How to Perform Soil Testing

September 12, 2019 1:43 am Published by Leave your thoughts

If your landscaping struggles to thrive, it is likely not just an issue with the frequency of watering. It could be your soil quality. Soil testing in Newton, MA checks pH and nutrients, which could be affecting how your trees and other plants are growing. It eliminates the guesswork from knowing what to do to help them. Since it is early fall, now is the perfect time to perform a soil test. Here is how to do it:

  • Contact your county extension office: Many counties provide soil tests for free. You merely have to contact them, order one, follow the instructions and receive your results in a few weeks. If this service is not available, soil tests are still affordable even when performed by a professional. There are DIY soil tests available in garden stores, but you are not guaranteed of their accuracy. So, if your yard is truly in trouble, start with your extension office to ensure accurate soil test results.
  • Time it right: The best time to perform a soil test is two weeks before planting. This usually means early fall and spring. If you do it later, you may not have time to resolve the issues before you add new plants. Also, fall can be an important time for soil testing before harsh winters hit and your trees need all the advantages they can receive. That often means seeing where you can improve soil quality.
  • Collect in the right spot: You need to gather soil from multiple spots in your plant bed. Start by dipping your trowel down six to 10 inches. Pull up a chunk of soil and put it in a bucket. Repeat this step 10 to 15 times throughout the plant bed in a zigzag pattern. Mix these samples in the bucket. This ensures a good mix so you can get an idea of the quality of soil throughout your entire planting area. If particular planting beds are producing the lowest, concentrate your soil collection in those areas. While you technically do not need a soil test where plants thrive, consider doing it anyway so you can anticipate any future issues.
  • Have the right amount: You need at least two cups of soil to secure an accurate and useful test. If your yard is large, consider collecting throughout different quadrants and labeling the soil so you know where it came from. This will help you narrow down troublesome areas and apply customized solutions to different parts of your yard. It is not uncommon for growth to occur unevenly in your yard. You may not be able to treat all plant beds the same, because they likely face different issues.

Around 80 percent of problems with trees are linked to soil. The first instinct may be to water them more or lay down more fertilizer, but that can cause more harm than good. That’s why it’s important to know exactly what is happening with soil quality.

BBD Tree Service can help you with all aspects of tree care, including soil testing in Newton, MA. Call us today to schedule early fall maintenance for your trees before winter begins.

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