Soil Sam­pling in North­west Ge­or­gia

Calhoun Times - - RELIGION -

Com­mer­cial Veg­etable Work­shop will have taken place, but you still have time to regis­ter for the Com­mer­cial Small Fruit Work­shop for Septem­ber 19th. If in­ter­ested, I can easy email or mail you a flyer upon re­quest.

One thing I want you to re­mem­ber is the im­por­tance of soil sam­pling. If you take pride in your lawn grass, try to have the best veg­etable gar­den or want to have the most pro­duc­tive pas­ture for ex­am­ple, soil sam­pling needs to be on the list of ac­tiv­i­ties. The best thing I can tell you is a prop­erly taken soil sam­pling pro­ce­dure to get ac­cu­rate re­sults is the best way to know what is go­ing on un­der the soil sur­face. The soil re­port will give you rec­om­men­da­tions on fer­til­iza­tion and lim­ing for the ac­tiv­ity you are do­ing on that piece of ground. Soil sam­pling will help take out the guess­work in re­gards to fer­til­iz­ing and lime ap­pli­ca­tion. To­day, I will be shar­ing in­for­ma­tion from a long stand­ing UGA cir­cu­lar by Leti­cia Sonon and David Kis­sel with the UGA Soil Test Lab.

First, to send a soil sam­ple to the UGA Soil Test Lab, it will cost you $9 per sam­ple. In the course of this ar­ti­cle, we will tell you how to do that cor­rectly. We nor­mally will re­ceive re­sults from the lab in 5 to 6 work­ing days and can ei­ther email or mail the re­sults to you. We don’t take the sam­ples for you, but we do have a few soil probes that can be checked out and used by clien­tele. The goal is to ob­tain the nu­tri­ent sta­tus of your soil and also to mea­sure the soil pH. From there, the soil test re­sults are used to give you rec­om­men­da­tions on what to add as far as fer­til­izer and lime in or­der to make your soil more pro­duc­tive. To be more ac­cu­rate, we will code your soil sam­ple for the ac­tiv­ity you will be do­ing on that piece of ground. You may be grow­ing a fes­cue lawn, a hy­brid ber­muda lawn, a veg­etable gar­den or even a wildlife food plot on that prop­erty. We have hun­dreds of codes so we can get real ac­cu­rate on your ac­tiv­ity.

You can do a soil test any time of year. We do sug­gest to al­low enough time for the anal­y­sis and for the fer­til­izer and lime ap­pli­ca­tion. Note that lime will re­act slowly with the soil so we if you need lime, it is nice to give it 2 to 3 months be­fore plant­ing. Fall can be the best time of year to sam­ple be­cause ar­eas are nor­mally dry and more eas­ily sam­pled. I will add that once medium and high fer­til­ity lev­els are es­tab­lished, lawn and or­na­men­tal ar­eas can be sam­pled ev­ery 2 to 3 years. In ad­di­tion, veg­etable gar­dens can be sam­pled ev­ery 1 to 2 years. When you sam­ple, you need to know the proper sam­pling depth for that ac­tiv­ity. For lawns and pas­tures, you sam­ple to a depth of 4 inches. For gar­dens, or­na­men­tals, mixed fruit trees and wildlife plots, you need to sam­ple to a depth of 6 inches. When you sam­ple you need to use the zigzag ap­proach and ran­domly take 8 to 10 sam­ples. For trees and shrubs, take soil sam­ples from 6 to 8 spots around the dripline of the plants.

When you sam­ple, you need the cor­rect tools and con­tain­ers. Do not use sam­pling tools and con­tain­ers that have been used for fer­til­izer and lime. The col­lect­ing tool can be a trowel, shovel, spade, hand probes or hand augers. Again, we have soil probes that can be checked out and used for a few days. You need a good clean plas­tic bucket for ex­am­ple for each col­lected sam­ple. When you ran­domly stop to take a sam­ple, clear the ground sur­face of grass and mulch for ex­am­ple. Then push the trowel for ex­am­ple in the ground to the cor­rect depth. Push the han­dle for­ward with the tool still in the ground to make a wide open­ing. Then cut a thin slice from the side of the open­ing that is of uni­form thick­ness. The slice should be .25” thick and two inches in width from the top of the ground to the depth of the cut.

You will need to com­bine your sam­ples and mix. We will need a pint of the mixed soil to trans­fer to the of­fi­cial UGA Soil Lab bag for mail­ing. You can pick up the bag prior to sam­pling if you choose since sam­pling di­rec­tions are on the bag too. I know we have been dry lately, but I would air dry the sam­ple overnight on a flat sur­face lined with clean white pa­per prior to bring­ing to the of­fice.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact UGA Ex­ten­sionGor­don County at 706-629-8685 or email gbow­man@uga.edu.

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