The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) lab has scaled back its testing, making home soil testing another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, homeowners may be able to use the recommendations from a previous year’s test to maintain their yards and gardens. If you had a soil analysis from 2017 to 2020, those results are still available and useful.
An April 8 press release by the NCDA&CS Agronomic Services Division provides the following guidance:
“At this time, the lab is accepting only diagnostic soil samples from agricultural clients,” said David Hardy, Soil Lab section chief. “Generally, soil testing is advised every 2 to 3 years. If you submitted soil samples to be tested in this timeframe, you can still use the recommendations from these past reports.”
“If lime was applied based on a [prior] report, it is unlikely that additional lime is needed for the upcoming growing season,” Hardy said. “Routine application of lime is never advised since soil pH may be raised too high. Using the same fertilizer recommendations [from a prior report] will provide satisfactory results for homeowners wanting to fertilize this year.”
Our Buncombe County Extension Master Gardener Helpline can help you get access to reports for soil tests done from 2017 to 2020. They can also explain the reports and interpret the results. To retrieve a copy of your past soil test report, give the Garden Helpline a call or send an email.
Two ways to contact the Garden Helpline
Email questions and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
Garden Helpline hours
Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Fridays, 10 a.m. to noon
Soil Testing Limited to Essential to Agriculture, March 26, 2020 blog https://www.buncombemastergardener.org/soil-testing-limited-essential-agriculture/
Soil Tests: What They Tell You and What They Don’t!, May 15, 2019 blog