The Importance of Soil Testing

Everywhere you go you see different types of plants and animals living and thriving in nature. Why are there different plants and animals in different areas you may ask? BOOM – Different soil types. Alaska has around 318 different soil types all of which help different communities in nature to grow and thrive. Each one of these soils is formed from a variety of different factors.

Soil types vary from place to place due to a variety of factors including;

Parent Material– Physical and chemical weathering (breakdown) of bedrock. This can be material from the site or material that has been transported to the site by historic events like flooding or winds

Organisms– plant and animal life that have lived in the area throughout history

Topography– the shape of the landscape will affect its ability to retain or drain water

Climate– How long the ground is thawed each season or how much precipitation an area receives

Time– It takes millions of years for bedrock to weather (breakdown). Some soils have been weathering for longer than others. For example, tropical environments have undergone longer periods of weathering than Alaska due to temperature and our frozen conditions that maintain permafrost.

    In our previous article Introduction to Soil we discussed a variety of topics on soil health and the different parts that make up soil. You may be wondering, how do you know what is in your soil and what you need to add? In comes AVI with a soil testing service to the rescue! Through a partnership with the University of Maine’s Soil Testing Laboratory we are proud to offer a service to rural communities that provides a comprehensive analysis of the physical, chemical, and biological properties in your soil.

    If you choose to partner with us our agriculture team will come to visit you, discuss your plans for soil health and growing produce in your community, and have the soils of your prospective/current growing areas sampled for lab analysis. After the results are received from the lab, our team will create a management plan for the community. We will help you better understand what the best use of your space is (what plants to grow), help you get a better idea of how to manage the nutrients in your soil, and to make your land as productive and healthy as possible.

    If you would like to partner with us please reach out and we will get back to you ASAP!

    Written by Garrett Richards, agAlaska Soil Tech


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