It’s part of doing your homework before you spend a significant amount of time or money working on something that might already be doomed to fail before you’ve even started. Soil testing can tell you a lot about the dirt you’re about to plant something into. Most importantly it can tell you about the PH of the soil and the nutrient content. If the PH is too high or too low for the type of plant you’re putting into it, then the plant will not be able to efficiently extract the nutrients that it needs to grow.
We broke the orchard property down into 4 sections and did separate soil samples for each section. Ideally you would sample even smaller zones than this, but our soil is very similar in makeup from the front of the property to the rear so there was no pressing reason to sample in smaller sections.
Thankfully our soil tests came back with good results. The pH needs to be close to 6, so at 6.2 we are in great shape. There was a need to add Nitrogen and Phosphorus to the soil, but those are easily added to the soil before working it so that they will be immediately available to the trees when you have planted them. Apparently a very low Nitrogen level is very common in our area. Considering how important it is to plant growth, you can probably safely add some nitrogen fertilizer and see a positive response from your own trees.
You can see a copy of one of the soil reports below.
Do your own Soil Testing
If you want to do soil testing of your own, you can find the soil sample submission form here.
If possible you should use one of the free soil sample baggies that A&M provides. If you’re in Erath County Texas, you can get those from the Ag Extension Office that is on the square.
Courthouse Annex, Room 109
112 W College St
Stephenville, TX 76401-4214
A picture is worth a 1000 words. A video is worth …
If you’re interested in doing soil testing, this video from the A&M Agrilife Extension will show you how to do it right. Alternative, you can come by the orchard sometime and I’ll show you how.