Michigan State University Soil Nutrient Testing Service Offered by participating garden centers and hardware stores In cooperation with SOCWA, Southeastern Oakland County Water Authority & Groundwater Stewardship Program, Oakland County MSU Extension Saturday, April 1, 2006 through Sunday, April 23, 2006 $14.00 per sample – includes organic matter test Bring your soil samples to one of the stores listed below. For all metro area locations: www.landscape.org The package price includes: pH, lime requirement, phosphorus (P); potassium (K); calcium (Ca); magnesium (Mg.) Plus organic matter analysis. The price also includes delivery of your soil sample from the retailer to the soil testing laboratory at Michigan State University. Test results will be returned in time for spring planting. Participating retailers in Oakland County Auburn Oaks Nursery – 2810 W. Auburn, Rochester Hills Bordine Nursery – Rochester Hills & Clarkston locations English Gardens – all metropolitan locations Four Seasons Garden Center – 14471 Eleven Mile, Oak Park Glenda’s Garden Center -- 40575 Grand River, Novi Goldner Walsh Nursery -- 559 Orchard Lake, Pontiac Oxford Farm/Garden Center – 81 N. Washington, Oxford Telly’s Greenhouse & Garden Center – 3301 John R., Troy Uncle Luke’s Feed Store –6691 Livernois, Troy For soil nutrient testing throughout the year, contact Oakland County MSU Extension: 248-858-0902. SOIL SAMPLING INSTRUCTIONS ON REVERSE SIDE SOIL TESTING IS IMPORTANT FOR HEALTHY PLANTS & CLEAN WATER A soil test is the best way to learn about the needs of your garden or lawn. A soil test indicates nutrient levels already in your soil – a first step in determining how much and what type of fertilizer is needed for the plants you are trying to grow. Over-application of fertilizers can pollute water resources, ruin plants, and waste money. DON’T GUESS…SOIL TEST! Directions for collecting a soil sample: 1. Decide whether you want to test soil from the lawn, flower garden, or vegetable garden. Use a spade or trowel and a clean plastic pail. 2. Collect 10 random soil samples from one type of landscape area – such as your lawn, flower garden, or vegetable garden. Remove a slice of soil -- extending to the bottom of the plant roots (3 inches deep for lawn; 7 inches deep for flowers and vegetables.) Do not include roots, thatch, or other plant materials in the sample. 3. Each small soil sample should be about 1/2 cup. Mix the 10 samples together in the pail. 4. Place 1 cup of the well-mixed soil in a clean plastic bag or container, or in a purchased soil test box. Soil may be dry or damp (not soaking wet). 5. To test more than one area of your landscape, use a clean container and repeat steps #1 through #4. LABEL ALL SAMPLES! 6. Carry soil sample(s) to one of the participating retailers. Purchase the soil test “box” if you have not already done so. Retailers then complete the soil testing form and “box” your soil sample for analysis at the soil testing laboratory, Michigan State University. Retailers, in cooperation with public agencies, deliver the soil test “boxes” to the testing lab. Following the analysis, the soil test report will be mailed to you. Why test soil for nutrients? Since plants take up nutrients from the soil, nutrients need to be replenished from time to time. The only way to identify the particular nutrients needed is to test your soil. Why test soil for organic matter? Organic matter should comprise 5% or more of the soil by weight (5% - 10% by volume). Because organic matter is continually “used” in a biologically active soil system, it needs to be periodically replaced. Compost and peat are examples of organic matter materials which improve soil structure, retain water, encourage root penetration, and aerate soil. Compost is particularly beneficial because it gradually releases nutrients, supports beneficial microorganisms and earthworms, and suppresses some soil-borne diseases. Public information outreach funded through a grant to SOCWA from the Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Program. For additional information, Contact SOCWA at 248-288-5150 or www.socwa.org.