soil testing labs

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by grassmasterswilson, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,518

    Where do you guys send samples? I usually use my local university, NC State. They do a pretty good job, but the turn around is usually 4-6 weeks. I've heard Virginia Tech's is very good especially on testing for Nitrogen.

    any info or links would be great.
     
  2. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,643

  3. R&S Lawn Care

    R&S Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 294

    Oklahoma State U. 7-10 days. $10. For npk and ph and recommendations.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  4. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,946

    I second A&L labs. Comprehensive tests at a good price and fast turnaround time. Going through the extension service is a joke. 2 weeks and only NPK and pH. If I wanted micronutrients, that would be $10 per element and my turnaround time might be months.
     
  5. R&S Lawn Care

    R&S Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 294

    $10. Is well worth it to me, as it gives a good starting point. Had some yards with ph of 4.7-5.2. This was the only way to know what the problem was. I thought the pre's were root pruning. Now i know it was the AL in the soil that was doing damage. Yes, testing for micros can get expensive. After liming these suspect yards are coming around. Guy at OSU said he's had a lot coming in at 4-4.5. Not normally this low.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  6. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    Why do you need a soil test for N? Sounds like some folks don't understand soil chemistry and plant nutrition ....
     
  7. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,946

    The N reading is something I do not pay much attention to. It is the other 10 or so elements that make a difference.
     
  8. GaryCinChicago

    GaryCinChicago LawnSite Member
    Posts: 14

  9. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,518

    I wasn't referring to the amount of N needed. Rather that i've heard the extension testing methods aren't very accurate of N and other elements.

    Not sure if you know anything about North Carolina soils but our major issue is really only pH. I've never had a soil test that recommended anything other than a generic 15-0-15 fert.

    You are correct that I don't understand the lawns needs for micros other than I like to have them with my normal fert apps. People in my area will never pay for a specialty app of Mg, zinc, or iron.
     
  10. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    There are more than a few things that should be set straight about your thoughts on soil testing. First, N is not usually tested because it is a transient element that changes form and presence rather quickly in the soil. Testing it at one point in time doesn't help you make management decisions, since the level has changed from the time you took the sample to the time you analyze the results. I'm VERY familiar with NC soils, which is why I recommend the NC testing lab, not some lab outside of the state.

    Secondly, extension service methods are just as reliable as private lab methods. The North Carolina Dept. of Ag (the NCSU extension service lab) uses the exact same method for analysis that A&L Labs, Logan Labs, and CLC Labs uses. The NC Dept of Ag lab is also part of the North American Proficiency Testing Program, which ensures soil test quality among labs. Logan, A&L, and CLC are also a part of this program.

    Third, the NC Dept of Ag lab includes HM%, OM by weight, CEC, BCSR, pH, P, K, Ca, Mg, Mn, Zn, Cu, and S in its test.

    And the NC lab is FREE to all NC residents! Its free in the sense that you don't have to pay a fee for the test. The cost of the test is funded by a tax on fertilizer, so if you buy fertilizer, you've already paid for the soil test. May as well use it!

    But, don't think that state extension service tests (for any state) are inferior. The private labs usually get their testing methods and knowledge from the state labs.
     

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