Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How to Buy the Right Fertilizer

Have you ever wondered why your neighbors grass or tomato plants are so healthy and green? The trick to strong, vigorous plant growth is simply using the right fertilizer. A reputable soil testing lab will help you to analyze your lawn or garden before you buy fertilizer. This will point you in the direction of the proper nutrient needs of your plants.

Every farmer or home gardener has the experience to know that no land has the exact nutrient needs for their crops and plants. One effective tool many successful growers use is putting science behind their fertilizer choices. Every crop has a specific need and a grower needs to determine these needs which change from season to season. A soil testing lab helps growers to determine these needs.

A soil testing lab will determine the proper kind of fertilizer or lime you need to use. Additionally they guide you how not to over-fertilize your plants. Over-fertilization wastes time and money, and is a detriment to the environment. It often promotes burnt, overgrown plants with maturation issues.

The analysis begins with the grower taking multiple samples of the proposed growing area. Usually, samples are taken from the surface to a depth of six inches, and if it's for a lawn, samples are taken from two to three inches.

The lab will advise on proper handling of the samples taken. The sampling tools should always be kept clean. One must take not use a garden trowel or bucket that has been used for fertilizer in the past, to avoid the residue that may contaminate your samples. Samples taken that are overly wet will also cause an inaccurate analysis.

Once you receive the soil testing results, you will know the pH value besides learning the current levels of calcium, magnesium, phosphate, zinc, potassium, and manganese found in your samples. All of these minerals and elements will of course by influential to plant health. Your lab will also recommend the right fertilizer and lime you should use for the best most efficient growth.

Often growers don't understand why nitrogen, such an essential element, is not included in soil testing results. Nitrogen moves quickly n the ground and is difficult to get exact levels. It is a very mobile element, and any sample taken will not yield accurate results. Another key factor for plant cultivation is soil acidity. The perfect soil pH varies based on the types of plants you are trying to grow. For instance, acidic soils are ideal for blueberries, but lower acidity is needed for many vegetables.

It's always better to know your plant's underlying biology if you are want to get the best possible results from your plants. Sending your samples to lab testing can certainly get you great rewards especially when it comes to horticulture. If you are looking at achieving the best results from your crops this year, send your samples to a professional soil testing lab and determine the right fertilizer for you.

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