The Role of a Soil Sample

May 3, 2016

Soil testing is a pretty simple concept! A sample of the soil on your property is taken, and sent to a laboratory to be analyzed. There, they determine what nutrients are present in your soil, the amounts of each nutrient, and your soil’s pH. But why is taking the soil sample necessary?

There are two approaches to fertilization: The blanket approach, and prescription fertilization. The blanket approach is using the a seasonal fertilizer for each property, no matter what variances there are in nutrient deficiency.

Prescription fertilization goes hand-in-hand with soil testing. Once the soil has been analyzed, an experienced plant health care technician can mix a fertilizer that specifically meets the needs of the property. With this method your plants are getting a fertilizer that accommodates what your soil is deficient in.

Why fertilize? Unfortunately, urban landscape settings sometimes make it necessary for nutrients that would normally be readily available in non-urban settings to be applied via fertilizer application

Why fertilize? Unfortunately, urban landscape settings sometimes make it necessary for nutrients that would normally be readily available in non-urban settings to be applied via fertilizer.

Fertilizer as ‘food’ for your plants is a common misnomer. Plants produce their own ‘food’ through photosynthesis, but their ability to complete this process effectively does depend on having a supply of the necessary elements for plant growth in the soil (like Nitrogen, Sulfur, Potassium, and Magnesium, just to name a few). Fertilizer contains these elements, or nutrients. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is, there can definitely be too much of a good thing. Fertilizer applied properly can greatly benefit your plants, but unnecessary or unguided fertilizer applications can have the opposite effect (as well as waste your money). Soil sampling allows us to analyze what your trees and shrubs need, as well as what they don’t.

Interested in having your soil tested, or prescription fertilization? Contact us  to set up an appointment with one of our Consulting Arborists!