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What’s in your soil?

Post by Bob Mertens; Horticulture Program Specialist

Before installing plants, starting a garden or planting a lawn, it is important to obtain a soil test.  Many problems can occur when plants are growing in soils with a pH to which they are not adapted.  Some plants need low pH acidic soil while others will tolerate a wide range of pH.  Very few plants grow well in alkaline soil with a high pH.  The best solution to pH problems is to grow only plants that are adapted to your particular type of soil.

The UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County can test soil for pH and soluble salts.  Bring approximately one cup of soil taken from four inches beneath the surface to the Extension office for testing.  Do not include mulch, organic matter, or roots in the sample.  There is a $5.00 charge per sample for testing.

If a more comprehensive analysis is required, the UF/IFAS Soil Laboratory in Gainesville can test for nutrients in addition to pH and lime requirement.  The Extension office has free bags and pre-addressed mailing boxes for you to send your soil samples to the UF/IFAS lab for testing.  There is an additional charge for this service.

Phone: 941-861-9805       Email:

For further information on soil testing, please see the publication below:

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