated in the table below. For small areas, use fewer slices; for large areas, use more slices.

Kind of Crop Number of slices to sample Sampling depth
Lawns 10 or more

Top 3-4 inches

Flowers, Vegetables & Small Fruits 10 ore more Top 6-8 inches
Trees, Shrubs 3 or 4 Top 10-12 inches

 

How to Prepare Soil Samples for Submission:

Put slices of soil into a large, clean plastic container or bag and mix thoroughly. Take about one cup of soil mixture and dry it at room temperature (do not dry samples in an oven or on a stove or radiator). Put the dry soil in a sandwich size "zip" type plastic bag and close tightly. Label each sample on the outside of the bag.

Tests Available:

The University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension, in cooperation with the University of Massachusetts Cooperative Extension, Soil Testing Laboratory, offers a variety of soil test options for home gardeners and commercial growers."

The "Standard Soil Test" checks for:

a) pH and lime requirement
b) levels of available plant nutrients
c) abnormally high levels of several toxic elements

Based on this test, the client receives recommendations on the amounts of lime and fertilizer to add to the soil and what action to take should an unusually high level of lead be present.

Other Tests Offered:

pH: This test is the same pH test performed as part of the standard soil test

Soil Textural Class Analysis: This test provides percentages of sand, silt and clay in the soil and determination of the USDA Soil Textural Class

Organic Matter: This test provides the percentage of organic matter in your soil

Test Tests for: Fee/Sample
A pH test only $3.00
B Standard Soil Test
(includes pH and extractable nutrients)
$8.00
C Standard Soil Test plus organic matter $12.00
D Soil Texture only $30.00


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