Originally Posted by Smallaxe
Be sure it is understood,,, testing for what?
I don't believe that testers really differentiate between soil growing ntrees and soil growing corn... the 'test results' are going to be 2 very different things... Would you even be interestted in the pH in a test for trees/shrubs???
I go to our local cooperative extension service for soil tests, and pay about $10, and give them random samples from the desired areas, and they return me a very comprehensive report on the soil conditions. They always give ph, as well as soil makeup, nutrient and mineral levels, how well it will drain, everything you'd need.
So in our area you wouldnt have to tell them what info you need, they tell you everything automatically. I think thats the type of test that Ferris68 was talking about.
That would definitely be your best bet to get started. You cant go wrong with it. Plus it makes you look more organized and professional to the client.
But from my early experience when I didnt have the type of expensive tree and shrub deep root feeding equipment, I would buy Miracle Grow water soluble fertilizer, mix it in a miracle grow hose end sprayer, and follow the label instructions.
I've done that for many clients, and in some cases I've seen dramatic results later on. It doesnt reach the roots of larger trees in a big hurry, but it will gradually work its way into the soil, plus you spray it on the foliage, so it works that way too. I've never injured any plants doing it, but there are some plants I avoid if they are sensitive to any chemicals, like expensive lace-leaf maples(although I fertilized mine this spring with MG). I also dont bother with really large trees, anything over maybe 6" diameter trunk.
I think its much better than nothing, and it definitely helps. In our area in the southeast Pa, N DE, N MD region the soil is poor, and has little nutrients.
Get a soil test, a hose end sprayer, and some Miracle grow or Vigoro water soluble plant food from Lowes. Follow instructions!