Why should I test my soil?
Although fertilizer, lime, and other amendments can be very helpful in establishing happy, healthy plants, they pose a risk if not used properly. Excess fertilizer and chemicals wash away with rainwater and pollute our local streams and waterways, the James River, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. The first guideline of responsible fertilizer application is to take a soil sample and have it analyzed to determine fertilizer needs.
Soil samples are analyzed for specific soil nutrients to determine proper application rates of fertilizer and lime for optimum plant growth. Routine analysis includes soil pH, P, K, Ca, Mg, Zn, Mn, Cu, Fe, and B. Completed soil test results, along with a recommendation on fertilization and liming, are mailed to the client.
How do I test my soil?
Samples will be analyzed by the Virginia Tech Soil Testing Lab. Samples must be submitted to the lab in a sample box. Sampling and mailing instructions are provided with the sample boxes. In Henrico, soil sample kits are available at the local Extension Office or in any county library. Samples and payment should be sent directly to the lab. Soil samples are analyzed and recommendations generated usually within 3 working days of receipt. Laboratory reports are mailed directly back to you and are also available from your local Extension office, which can provide additional assistance if needed.
How much does it cost?
The routine soil test is all one normally needs for a fertility evaluation.
A routine soil test costs $10.
In order to promote the practice of soil testing, Henricopolis has established a soil test incentive program to offset the cost of soil analysis for Henrico County residents. Henricopolis will provide up to 2 coupons per household to cover the $10.00 processing fee for a standard soil test (not including postage). People wishing to participate in this incentive program must request a soil test voucher.
Vouchers are available by email or in-person at the Henricopolis SWCD office. Emails must include your name, physical address, and number of vouchers requested (maximum of 2 per household). Email requests to firstname.lastname@example.org
* This program is made possible by Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund Grant #15-022, funded by the Chesapeake Bay License Plate Program. The offer is valid until program funding expires and is subject to change at any time.