The Importance of Soil Testing
As a Soil and Water Conservation District, it is no question that we love soil. While perhaps other areas of conservation may be more flashy or glamorous, it is impossible to have a complete understanding of environmental conservation without considering the importance of soil. The food chain has literal roots in soil and a plant may only be as healthy as the environment it lives in. There are a number of different nutrients, microorganisms, pH levels and other related elements which play important roles in determining the health of a certain area. Thankfully, there are methods to test the soil in order to make a decision as to how to improve soil health. Professional soil scientists, also known as pedologists, are able to analyze different soil levels and then make recommendations based on these findings.
There are many different reasons to consider running a soil test on your property. Soil testing is usually done in large-scale agricultural operations. By estimating the levels of nutrients which will be used by plants, farmers and other agricultural producers can use that information to specify fertilizers. Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District strongly recommends utilizing soil testing for all large-scale agricultural producers. Not only is it possible to promote environmental health by avoiding over-fertilization, understanding the correct levels of fertilizer helps save on monetary expenditures.
However, there are many other reasons to test soil outside of large-scale agricultural production which may result in a benefit to soil health. Even starting a small vegetable garden could be helped by first running a soil test. By having comprehensive soil data, it can help inform decisions about the best sections to plant in, specific plants to include, as well as the proper care. Soil tests provide information on soil acidity, levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and many more. Armed with this information, a recreational gardener may be able to provide their plants with the correct levels and specific types of fertilizer.
Another important reason to test soil is to become familiar with possible soil contaminants which may exist in your soil. A few common mineral soil contaminants include arsenic, lead, copper, mercury, zinc, among others. Some of these, notably arsenic and lead, are extremely dangerous. The exposure of lead and arsenic may lead to physical and mental impairments, particularly in children, illness, and in some cases where exposure is constant and untreated, even death. Before constructing a playset or any other area where children may be, it is important to consider a soil test to ensure there are no harmful contaminants.
Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District is able to complete soil testing for members of Monroe County for any number of reasons. MCSWCD is also available to help interpret the results of specific nutrient levels. For more information on exactly how to collect soil samples, please visit the MCSWCD page on soil testing or feel free to email at email@example.com.
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