The Q&A Archives: soil testing what things it will find

Question: I was wondering if soil testing would be specific as to what is in the soil. I think that some one is putting salt on my garden and it has really messed up my plants. Is soil testing just general test for high and low ph balances. Will it narrow it down to THE chemical that is causing the problem? Thank you for your time M.

Answer: You can ask to have a wide variety of different things checked, including salt. Your local county extension can help you with deciding what to check for in the tests. There are just so many different materials that could possibly cause problems, inlcuding salt, boron, excess fertilizer, accidental chemical exposure and so on just as examples. I would suggest you discuss the problems you are seeing with your plants with them and try to do some troubleshooting prior to ordering the tests, that way you can try to run the most appropriate ones. They might even suggest testing the foliage to see if they can figure it out that way. It might even be in your water if you have been watering, or in your mulch if you have been mulching. Sometimes it takes some detective work to figure out this kind of problem. I hope it is nothing too serious.

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