If you are planning to have your soil tested in 2014, please remember that the peak season testing fee of $4 per sample will be charged between December 1 and March 31. If you would like to take advantage of the free testing offered during non-peak season, submit your samples soon. Soil test boxes and forms are available at the Extension office at 721 Foster Street, and samples can be brought to the office for transport to the state lab. Results of soil tests are available online.
What is a soil test, and why do we recommend them? A soil test is a process by which elements (phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, manganese, copper and zinc) are chemically removed from the soil and measured for their “plant available” content within the sample. The quantity of available nutrients in the sample determines the amount of fertilizer that is recommended. A soil test also measures soil pH, humic matter and exchangeable acidity. These analyses indicate whether lime is needed and, if so, how much to apply. When growers guess about the need for lime or fertilizers, too little or too much is likely to be applied. By using a soil test report, the grower does not need to guess. (1) Applying the proper amount of fertilizer, lime, and other amendments benefits the environment by reducing runoff into our waterways AND saves money.
If you have additional questions about soil testing, see: http://www.ncagr.gov/agronomi/uyrst.htm