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Soil Testing

Successful lawns, gardens, and crops all start with the same information, a soil test. Farmers and homeowners who take the time to educate themselves about the nutrient and fertility levels of their soil, and to correct problems before they plant, save money and time and ultimately have healthier plants. It is one of the best times of year to begin thinking about your soil. Although soil samples can be done at any time some applications to the soil talk a longer time for example lime take a while to react so it’s best if we can apply it sooner rather than later. In order to take a good soil samples its best to divide the area that you want to sample into different zones. For example it is best to take different samples from your lawn vs your home vegetable garden as these two areas require different nutrients. Once that you have defined your different zone you are then going to pull samples from 8-10 different locations with in that zone, the depth of sampling depends on the type of plants being grown. (For lawns, sample to a depth of 4 inches. For gardens, ornamentals, mixed fruit trees, and wildlife plots, collect sample to a depth of 6 inches.) Once you have collect the samples mix the soil up in a bucket so that we have a good representation of what’s in that area. Samples should be air dried overnight. Dry samples on a flat surface lined with clean white paper. Take care to avoid contamination. After drying, transfer the sample to the soil sample bag and bring it to the extension office, soil sample bags are also available at the extension office, but if you don’t want to make a special trip just bring it in, in a zip lock bag and we can then transfer it to one of the soil sample bags. There is an $8.00 fee for soil samples, and the test results should be back within a week to ten days depending on how busy the lab is at that time. If you have any questions about taking soil samples or about any of the sampling services offered through the University of Georgia, please feel free to call the Franklin County Extension Office