Fall is finally here and it is almost time to start planting new trees and fruit producing bushes. If you want to be successful and give your new plants the best opportunity to grow and thrive, then you have to start at the ground and work your way up. You literally have to start with the ground, or soil.

Soil is a very important factor when you are planting anything in a new area. There are six abiotic factors that affect soil: nutrients, pH, water, oxygen, temperature, and light. All six factors are important to take into consideration when you are planting something new. Soil nutrients, pH, water, and light are factors that we have a little control over. Water and light can easily be controlled by irrigation and plant placement. Most fruit trees and fruiting bushes need as much sun as they can get each day, so somewhere out in full sun and in reach of a water hose or other irrigation method will be sufficient. The soil nutrient content and pH are two more very important factors that you can easily control. Correct fertilization will accomplish this. The problem is knowing what to fertilize with and how much to use. The answer to that problem is conducting soil analysis to get an indication of the soil condition. It is crucial to have the proper pH and adequate nutrients to provide the best growing conditions for newly planted trees and bushes. For example, most fruit plants grow best in soils with a pH of 6.5 but blueberries require a soil pH of 4.5 to 5.2. Soil analysis gives you the information you need to start off on the right foot.

Please feel free to contact your local UGA Extension office for more information about soil analysis sampling.

UGA Extension-Madison County: 706-795-2281