Soil testing is the single most important guide to the profitable use of fertilizer and lime. It is in the best interest of farmers, lawn care professionals, landscapers, gardeners, fertilizer suppliers, and consultants to promote the use of soil testing for several reasons like
Grow Higher Crop Yields
Produce Higher Quality Crops And Ornamentals
Use Fertilizer Dollars More Efficiently
The purpose of soil testing is to identify the soil fertility that the plants or crop, in a given area will experience. The soil area and volume could be a large field, a small garden, or simply the root zone of a single tree or shrub. The most difficult step in soil testing is accurately representing the desired area of soil. A laboratory cannot improve the accuracy of a sample that does not represent the area.
In most soils, it takes more than one year to make significant changes to the soil test levels. As the soil improves with better fertility programs, subsequent crops or plant growth should show increasing rates of improvement. Soils are formed over thousands of years, and are not easily changed in a short time.
Tools that may be used to take a sod sample include a spade or shovel, soil sampling tube, or soil auger. Sample tubes or augers should either be stainless steel or chrome plated.
When sampling various soils at different times of the season it is important to use the proper equipment. A soil probe, either a hand tube or hydraulic probe, can be used under most conditions. A small wooden rod may be helpful in removing the soil core from the tube. The soil auger is especially useful when sampling frozen ground or heavily compacted soil that a soil tube can’t penetrate. If a spade is used for sampling, dig a V-shaped hole to sample depth; then cut a thin slice of soil from one side of the hole. if using a pail to collect the soil, it should be plastic to avoid any contamination from trace metals. For instance, soil will pick up zinc from a galvanized pail. When sampling wet soils, vegetable oil or mineral oil may be used to lubricate the probe to minimize soil pushing ahead of the probe.
A Few Universal Basics
1. Soil samples can be taken with a professional soil probe, or simply using a shovel, spade, or garden trowel.
2. Each sample should be composed of from 10 to 15 cores.
3. As you take cores of soil, put them into the plastic bucket. Mix the soil thoroughly in the bucket (galvanized buckets will contaminate the sample with zinc), breaking up all cores. Then, fill the soil bag to the green line (about 1 cup of soil). Discard any extra soil.
Soil Sampling Procedure:
1. Samples are taken separately and away from the road side and heaps of the fertilizers or farm yard manure.
3. Take second sample at the depth of 15 to 30 cm.
4. Similarly further samples will be taken from the selected are in the field.
5. Put the simples of soil in the buckets depth wise.
6. Note soil depth with the help of marker on polythene plastic bags.
7. Dry the samples at optimum sun shine.
8. Now store the sample for further analysis.