Soil Testing

Fertile SoilNitrogen and phosphorus are the two key nutrients that contribute to the problems with our tributaries and the Chesapeake Bay.  When these nutrients reach our waterways they encourage excess algae blooms which block sunlight from reaching submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV).  Without appropriate sunlight the SAV beds decline and don’t offer the food and protection for crabs, fish, and other aquatic life.  Once the algae blooms die, they settle to the bottom and as microorganisms decompose the dead algae, they use up all of the dissolved oxygen in the water which leads to a problem known as eutrophication.

A way to reduce the problem associated with nutrient runoff is to only apply fertilizer at the recommended times and rates for your particular needs.  One of the best ways to determine your soil fertility is through a soil test from an accredited soil testing lab.

Soil samples must be taken from the selected agricultural field, garden plot, lawn, or flower bed; packaged up and sent to the soil testing lab of your choice.  The lab will evaluate your soil  sample(s) and send a report back to you with fertilizer recommendations for your particular need.

Some labs may require you to have an account set up with them in order to send samples.  If this is the case, and you do not send enough samples to warrant an account, the District has an account with Waypoint Analytical (formerly A&L Labs) and we can send your sample(s) for you.  The District will bill you for the lab fee and postage.  If you choose Waypoint Analytical, you can print out the agriculture and lawn/garden soil testing forms and bring them to the District along with your sample(s) for mailing.