Taking A Soil Test In Your Pecan Orchard

Taking a soil test in pecan orchard


We know fertilizing trees helps them thrive, but how do we know what kind of fertilizer they really need? One way to find out is to do a soil test. Soil tests are inexpensive, easy to do, and invaluable to anyone wanting to grow pecan trees.



The Importance of Soil Testing

Soil types are different depending on where you’re located. If you don’t test your soil, you really don’t know what nutrients are lacking and what the P.H. level is. To do a soil test, find a lab online or get in touch with your county’s extension office. They’ll educate you on how to get them a soil sample so they can test it. You should aim to get a test done every winter.


How to Collect your Soil

Collecting soil for your test is simple. Use a shovel and a plastic five-gallon bucket to collect small amounts of soil from random trees throughout your orchard. You don’t have to get soil from under every tree in the orchard. You’re just looking for an average. If you don’t have any major variations in the color or texture of the soil from one end of the orchard to the other, one test should be sufficient. If your orchard has variations like this or major elevation changes, you may want to get a test done for each of the different areas in your orchard.

When it comes to scooping up the soil, push your shovel in and lean it over to expose the cleaner soil about 4-8 inches below the surface. Then scoop a little into your bucket. Make sure to use a plastic bucket because a metal bucket may taint the test results.

After you’ve gathered random samples, give them a good mix and use that average to fill up the bag you’ll take back to the extension office to be tested. Be sure to clearly fill out the label with your information and let them know you’re growing pecan trees. You don’t want to accidentally get someone else’s test results or recommendations for the wrong crop.


Utilizing the Results

Once your test results come back, use that information to make calculations and start shopping for lime and fertilizer. If you’re new to soil testing and fertilizing, take a few minutes to discuss your test results with your extension agent or the lab that did your test. They can help interpret the results and point you to a good source for purchasing what you need.

Getting a soil test is well worth your time and money. It takes the guess work out of fertilizing and gets you well on your way to an orchard full of healthy trees, and hopefully a good crop of nuts this fall!

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