November 24, 2020 , 3:45 am

Clemson Ag Service Lab tests different types of Soil

Get soil tested at Clemson Ag Service Lab

Fall is in the air, and hundreds of photos of changing landscape colors are being shot every day. Clemson University experts say pictures that growers should focus on this season are those that give a clearer vision of their soils’ health.

Soil tests can help by giving snapshots of soil fertility. These tests are available from the Clemson Agricultural Service Laboratory.

“Fall and winter are the best times for growers to have their soils tested,” said Shannon Alford, Ag Service Laboratory director. “Testing now gives growers plenty of time to get their soils ready for spring planting.”

Soil tests run at $6 per sample. The basic soil test provides information regarding soil pH, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and more. Growers who test now have plenty of time to apply lime, fertilizer and other nutrients needed to grow profitable crops in the spring.

“Each soil report is tailored to the specific crop and soil results,” Alford said. “When growers have their soils tested, they will be given crop-specific recommendations to assist them in making fertility decisions for optimal crop yields.”
Separate soil samples should be collected for areas cropped or fertilized differently or those with different soil types or textures. For large areas, one soil sample should represent 10 acres or less. For home gardens, lawns or ornamental beds, just one sample is required per uniform area.

To collect soil samples:

• Use a soil auger, spade or shovel. Samples from cultivated areas should be taken from the surface to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Samples from pasture or turf should be taken only 2 to 4 inches deep.
• Soil cores should be approximately the same size throughout their depth. No adjustments are needed if using a soil probe. If using a spade or shovel, take a thin slice from the side of a V-shaped hole. Take sub-samples from at least 12 locations within the sample area.

• Place the sub-samples in a clean plastic bucket and mix thoroughly.

• Do not heat a moist soil sample to dry. Spread soil out on newspaper and let air dry overnight. Crumble and mix before it hardens.

• Label or number each soil bag. Fill bag to fill line (the equivalent of 1-2 cups). Do not use the same number for more than one sample.
A soil analysis form should accompany each sample. These forms can be found at clemson.edu/public/regulatory/ag-srvc-lab/soil-testing/soil.pdf. Samples, payments and completed forms can be sent to the Ag Service Lab by any of the following methods:

• Shipping samples to 171 Old Cherry Road, Clemson, SC 29634, via the U.S. Postal Service, United Parcel Service or FedEx.

Tags
Ag Service Lab
Clemson University
ornamental beds
Soil tests

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