free soil testing? for planting.

Asked April 1, 2017, 2:04 PM EDT

Do you have free or inexpensive soil testing? I live in an apartment and have a small grassy area in front. A mistake was made a few years ago when applying fertilizer. It was mixed with pesticide and killed all the plants. My area has been mulched since. I would like to plant a lavender bush there. Don't want to kill the bush.

Fayette County Kentucky fayette county kentucky horticulture soil and fertility issues

1 Response

Thanks for you question to Ask Extension.
NC State and Clemson researchers have a publication that may interest you:
https://www.ces.ncsu.edu/fletcher/programs/herbs/crops/culinary/lavender_mccoy.html
In searching for lavender I've learned that it thrives when the soil pH is in the range of 6.4 to 8.2. Some of the garden centers offer pH test kits as do some of the big box home improvement stores. If possible plant the lavender away from the base of the building/sidewalk. Our soil is usually high enough in calcium without those possible contributors. Do you know what pesticide (herbicide?) was added to the fertilizer and how long ago? Since it killed all the grass/plants, it was likely a systemic herbicide like glyphosate and the area can be replanted after a couple of weeks. The label on a commercial container will tell how long to wait before replanting.
For soil testing see AGR-57 "Soil Testing, What it is and Does" https://knox.ca.uky.edu/files/agr_57_-_soil_testing_what_it_is_and_does.pd_.pdf and AGR-16 "Taking Soil Test Samples" https://knox.ca.uky.edu/files/agr16_taking_soil_test_samples.pd_.pdf
The sample should be submitted at the Fayette County Extension office off Red Mile Road and costs about $7 for each. It will take 2-3 weeks to get back the soil test report. You will get pH and fertilizer information but not pesticide or herbicide information which are not part of the soil test (cost, I suspect). I hope this helps and if you have further questions, please let us know! Thanks again for your question.