EXTENSION NEWS: Fighting the fall rush | Archives

We fell in fall pretty quickly here in Lee County and that does mean a few things, but one of the important things is: time to harvest and sample the soil. It’s a bit quieter at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s soil testing lab, given that many of the state’s farmers harvest crops on a large scale.

It would be good to take advantage of the lull to have your soil analyzes go to the lab. Once November, December and January arrive, our farmers in Lee County and the State of North Carolina will bombard the soil testing lab with hundreds of thousands of soil samples. Once the month of December arrives, the deadline for returning your soil test report will be reduced from 1 to 6 weeks.

In addition, it is a good idea to take soil samples now during the “no charge” period. From November 29 to April 1, 2022, a charge of $ 4 per sample applies. The high sample load is one of the reasons for billing and adds to the high costs of soil testing.

The importance of testing your soils at this time of year cannot be overstated. The first step to having a successful garden, lawn or landscape begins in the fall and winter. Having your soil checked for nutrients and pH every year is crucial to maintaining an optimal planting environment. Starting in the fall and winter, you will need to apply some “slow release” soil amendments and take time to start working, such as lime. Ten out of ten times you can certainly bet that you won’t start to see the full effects of lime until well after eight months of application. Other soil amendments such as nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium can be applied closer to the planting of the desired crop. For example, cool-season annuals and perennials tend to benefit from a nutrient application in the fall and spring, while warm-season plants prefer nutrient applications in late spring. .

The take-home message for fall soil testing is to just beat the farmers in the fist. The sooner you can grab your soil test report and apply lime along with other nutrients, the more effective your lawn, garden, and landscape will be in the spring, summer, and fall following. For assistance with soil analysis and interpretation of soil analysis reports, please contact our office at 919-775-5624 and ask to speak to Mitchell Williams. If you start taking soil samples now and get a head start not only on our farmers, but also on next year’s growing season, you will definitely have a successful planting next year.

Mitchell Williams is the Agricultural Officer, Field Crops, Livestock, and Pesticide Coordinator for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County.

Mitchell Williams is the Agricultural Officer, Field Crops, Livestock, and Pesticide Coordinator for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County.


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