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Need to Know to Make it Grow: Soil Testing and Nutrient Needs

As the weather warms up and we begin to plant, it is important to remember soil pH and adequate fertilization are very important.

The best way to determine this is by taking a soil sample. Virginia Tech Soil sample sheets and boxes are available at the Charlotte County Extension office. Currently these items are located outside the office entrance in a box due to COVID-19. When taking a soil sample make sure to reach plant rooting depth. On plowed land, that would be 4 to 6 inches and on no-till or pasture 2 to 4 inches. Samples may be taken using a shovel, soil probe, or a spade. Each field or yard would need a minimum of 10 individual core samples taken for each lab sample box. The 10 core samples would then be placed in a bucket and mixed together. After mixing you would pull out enough soil to fill the soil sample box. The sample box is then closed, a form filled out for each sample box, and mailed to the Virginia Tech Soil Testing Lab. It is also important to sample any problem areas as a separate sample. If you need help taking a soil sample or have further questions contact the Charlotte County Extension Office at 434-542-5884

Joanne Jones is an extension agent with the Charlotte County Extension Office. Her email address is jojenki1@vt.edu.