soil testing

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by touhey33, Mar 3, 2005.

  1. touhey33

    touhey33 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 773

    How do you guys test your soil, I saw a electronic soil tester that measures the ph level as well as probes for fertility it is 24.99 is this a good deal and something i should get for my lawn, I will not be applying ferts for hire until next season.
     
  2. Luscious Lawns

    Luscious Lawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    Just my 2 cents..... but I've always considered th $25 probe more of a gadget than a real tool. I just get the local extension service to test it. I think it cost $6 and they give you a printout of what you need and the amount you need. Couldn't't be easier.
     
  3. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,125

  4. touhey33

    touhey33 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 773

    I understand your opinion, but have you used it, if you havn't used it you don't know if it works. If it works, then it is something handy to have and you can test soils right on the spot. If there is anyone that has used these please let me know what you think and if they are a waste of money.
     
  5. green with envy

    green with envy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 219

    I keep one in my truck. For Ph it's fairly accurate. However a true soil test provides so much more info than just the Ph level

    Honestly my customers think that I am very hi-tech and pay attention to detail because I take out my little gadget and test the soil's Ph.

    I have gotten some seeding jobs and the customers have told me that I was the only one who tested the Ph. That's why they hired me.

    Mike
     
  6. airtractrdrivr

    airtractrdrivr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 126

    I think you can buy an actual soil test kit that tests everything for around $50 or $60.
     
  7. Doesn't tell you how much, or which liming product to use if ph is too low!
     
  8. green with envy

    green with envy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 219

    Tim, Honestly our soil tests don't do a very good job either, They all use acid draws to see what's in the soil. Almost all of our tests say that there it plenty of P in the soil but in reality our soils are calcium deficient. It's pretty bad when the tests are not accurate. And that's through the local extensions.

    Mike

    As for how much lime and what type the soil needs,that's what I get paid for.

    I didn't go to all those classes and seminars if I could not give an educated treatment schedule.
     
  9. cemars

    cemars LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 387

    It depends on you definition of "if it works" Can it give you a fairly accurate base pH? Maybe, but what about the buffer pH and the cation exchange capacity, and how about macro and micro nutrient deficiencies. As far as getting a true reading into the needs of the soil, these devises are useless. As far as impressing an uneducated client, it might just do the trick if that is your goal
     

  10. MIKE,

    As for how much lime and what type the soil needs,that's what I get paid for.

    A good soil test will give you the base saturations for mag and cal, which you need to determine which liming material to use. Can your meter do that?

    I didn't go to all those classes and seminars if I could not give an educated treatment schedule.[/QUOTE]

    All the education you gained at those classes and seminars are beneficial, but is useless in determining the correct material to use without the knowledge of the base saturations, that only a quality soil test will deliver!

    It's pretty bad when the tests are not accurate. And that's through the local extensions

    i NEVER FELT COMFORTABLE WITH THOSE TEST. aT ONE TIME THEY WHERE FREE IN vA, AND THE STUDENTS RAN THE TEST!
     

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