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Now is the time to test soil in landscape
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During the cold days of winter it’s hard to think about summer gardens and green lawns, but now is an excellent time to test your soil.


Soil tests, such as those conducted by The University of Georgia Extension Service, will help you develop and maintain a more productive soil by providing information about the fertility status of your soil.


Information obtained from a soil test will help you select the proper liming and fertilization program to obtain optimal growth of lawn, garden and ornamental plants. Best of all taking a soil test is easy.


One of the most important steps in soil testing is collecting the sample. Soil test results can be no better than the sample submitted to the laboratory for analysis. 


A soil sample weighing about 1 pound represents thousands of pounds of soil in the landscape or garden. Therefore, it is important that soil samples be properly and carefully taken.


Areas that have been treated differently should be sampled separately. If the front and back lawns have been treated differently, or if they are seeded to different grasses, take a separate sample from each. Take soil from a minimum of 10 random locations in the sampled area and mix together in a clean bucket.


Sample to a depth of 4 inches for lawns. For gardens, ornamentals and fruit trees sample to a depth of 6 inches. 


Put 1 pint of the mixed soil in a clean container and take to your local extension office.


At the extension office, the soil will be placed in soil sample bags and mailed to the University of Georgia for testing. Within about a week you will receive a copy of your soil test results. The test results will state the level of soil fertility and tell how much lime and fertilizer should be added to the soil. The cost for a soil test is $6, plus $2 postage.


For more information on the soil testing service, contact the Dawson County Extension at (706) 265-2442.


Clark Beusse is the Dawson County extension agent. For more information, call (706) 265-2442.