When Is the Best Time for Soil Testing in Clinton County, IN?

When Is the Best Time for Soil Testing in Clinton County, IN?

October 11, 2018

Have you ever tested your soil in your garden, lawn or farm? You may have noticed on the fertilizer instructions to apply fertilizer based on the results of a soil test. There is a reason why it is recommended to have a good idea of what is in your soil before you fertilize. Let’s explore why you should perform soil testing in Clinton County, IN, and when and how to test.

pH Levels

A soil test will measure the pH level of the soil. This is a measurement of how acidic or how alkaline the soil is, which impacts the availability of vital plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. A neutral soil is ideal. A lab-conducted soil test will be able to determine a pH level and be able to suggest methods to improve the balance in your soil.

Testing for Nutrients

In addition to the pH level, a lab-conducted soil test will also be able to determine the levels of nutrients for plants in your soil. Soil tests will gauge the amount of organic matter, optimally around 3 to 5 percent. Not only will the test tell you the levels of the major sources of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, but it will tell you whether the soil has a deficiency or overabundance of micronutrients as well.

How Often to Test

Frequent soil tests are recommend to ensure that the soil is healthy for the particular plants that you are trying to grow. Most agriculturalists recommend that soil be tested at least every three to five years. This will ensure that radical shifts in the composition of the soil do not happen over time.

The Best Time to Test

There is no wrong time to test soil. Soil testing can be done any time of year. Spring is typically the busiest time at the soil testing lab. Many recommend fall (late October through November) as the best time to test. The reason for this is that it gives the grower time to plan for the spring and avoids the spring rush. The soil’s pH and composition is unlikely to change over the winter. Also, the fall soil test may give the grower an idea of what type of fertilizer to use.

How to Get a Soil Sample

Sending a soil sample to a lab is easy. Simply take a clean trowel and a clean, quart-sized Ziploc bag and locate some moist soil in the area that you would like to test. Do not use dry or wet soil. Insert the trowel into the soil about five inches and take a V-shaped chunk of soil and place it into the bag. Repeat in several sections of the target area until you have about one or two cups of soil in the sample bag.

After you have sealed the bag, place it in a shipping-grade cardboard box. Surround the bag with packaging material, so that it does not shift during transit. Fill out the information sheet and mail the sample to the lab. You can also physically drop off the sample at the lab if it’s located in your area.

The Experts in Soil Testing in Clinton County, IN

To learn more about soil testing in Clinton County, IN, consult with the professionals at BCS Landscape Design & Soil Testing. We are the area’s soil testing experts! Locally owned since 1993, we’ve been serving Clinton County families for generations. Please give us a call today to learn how to improve your soil.

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