Soil testing is a process that seeks to chemically remove elements (e.g. potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese and sulfur) from the soil. The quantity of nutrients in soil samples helps to recommend the amount of fertilizer required. Soil testing lab equipment seeks to measure the humus matter, soil pH and exchangeable acidity. The analyses indicate whether lime is needed. If lime is required, the analyses will recommend the amount that needs to be applied.
Experts recommend superior quality soil testing lab equipment to test the soil. There are many soil testing equipment manufacturers available around the world. Therefore, knowing where to find a leading supplier and exporter to shop can help a great deal. Reliable equipment can be used to examine the soil, plants, manure and irrigation water. Experts rely on these devices to perform accurate soil testing, plant analysis and water quality assessment. The equipment used, area sampled; depth and correct sample mix will provide information and influence a decision.
A good sample
A soil test needs to be performed at the right time and in the right way. It is advisable to take a sample several months before undertaking a new landscaping (i.e. before laying sod, planting a flowerbed, planting a vegetable garden or planting perennials. In the event that the soil tests recommend lime, you can have adequate time to apply it, in turn adjusting the soil pH levels, before planting.
In established areas, such as shrubbery, trees, lawns and other perennials, the tests can be conducted after 3 or 4 years. Although any time is right to conduct your samples, mid-Augusts to mid-September offer an appropriate time to take soil samples for cool season grasses, like ryegrass, bluegrass and fescue. When the sample is performed during this period, the lime can be applied in fall. Areas that have been fertilized or limed recently, the sampling can be delayed at least 6-8 weeks.
Sample areas separately
Each unique area should be sampled separately. For every unique area (e.g. perennial landscaped area, vegetable garden or lawn) at least 6-8 sub samples should be combined to form one sample. Furthermore, if a single area has both healthy and unhealthy areas, sample these areas separately. It is advisable to use clean soil sampling equipment.
Use a clean hand garden trowel, soil probe, shovel or spade to collect samples. Avoid using galvanized tools, bronze or brass because they can contaminate soil samples with zinc and/or copper. Furthermore, the sample should be mixed in a plastic bucket that is clean. If the bucket held some chemicals or fertilizers, it needs to be washed thoroughly before utilizing it to conduct soil samples.