weldguy
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Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:19 pm

soil test

Im getting a soil test done at A&L Great Lakes Lab. They offer two choices, they test organic matter, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, CEC, pH, and buffer pH in a graphic report format. 2nd choice is everything above plus sodium, conductivity, boron, copper, iron, manganese, sulfer, zinc. 2nd one cost more, which one should I go with, and they will email me my report, I also was wondering if I could get some help understanding it. Thanks for any help.

valley
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Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:25 am
Location: ranches in sierra nevada mountains California & Navada high desert

Re: soil test

Well, those tests sound like they should give you some incite into what you have under your feet. I don't know anyone who has gone much past ph. I'll keep an eye open to see what you hear on the forum and hope you post what test you go for and how you handle the results, Have a great day.

Richard

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: soil test

Those are very thorough and detailed tests. I think the first one would be plenty. No point in paying extra for more tests if you won't know what to do with the results any way.

I did a site search (Google custom search box above) on soil test results. 366 hits come up, but none of the ones I looked at were anything like as detailed.

Here's a couple sample discussions of soil test results:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... hp?t=50544

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 11&t=54526

If you are going to pay for tests, be sure that they will give you not just results, but interpretations and recommendations.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

imafan26
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: soil test

Usually your local extension office will run soil tests and the master gardeners can help you interpret the results. Where I am the best deal is pH plus major nutrients and plant tissue analysis for nitrogen. $12.50. You can ask for organic recommendations otherwise they will give you synthetic recommendations and also tell you how many pounds of fertilizer, lime, or sulfur you need. Farmers will get their information per acre so you need to know how to convert an acre to 100 sq ft. My soil test is for homeowners so it has already been downsized to recommendations per 100 sq ft.

Usually micronutrients are only needed in small amounts so it is not necessary to get that. Just become familiar with the symptoms.

My soil test from the extension gives me pH, phos, Ca, potassium, magnesium, and salinity. Micros only if criteria met, soil category (mine was heavy soil), leaf tissue samples submitted will be analyzed for adequacy of micros. The results also gives expected levels.

It does not measure Nitrogen because it is a volatile element. All soil tests will recommend nitrogen.

The recommendations on my soil test was based on fertilizer and sulfur or lime per 100 sq ft. They will give a fertilizer recommendation, they will tell you to divide total nitrogen recommended into 2-3 applications and they even gave compost recommendations.

additional tests are available at additional costs like virus testing.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

weldguy
Full Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:19 pm

Re: soil test

I got test results back, they was emailed in pdf form, how can i load it so it can be viewed, i tryed to attach the file but got this message, the extension pdf is not allowed

weldguy
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Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:19 pm

Re: soil test

I have not been able to figure out how to attach this pdf file so im going to do my best to describe it. I would like to know what you guys think about results, and any recommendations would be much appreciated. Im going to try organic lawn care, another week or two im having yard arreated, then im going to try my first batch of compost tea with vermicast. Here is the test, it has a result and rating. Thanks for any help.
organic matter,% result=4.2 rating=medium
Phosphorus result=11 rating=low
potassium result=137 rating=medium
magnesium result=460 rating=high
calcium result=2800 rating=high
cation exchange capacity result=18.2 rating=high
ph result=7.4 rating=high

They suggested a fertilizer with a npk of 12-12-12 and suggested 3 applications a year late spring,early fall,late fall. ph was a little high and could cause chlorosis, suggested a application of iron containing a fertilizer 2-3 times a year.

imafan26
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Posts: 11277
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: soil test

I think they gave you good advice
https://greenharvest.com.au/GreenGardenN ... oilpH.html
https://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/222.html

The calcium and magnesium are both high but it usually does not affect growth as long as pH is controlled. A pH of 7.4 is not as bad as pH 8.5. But you would want to avoid adding any more Ca or magnesium to the soil
and acid loving plants won't be happy.

pHof 7.4 is high enough to limit the availability of iron which could could cause chlorosis.


If the basis of your soil is limestone, then iron sulfate would do a better job than sulfur in lowering the pH.


Adding an acidic compost if you can find one or peat moss which is organic matter and acidic will help to buffer the pH of the soil so it behaves more neutrally and make nutrients more available.
Steer manure provides slow release nitrogen and organic matter and can help increase acidity over time. It can be added to the peat moss. Do not use chicken manure. Chickens, ie laying hens are fed calcium to help make the eggshells strong, but what goes in goes out and chicken manure can actually raise the pH of the soil even more.

It is not a quick fix but it will improve over time.

As the pH gets range more of the nutrients will become more available and will balance out. A balanced fertilizer was recommended and that is wise for now. If this is grass, that is established you don't really need a lot of phosphorus since that would contribute to building up of thatch.

If you dethatch, aerate and spread the peat moss/steer manure in a thin even layer a couple of times a year, and get a soil test every three years or so until you are balanced, then your phosphorus requirement may not be as much and the fertilizer recommended will change.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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