Free soil testing at UF/IFAS soils open house Saturday, March 16 on campus

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With the weather warming up, it’s time to get out and garden – but plants need optimum soil conditions to reach their full potential, and that’s where the University of Florida Extension Landscape and Vegetable Garden Soils Open House can help.

The event happens 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, at the UF Extension Soil Testing Laboratory on the UF main campus in Gainesville. Visitors can bring in soil samples for free pH testing at the lab and get advice on a wide range of gardening and landscaping topics. There will also be free refreshments and hourly drawings for door prizes.

“We encourage residents to bring us their questions and concerns,” said Rao Mylavarapu, a professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and one of the event organizers. “We’ll have experts from numerous fields available to help.”

Among the topics covered at the open house are soil and nutrition management; lawn care; Florida-Friendly Landscaping™; organic and sustainable vegetable production; plant diseases and nematodes, said Mylavarapu, director of the laboratory.

Soil pH testing determines whether soil is acidic, alkaline or neutral. Florida soils tend to be acidic, which means that ornamental plants accustomed to alkaline soil may need special care, he said. For soil testing, bring at least one-half cup of soil from the top 6 inches, for each part of the yard that needs a pH determination.

The laboratory is located in the Wallace Building at the Hull Road/Mowry Road intersection on the south end of the main UF campus in Gainesville. For more information, call 352-392-1950, ext. 221.

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Contacts

Writer: Tom Nordlie, 352-273-3567, tnordlie@ufl.edu

Source: Rao Mylavarapu, 352-392-1951, ext. 202, raom@ufl.edu