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Good samples provide best results

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By MICHAEL PYLES

The results of soil analyses are no better than the core samples you collect for your home lawn, garden, orchard or crop field. It’s like the adage, “garbage in, garbage out.”

The Trimble County Coop-erative Extension Service has information on how to properly take samples and the benefits of soil tests. Bags for samples are also available at the Extension office. Due to the drought last fall, most gardeners and farmers were unable to obtain their soil samples. Soil probes just wouldn’t penetrate the hard dry soil. We are about to experience the spring rush, so get your soil core samples in as soon as possible in order to receive timely recommendations for all your lawn, garden and crop needs.

When collecting soil cores from your home garden, lawn or cropland, be sure to take samples from the area on which you want fertility data and separate them according to land use. You’ll need to take different samples for a lawn, garden, fruit trees, ornamental shrubs and azaleas because each may have distinct fertility, acidity or alkalinity requirements. For a lawn, collect cores at a depth of four inches. Take cores six inches deep for gardens, ornamentals and fruit trees and cropland.

Take at least 10 core samples throughout each land-use area. Don’t collect them when the soil is too wet because the soil won’t properly mix together. Blend core samples well in a clean, dry plastic bucket; then fill the sample bag and bring it to the Trimble County Cooperative Extension Service Office at 43 High Country Lane in Bedford.

Analyses will be done at a University of Kentucky soil test laboratory. You will receive research-based recommendations on lime and fertilizer requirements for the land use.

It’s a good idea to collect core samples about the same time each year so you can compare results from year to year.

For more information on soil tests and other gardening topics, contact the Trimble County Cooperative Extension Service at (502) 255-7188.

Michael Pyles is Trimble County’s Cooperative Extension agent for agriculture.