Ask a Question
Notify Me On Question Update
Email this Question
Do you have information on soil testing?
Rate This FAQ
As with humans, when a plant is sick, it looks miserable for a while, receives extra water, gets thrown some expensive granules, and is expected to get better. However, when the plant dies, we are surprised at its lack of stamina, then place a new one in the same spot. When that one dies, we scratch our heads and wonder why we have such poor luck with plants. As with humans, there are tests that can be run to help diagnose problems in the landscape. One that is very effective is a soil test. It is the first thing that should be done when problems persist in the landscape. The test analyzes essential components that may cause problems in the soil. It is also a good indicator of how to correct the problem. Here is what a soil test will show.
Texture. The texture of soil is the percentage of sand, silt and clay. This indicates whether the soil is heavy in clay or has a high sand content. Knowing the texture helps determine irrigation needs. It also makes a difference when it comes to selecting plants and deciding which will grow well in an area and which will not. Lime. The lime content of soil is the percentage of carbonates. This is not a problem in northern Utah. We have more than enough lime, and it rarely poses a problem. It is not necessary to add lime to our soils. pH. The pH is a measurement of the acidity of the soil. The pH is a scale from 1 to 14, with 1 being extremely acidic and 14 very alkaline or basic. Most of our soils fall in the range of about 7.5 to 8.5. This is an acceptable range for most plants. Soil test results may be a little higher or lower than that. This information can help in choosing a more acidic fertilizer or other options when amending the soil. Salt. Some soils are high in salt, which can cause plants to be stunted, thin and susceptible to other problems. Salt levels that are too high do not allow the plant’s roots to absorb water properly. Not correcting the problem can lead to perennial problems and frustration. Phosphorus. Most soils in Utah have sufficient phosphorus, but occasionally they are slightly deficient. A soil test indicates how much to apply to supplement plant needs in the landscape. There are often more soils with excess phosphorus than not enough. Knowing that levels are high can be beneficial so you can discontinue applying it to your soil. Potassium. This is another element that is normally abundant in our soils. However, it can become deficient, especially if the topsoil is removed when a new home is built. These are the basic components that are addressed by a soil test. Knowing the amount of these elements in the soil will not solve all plant problems, but will provide a good place to start. A basic soil test kit can be picked up at any Extension office. The kit is free, and the cost of a routine analysis is $14. It is worth the investment to learn how to solve or avoid soil problems.
Submit Your Suggestion
Other Questions In This Topic
- why wont my lawnmower engine run without a blade on it how do i make run
- I have a good number of my lawn customers that have a large amount of burmuda grass coming into their bluegrass lawns. I have use for 3 years a product call turflon ester, A Monterey product, containing Triclopyr at 61.6% at up to double the rate. I have been applying 3 applications per season with a backpack sprayer to spot spray the patches in the bluegrass. I am disappointed in my results. Please reply as to what to do to eradicate this problem as I think that is is very critical. I see it in most of the approx. 70 lawns that I treat. Where is it coming from??
- I am actually in Colorado, I am interested in the zone(s) in Eden. I am designing a landscape there and want to plant accordingly. I, also, am interested in a list of noxious plants, I'd like to avoid them. Thank You!
- I have a very large, beautiful Cottonwood tree on my property, that is near the property line with my neighbor. She wants to put in a new fence, because the tree has been pushing up the posts for her old fence. The fencing company has said that they can put in a new fence, but they will have to "shave off" a bit of the tree trunk and possibly some of the root near the surface of the ground. I am worried that something like that could lead to the tree getting sick or dying. I want to keep peace among neighbors, but it would be a disaster and very expensive to lose the tree because of something likethis. Can you please tell me if a Cottonwood tree is hardy enough to withstand such a "shaving" procedure?
- Could you pleae identify the pine-like tree on the north side of our home? The needles are on two sides of the twig rather than on all four sides. They (the needles) are very soft and are dark green. At this time of the year (Sep), the trees bear red berries. The trees are approximately 35 years old and are 12-14 feet tall. Thank you very much for your assistance!
- I have lived in a 50 year old home in Murray for 11 years. I have plants trees, bushes, perrenials, annuals, vegetables (nothing exotic). The trees seem to grow normal but a lot of the plants don't seem to grow much. They flower and look normal but not much growth. I have worked the ground a lot with mulch and commercial fertilizer but do not use manure or fish emulsion because my dog tries to eat it. What can I do to stimulate growth in my gardens?
- I made the mistake of fertilizing my newly planted trees. I had heard that the salty, clay soil I have needs iron useable for the trees. I used chelated. Anyway two of the trees, a candian red cherry and a zelkova tree have dry crispy leaves on the north side of the tree. We have had very hot, windy weather. I have two other canadian cherries that look fine.
- What do the numbers on the fertilizer package mean?