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May 18 2014

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Free soil testing slated

The results of last year’s Gregg-Upshur County Soil Test Drive confirmed what I have been trying to tell folks for a long time – No two gardens, hay meadows; lawns or pastures are the same!

Making an accurate fertilizer recommendation without a soil test is virtually impossible.

The results showed our soils range from 4.1 (very strongly acid) to 7.9 (strongly alkaline) with 43.5 percent of the samples being in the pH zone of 5.3 or below and in dire need of liming to raise the pH so landowners receive full benefit of their fertilizer dollar.  We had only 35% in the desired range.  The bottom line is that fertilizing your lawn, garden, pasture or hay meadow without a soil analysis is like going duck hunting with a blindfold on – you know there is a target you want to hit, but no idea if you are shooting low, high or anywhere near where you need to be.

The Upshur-Gregg County Soil and Water Conservation District has graciously volunteered to pay for a landowner’s first soil sample to be tested at no cost to the landowner for the first 100 samples received.  You are encouraged to sample your garden, lawn, pasture and/or hay meadows.  Additional samples can be tested at the low cost of only $10 each.

The Soil Test Drive will run from May 15 until 5 PM, Friday, June 13, 2014.  Sample kits may be obtained from the Gregg County AgriLife Extension Office, 405 E. Marshall St., Suite 101, Longview, Texas, or at the USDA-Natural Resource and Conservation Service Office at 1259 Hwy 271, Gilmer, Texas.

For more information on this or any other agricultural related challenge, you may contact Hugh Soape, County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources in Gregg County at 903-236-8429, or Mr. John Wade (SWCD) at the Natural Resource Conservation Office, Gilmer, TX at 903-734-8732 ext. 3.

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