soil testing #732825 - Ask Extension

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soil testing #732825

Asked October 31, 2020, 8:15 PM EDT

Hi I just moved to a piece of property (about six acres) where we can plant a large garden and was wondering about soil testing. Where do I go, who does this, how to take a sample?? We also have a small fruit tree orchard with about 5 different kinds of fruit trees, peaches, apples, pears, cherries and plums I think? I have no idea what to do with them how to prune, why some are not producing etc. Any kind of info would help, I know there is a ton on the web but kinda overwhelming where to start, thanks for any help you can give us.

Lenawee County Michigan

Expert Response

Hello,

We  have a number of publications to help you. You can also find many reference books in your library, too.

A soil test will tell  if any fertilizer or other amendments are needed. You will separately soil test for each area of the property, and each plant type  you grow- vegetable garden, fruit trees, lawns. During Covid, the MSU Extension offices are closed( they sell soil test kits). Instead, you can follow directions at the soil lab, package the soil sample in your own clean baggie, box it up and mail it to the lab. Print the sample submission form,  fill it out, and mail it with your payment and baggie of soil.

https://www.canr.msu.edu/spnl/

Vegetable gardening:

https://www.canr.msu.edu/home_gardening/tip_sheets/smart-vegetables

https://www.canr.msu.edu/home_gardening/tip_sheets/

https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/choosing_a_smart_site_for_your_vegetable_garden

 https://www.canr.msu.edu/home_gardening/vegetables/smart_gardening_with_vegetables_101_webinar_serie...

Fruit tree growing resources:

Here is a good resource on home fruit tree care,  with a pruning section:

https://api.ag.purdue.edu/api/DepotWS/File.ashx?t=f&i=19732&_ga=2.133004494.1150611331.1599267748-1971174283.1597848494

If you decide to hire an arborist, you can search for them by zip code here:

https://www.asm-isa.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=883139&module_id=274045

 MSU District Fruit Educator, William Shane, has a number of articles here- https://williamshane.weebly.com/apple.html

General reference for growing at home- https://plantpathology.ca.uky.edu/files/mw_home_fruit_productn_b591.pdf

Pruning fruit trees:

https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/smart-gardening-pruning-and-training-backyard-apple-and-pear-trees

 https://douglas.extension.wisc.edu/files/2015/05/Training-and-Pruning-Apple-Trees.pdf

Videos on pruning fruit trees from Extension:

https://www.canr.msu.edu/videos/pruning-fruit-trees

https://extension.psu.edu/pruning-and-training-apple-trees

For home apple grower sprays where you need to protect against insects, and diseases I recommend this short resource from the University of Kentucky https://plantpathology.ca.uky.edu/files/ppfs-fr-t-18.pdf

 These have organic options for pest control, besides the ones mention within articles above:

https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef218

http://www.groworganicapples.com/organic-orcharding-articles/surround-kaolin-clay.php/

If you need more specific information not found here, or need something clarified, please let me know.

.

Laura Sheffer Replied October 31, 2020, 11:37 PM EDT

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