Gardeners and lawn care enthusiasts can save time, money, and potentially reduce pollution by utilizing a basic soil test.
“Most gardeners think that soil tests are done only to find out what nutrients are deficient,” county extension agent Rickey Roberts said. “However, it is just as important to know if you have adequate levels of nutrients so you don’t add unneeded fertilizer.”
A basic soil test checks pH levels, phosphorus and potassium; however, most lawn and garden soil tests show more than adequate levels of both phosphorus and potassium, he said.
“If those nutrients are not needed, applying them is a waste of money and can be a source of pollution,” Roberts said. “In extreme cases, excess phosphorus can interfere with the uptake of micronutrients. So, if you haven’t taken a soil test in several years, take one this spring.”
Gardeners should take samples from a number of locations in a garden or lawn that go from the surface to 6 to 8 inches deep.
About 1 pint of soil should be selected and mixed together in a clean container, then placed in a zippered plastic bag and taken to the extension office at Marion County Courthouse for evaluation
A basic soil test costs $15. For more information, call Roberts at (620) 382-2325 or email him at email@example.com.