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Guide To Soil Testing

If you are a farmer, gardener or botanist then you probably know what soil testing is. If you don’t then let me explain. Soil testing is the diagnosis of soil to check its composition, the level of nutrients and also its pH levels.

Soil testing Melbourne is important for several reasons. It optimizes crop production, protects the soil from excess fertilizers, diagnosis plant culture problems, help improve nutritional balance of the soil and save costs by helping to find the optimum amount of fertilizer required.

Soil testing is done in four steps. First step is sample collection, analysis of the sample, data interpretation and finally recommendations based on the data. It should be noted that when sending a sample to be inspected the method of sample collection is critical. Often bad sample collection methods can send samples that do you not reflect the condition of the soil. To get a sample that really represents the soil first dig a few random spots on the land. If the area is uniform then divide the area into parts. Also if there are different areas devoted to different plants or crops then they will require their own separate sample. Collect the soil from the depth of about six inches. When collecting avoid contaminating the sample from say dirty hands or work materials. Gather the samples from different areas of your land and mix them into a clean plastic bucket. Make sure to remove any debris. Then spread the soil on a flat surface and let it dry for a day. After that collect a cup from the sample to send it for testing.

Methods

The first method is known as the Saturated Media Extract method. In this method the soil and water are mixed to form a paste. Then the liquid from the paste is extracted to test for nutrients and pH levels.

The second method is the 1:2 method: In this method dried soil and water are mixed in a ratio of 1:2. It is one part soil and two parts water. Then with the use of a filter paper the liquid is separated from the solid soil.

The third method is known as Leachate Pour Thru Method. In this method soil samples are collected as well as leachate . Leachate is water that has passed through the soil. The leachate pour thru is a great method if you want to continuously monitor the soil. If you are interested about geotechnical you can visit this website https://www.pearcegeotech.com.au/geotechnical.html.

Limitations

Soil testing has one limitation that is nitrogen testing. It is difficult to test for nitrogen even though it’s a critical nutrient. Nitrogen is quickly lost from the soil as it sweeps away as a gas. It cannot be taken for testing. One way to test for nitrogen is through organic matter. Organic matter locks up nitrogen so it provide an idea of the amount of nitrogen available.

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