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Soil Test Now?

Posted by monet_g 6a (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 22, 11 at 12:45

Is there any reason I can't get a soil test now? We're going into winter and I won't act on the results until next spring, but it will give me time to develop my plan of attack.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Soil Test Now?

Now is fine, saves you the trouble of waiting for the thaw in the spring.

RE: Soil Test Now?

Thanks, that's what I was thinking.

RE: Soil Test Now?

I'm also going to send a sample to Logan Labs. Should the soil be dry or wet? We've had lots of rain here the last few days--maybe two inches in a matter of days. Yesterday, we probably had 1 inch in just a few hours. Should I wait a few days until the soil dries out a bit?

Someone at Logan Labs told me to dig 6 inches into the ground, and then scoop out 1.5 to 2 cups of soil. Does this sound right, or would you do it a little differently maybe? Then the soil should be put into a zip-lock plastic bag, and mailed to them.

I updated my profile, by the way, to provide more information about my lawn. Thanks.

RE: Soil Test Now?

I'm letting my soil dry out so that it's lighter for shipping costs. Also, I'll remove bits of roots, leaves, etc.

You generally want to take samples from different areas in your yard. I took about 7-10, but only have about 5,000 sq. feet. Probably didn't need to take that many.

RE: Soil Test Now?

Monet, I suggest you do a little research into how soil tests are done. You don't test just one area...i.e. go out onto your lawn, pick a spot to dig and that's it.
No, you select areas....more than one....take samples from different areas of your lawn/s, so the test results are for an overall area. It doesn't matter if the area is wet or not...although wet soil is heavier and can make a difference in the costs of sending it to the lab.

Since the action you take will depend on the test results, it seems to me that you should wait until spring so that appropriate steps can be taken to rectify any shortcomings of the soil. You cant do much until the soil is ready to be planted in so use that as a guide. Send the sample when you can expect results to reach you in time to begin what you intend to make use of the soil for.

RE: Soil Test Now?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing a soil test now. I interpret hundreds of them a year, and if you want to plan and read, now is fine.

The only difference that I recommend to folks is that you ignore the 6" testing depth. You want to capture the middle of the root zone. That's 6" for gardens and agriculture, but I recommend 4" for lawns - that's the center of the root zone. Most labs recommend 6" as a general rule because most of their serious testing is for farming.

Mixing of the soil is a good idea - pick 6-10 spots that are typical of your yard, at the 4" depth. Shake the soil up in a plastic freezer bag really well, and then send a cup or a tiny bit more to Logan. As long as it isn't soaking wet, you're fine.

The only reason NOT to test the soil right now would be if you just fertilized or put Lime down in the past month. That can throw the test results off.

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