How to Perform a Soil Test for Your Trees

November 4, 2021 2:55 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Getting ready to plant some new trees in your yard? Since soil and plant healthcare are inextricably linked, performing a soil test at your Watertown, MA property can give you great insight into the health of your soil and how well your new trees will grow in it.

Unhealthy soil can have a major impact on the growth of trees and on other plants growing above ground.

Follow this basic guide to tree soil treatment and testing to help you plant beautiful, healthy trees at your Watertown, MA property.

What insights do soil tests offer?

Soil tests check the acidity (or pH level) of the soil and detect all available nutrients. If pH levels are too high, the soil is too acidic, making it difficult for plants to suck up essential nutrients from the soil.

A soil test not only helps you pinpoint what your soil needs to balance pH levels, but it also tells you the exact nutrients the soil is lacking. Adding nutrients to the soil is easy once you’ve determined what’s missing: Just head to your local gardening center or hardware store, and choose a fertilizer that contains those nutrients. You’ll know exactly what fertilizer you need and how much to use.

Keep in mind that different tree species (just like different species of flowers or plants) require different soil conditions. It’s best to speak with your local arborist to determine what nutrients and pH levels your new trees need to grow healthy and strong.

How to perform tree soil treatment and testing

When you’re ready to test your soil at home, grab a garden trowel and a bucket, and head outside. Follow these simple steps to test the soil:

  • Once you’ve determined where you’ll plant your new tree or trees, test the soil in the surrounding area. Dip your trowel into the soil between 6 and 10 inches; then pull up the chunk of earth, and place it in the bucket.
  • Repeat this process about 10 to 15 more times around the base of the tree, allowing you to get a random sample of soil surrounding the tree.
  • Using your trowel, mix all samples together in the bucket.
  • Scoop out a few cups of the mixed sample, and set it aside for testing.
  • The easiest way to test is to use a digital pH meter, following manufacturer’s directions for testing. Alternatively, add ½ cup of vinegar to your soil sample. If you notice bubbling in the soil, your soil is alkaline. If there’s no change in the soil, mix in ½ cup of baking soda. If the soil bubbles, it’s highly acidic. No reaction at all indicates soil with balanced pH levels.

Soil and plant healthcare go hand in hand—in Watertown, MA or anywhere else in the world. Whenever you’re planting new trees, you need to be sure the soil contains appropriate nutrients to sustain the plant for robust growth. Contact BBD Tree Service for more information on soil testing and tree health to make the most of your yard and help trees grow healthy and strong.

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