Next Up – Soil Testing

Soil testing is a very useful tool in order to assess required fertility levels for next year. The proper sample time in the fall is after the soil surface temperature drops to less than 7°C. At this temperature, soil processes such as mineralization (breakdown of soil organic matter into plant available nutrients) that cause changes in soil nutrients proceed quite slowly and therefore changes in plant available nutrient levels are normally not great. By sampling in the fall, there is sufficient time to properly process samples, provide test results and recommendations, and develop a fertilizer program for this fall or next spring. It allows more time to order fertilizer, to take advantage of typically lower fall fertilizer prices, and to spread the workload out over two seasons.