How To Test Soil For Nutrients?

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In Brief: How To Test Soil For Nutrients

Testing soil for nutrients is mandatory if you hope to yield excellent results from your fruits, vegetables, trees, and flowers. Just like humans, plants need certain nutrients to grow big and strong. Knowing how to test the soil for nutrients to see where there are deficits is vital. Here’s how to test your soil and what benefits this has for your garden.

Soil consists of organic matter, minerals, water, and air. The pH and basic nutrients determine whether your plants and overall garden will flourish.

This is because the soil offers nutrients and protects the plant.

As a result, testing it and improving it is key to boosting plant health, and it is a critical factor for growing a garden.

Why Testing Soil For Nutrients Is Important

Plant growth is usually dependent on soil pH, which tells you how alkaline or acidic the soil is. This is measured on a 1-14 scale where 7 is neutral, below 7 is acidic, and above 7 is alkaline.

Most plants thrive in neutral soil with a pH of 6.2-7.2. Others might prefer more acidic soil, such as azaleas. A low pH means that certain minerals inside the soil, including manganese, may increase to a toxic level.

A soil test will also show you which nutrients are missing and what you need to do to improve the quality of your soil. The amount of nutrients is also important from two perspectives.

For instance, too much of a nutrient or too little of another nutrient can negatively impact the health of your plants.

Similar to humans, plants need a balanced palette of nutrients to develop and to deter diseases.

Tomatoes growing in soils that lack the right amount of calcium develop blossom-end rotting. Peppers, on the other hand, are affected by excessive nitrogen in that they grow excessive leaves.

How To Test Soil For Nutrients

There are numerous tests available on the market. Some might be more affordable, while others can give you the results immediately or within a few weeks.

  1. DIY Tests

    There are numerous soil test kits available on the market right now, such as those offered by Lowe’s.

    These kits offer an immediate analysis of your soil, indicating both pH and nutrients.

    Some kits are also able to indicate the moisture and light levels. With most of these tests, all you need to do is insert a meter probe inside the soil and interpret the results.

    Here’s a video showing you how to test your soil at home with a DIY test.

  2. Cooperative Extension Office

    You can contact your local cooperative extension office if you want to test a sample of your soil.

    Some of them charge a small fee, and they can inform you about the pH and nutrients in the sample.

    Although this takes a few weeks to complete, it is a more detailed analysis. They often include a thorough analysis, unlike DIY tests, and they also suggest changes specific to your circumstances.


All in all, knowing how to test the soil for nutrients and pH levels is a must for a healthy lawn and garden.

Nowadays, there are numerous DIY tests on the market that offer immediate results and let you know if there’s anything excessive or lacking.

However, if you want a more detailed analysis and expert recommendations, it’s best to contact your local cooperative extension office.