By Walter Reeves
Most homeowners roll the dice when it comes to their shrubs. They fertilize their landscape shrubs without any knowledge of what nutrients are in their soil, what nutrients their shrubs are missing and at what PH the shrub thrives in.
Soil Tests take the guesswork out of fertilizing your shrubs and saves you money!
One of the most import facts a soil test provides is the soil pH. pH It is a measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution, expressed as a number between 1 and 14. At the mid-point, 7 denotes neutrality. A pH number below 7 indicates acidity while a number from 7 to 14 points out alkalinity.
Why do we care about pH?
If a chemical solution is too acid or alkaline, the reaction you expect won't occur. What is happening with fertilizer at your plants' root tips? A chemical reaction, sure enough, and if the soil is too acid or too alkaline your hungry plants won't be able to feed themselves.
Most plants like to grow in soil that is slightly acid: 6.0 or thereabouts. Some plants, like azaleas, blueberries and potatoes thrive in soil with a pH between 5.0 and 6.0.
Back to the chemical reaction, though. If your soil pH is 5.5, half of the fertilizer you apply can't be absorbed by your plants.
And just for emphasis, let's repeat it: If your soil is too acid, fifty percent of the fertilizer you purchase does nothing for your plants. The necessary chemical reaction just won't happen.
Soils are constantly changing. The amount and availability of nutrients depends on weather, removal by last years crops or clippings, and additions of nutrients.
Areas such as flower beds, garden plots, and landscape areas should be tested prior to planting to correct any deficiencies.