Maintain Healthy Soil

Good topsoil is relatively dark in color, active with microorganisms, plant nutrients, and organic matter, and  usually has a pH between 5.5 and 7.5 (for non-acid loving plants).

A soil test can provide information on the proper amount of lime and fertilizer to apply to your lawn, garden and other areas of your landscape. When gardeners apply only as much lime and fertilizer as is necessary and at the appropriate time, nutrient runoff into surface or ground water is minimized, money is saved, and plant health is optimized. Soil testing can also be used to diagnose common nutrient deficiencies for plants that are growing poorly.  Perform a soil test every 3 to 4 years.

You can pick up a soil test kit at the Extension Office: 750 Miller Dr., SE, Suite F-3, Leesburg, VA.  Instructions are provided.

Spotlight: How to take a soil sample from University of Illinois:


My Backyard measures for scorecard:

  • Soil Sample. Credit = 4 inches


VCE Publication 426-711: Building Healthy Soil 

VCE Publication 452-129: Soil Sampling for the Home Gardener

VCE Publication 452-125: Sample Sheet for Lawns, Gardens, Fruits & Ornamentals