Extension Program has new soil testing service

Wayne Hobbs
Posted 9/6/17

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Starting this month, the University of Florida/IFAS Clay County Extension service will be offering free pH soil testing to residents of Clay County. This will allow you to find …

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Extension Program has new soil testing service

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Starting this month, the University of Florida/IFAS Clay County Extension service will be offering free pH soil testing to residents of Clay County. This will allow you to find out some potential issues that may be present in your soil and take corrective actions while also connecting with all the horticultural education we can provide.

While often overlooked, it is very important to consider pH as one of the major factors in the success of your garden lawn or landscape. Plants need nutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphorous Potassium and Iron to sustain life and grow but sometimes deficiencies in certain nutrients can go unnoticed.

pH is the measure of how acidic the soil is on a scale of 0-14 and a neutral measurement of 7. Anything below 7 is acidic and everything above 7 is basic or alkaline. Most plants grow well with a pH of 6.5 but each plant species may be different. pH is important to consider because an excessively high or low pH can lead to nutrients in the soil not being available for plant use.

When gathering a soil sample for testing, it is best to move around the area you want to test and get a small sample from several places, usually 12-13. The amount of soil needed is around a pint. The soil should then be dried before being placed in a bag and brought to our office which is located at 2463 State Road 16W outside of Green Cove Springs, in front of the fairgrounds. When you arrive, you will have to fill out a short form with information such as the plants being grown in the area, size of the area, other questions and concerns and contact information.

Once we receive the sample, it will be tested and you will receive a result within 7-10 days, usually sooner. The results will also include recommendations such as lime applications for overly acidic soils, ways to attempt to bring the pH down from alkaline soils and helpful documentation for your plants.

If you would like further analysis, such as actual nutrient levels of Phosphorous, Potassium, or micro-nutrients, the University of Florida offers soil testing to the community at a reasonable fee to assist with these issues. To complete a soil test, forms and sample bags are available at the UF/IFAS Clay County Extension Office as well. Submission forms can also be found online at

http://soilslab.ifas.ufl.edu/ESTL%20Tests.asp.

With soil test results, you can make informed decisions on how to provide optimum nutrition for your plants. Soil testing makes it easier for University of Florida/IFAS Extension to make recommendations for plant care.

If you have any more questions about soil tests, any other landscape topics, or need plant or pest materials identified, contact the University of Florida/IFAS Extension Clay County Master Gardeners at IF-SVC-Clay-MG@ufl.edu or call by phone at (904 )284-6355.

Also, remember that this Saturday, Sept. 9 the UF/IFAS Clay County Master Gardeners will be holding their annual plant sale at our office from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. There will be more than 1,900 plants for sale, free workshops, vendors, food, and fun for everyone. We hope to see you there.

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