A soil test will tell you what nutrients are in your soil and what you may need to add (in the form of fertilizer) for successful crop growth. Plants need nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (macronutrients) as will as micronutrients to grow. Deficiency or excess of these elements will impact the health and productivity of plants. In addition, the pH (acid/alkaline level) of your soil has an impact upon how much of your soil's nutrients your plants will be able to use. CCE Sullivan's agriculture and horticulture Programs can provide or arrange several different tests for your soil, and can help you to interpret the results and choose an appropriate course of action if necessary.
A pH test measures the acid/alkaline level of your soil. In the pH scale, 7.0 is considered neutral; lower numbers indicate acid soil, while higher numbers indicate that the soil is alkaline. Most plants prefer a pH of 6.8. pH levels influence nutrient availability, with most nutrients being available to plants when the pH is in this range (6.8-7.0). If a soil is too alkaline or too acid, certain nutrients may be limited. To change soil pH to the desirable range, you will either add lime if the soil is too acid or sulfur if the soil is too alkaline. With your pH test result, we will let you know what amount of lime or sulfur is needed if any.
The CCE Sullivan Horticulture Program will perform a pH test on soil samples that are brought to our Education Center at 64 Ferndale-Loomis Road, for a fee. Please see instructions on "How to take a soil sample", and come into the office to fill out a form.
We also sell pH Test Kits. When properly used, the pH can be determined to approximately +0.1 pH unit. This is adequate for most situations. Note: the pH kit cannot be used accurately by a person with color blindness.
Soil samples for nutrient analysis may be brought to the CCE Sullivan Education Center, along with the appropriate form and fee, and we will send them to the Agro-One Soils Laboratory for testing. Copies of the test results are returned to the individual and to CCE Sullivan about two weeks later, and you can contact an educator if necessary for assistance in interpreting your results.
For more soil testing information, Dairy One Website
Last updated June 18, 2020