We discussed the importance of soil sampling in a previous blog and continue to mention the importance of understanding the condition of your soil. Soil tests are strongly encouraged if your latest test is older than 3 years and completing them in the fall allows you time to amend the soil prior to winter. Fall is a great time to apply lime which assists in raising the pH of your soil to an optimal level.
Soil test results are used to inform nutrient applications and rates, when used within a nutrient management plan. They are a strong tool to ensure optimal use of fertilizer. Soil tests also helps to diagnose any underlying issues within your orchard and create a plan to rectify this.
Defining a Sampling Area
Defining a sampling area is incredibly important, but be sure to consider the following soil conditions when choosing a sampling area:
- Physical- color, texture, structure for example
- Chemical– nitrogen, carbon, magnesium for example
- Biological conditions of the soil– enzymes and nematodes for example
The most effective strategy is to take samples from different areas of the orchard and compare them. Each sample consist of 10-20 subsamples based on area covered and if you are broadcasting or banding your fertilizer.
Different Analyses Available on Request
Different types of soil analyses are available, depending on your specific needs. The analyses Growers Supply Co. offers are reviewed below:
- Basic or complete soil analysis: the complete analysis includes micro-nutrients where the basic does not
- Soil Texture Test: this test aims to understand the different mineral particles; sand, slit and clay, expressed as a percentage relative to one another
- Nematode Analysis: this test aims to detect and avoid problems that are caused by the plant parasitic nematodes (microscopic round worms) in soils, potentially causing crop damage
- Additional Analysis: soluble salts or free calcium carbonate can be added to a complete soil test
Currently Available: The VitTellus Bio℠ and VitTellus® Soil Health Test
Growers Supply Co. works with A&L Laboratories Canada, using both the VitTellus Bio℠ and the VitTellus® Soil health analyses. The VitTellus Bio℠ is a next-generation soil test which measures soil microbial populations. This compliments the VitTellus® Soil health test which assesses soil health and soil chemistry parameters, both leading to better understanding of your soil’s condition.
It’s never too late to start analysing your soil and we continue to express the importance of this intricate process. Growers Supply Co. offers soil, tissues, nematode and compost material testing and our experts can assist you in selecting the correct nutrients and crop inputs to maximize your soil’s health, leading to successful crop growth. Reach out to us with questions you have and to get started today.