The success of your garden is determined on its soil. Once you know what kind of soil you are working with, you will be better prepared to plant the right tree in the right location.
Soil is composed of minerals, organic matter, air, and water to provide nutrients for your plants. Conducting a soil test will test its pH, or how acidic or alkaline it is, as well as what nutrients are present.
Determine Your Soil Type
There are three main types of soil: loamy, sandy, and clay. Loamy is considered to be ideal because it retains moisture and nutrients but doesn’t stay soggy. However, different plants have different needs. Some plants like lavender prefer sandy soils that drain quickly.
A quick squeeze test can give you an idea of what soil you have. Take a handful of moist soil and squeeze it. Open your hand. If the soil:
- Retains its shape and crumbles when you poke it, it is loamy.
- Retains its shape when poked, it is clay
- Falls apart when you open your hand, it is sandy
Determine Fertilizer & Soil Amendment Needs
Soil tests determine how much fertilizer or soil amendments are needed, if any, by analyzing the soil’s pH levels. Applying fertilizer and amendments when they are not needed can do more harm than good to your trees and plants, causing wilting and leaf burn.
To test the pH balance of your soil, you will need to get test kits. These are available both professionally and as home kits.
Take A Good Soil Sample
Before you take a soil sample to send off to be tested, thoroughly clean all tools before use. Dirty tools can introduce bacteria and other foreign materials into the soil that can alter test results. Make sure the soil is relatively dry as wet soil can give false readings.
Each test kit will have its own way of collecting soil samples. But the general method is to dig several holes about 6 inches deep with your clean tools. Take samples from along the side of each, mix the soils together in a clean bucket and lay it out on newspaper to dry before sending them off.
Contact The Experts At Hansen’s Tree Service
Not sure where to begin? Contacting the ISA-Certified arborists at Hansen’s Tree Service is a start. Our team provides hassle-free estimates and tree health consulting so you can get the most in-depth knowledge about your desired planting areas.
The right tree in the right place will not only grow healthy and strong, but prevent limb failure and damage to property and people.