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Soil and water sampling: Why should we do it?

By Todd Vineyard | Published Wednesday, February 5, 2014

We’re entering the middle of winter season. Leaves have fallen, and lawns are going dormant. What does this mean? Well, for most of us, it means no more mowing or fertilizing until spring. With that being said, it’s a perfect time to take advantage of an important part of turf management – taking a soil sample.

Unfortunately, most people in Wise County have never taken a soil sample. It’s an easy task, and the information obtained from the analysis is vital in creating an environmentally safe nutrient management program for your turfgrass.

Without an analysis of your soil, you could be applying nitrates, phosphates and other constituents that are not required. Furthermore, you could be damaging both the turf and the environment if you use inorganic or organic fertilizers inappropriately.

So this month, come by the local county Extension office and make the right choice for your turf and your environment. Take a soil sample. It’s inexpensive and will pay dividends down the road.

WATER SAMPLING

Many times you hear folks talking about taking soil samples in order to apply the correct type and rate of fertilizer for their turfgrass. But should we analyze our irrigation water as well? The answer is “yes.”

Poor quality water from irrigation wells exists throughout Texas. Some have a high sodium content that can create problems with turf and ornamentals. Water with high pH values may limit nutrient availability in soils and promote certain turf diseases.

Other waters may have toxic levels of some chemical constituents. As a result, turfgrass quality can be compromised and additional irrigation from this type of water will only compound the problem.

A water analysis provides critical information pertaining to the types and amounts of elements found in your irrigation water. It also provides the necessary information required to determine how well-suited your water is for outdoor irrigation.

So, to put your mind at ease about your water source, take a sample.

For information on soil sampling and water sampling, go to the Aggie Turf website at aggie-turf.tamu.edu.

Todd Vineyard is a Wise County Extension agent.

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