Soil Testing & Analysis

Soil testing is an important first step in the process of developing your food plot. Understanding soil quality is key to growing a successful hunting or food plot. Some plants grow better in certain types of soils than other plants. Poor or imbalanced soil will not produce healthy plants (food) that draws deer and other game back to the food plot. Healthy soil with the right nutrients will actually produce larger, healthier wildlife.

By taking a soil sample, we can determine which nutrients your soil may be lacking, and help you develop a soil amendment and seed plan for maximum results. Thunder Ridge Outdoors offers a soil test kit that includes a personal soil analysis and professional recommendation on what to plant in that particular food plot.

Call us at 717.989.6239 to order your soil test kit and analysis!

There is a lot of science in soil and how it works, so we put the following chart together to help explain the basics.

CEC pH Level Organic Matter Phosphorous Sulfur C/M/P/S Minor Elements

Cation Exchange Capacity (nutrient holding ability of your soil) this number will range from a low of around 5 and a high of around 40. CEC level is often overlooked, but very important in food plots. CEC level in your soil is like a bank reserve for your food plot, keeping the nutrients from leaching away. Nature's Outdoor Solutions Trophy Blend has humus in its blend to ensure the minerals and nutrients are kept in the soil and later transferred to the plants. Humus has a CEC level of 200-300!

pH Level Most of us are familiar with this; it is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. 6.0-7.0 is ideal for most food plots. A lot of food plotters focus only on pH, and spend a lot of time and money on just lime - only to be disappointed by the results. It is important to match your food plot seed with your soil conditions to get the most out of your seed! There are other products other than lime that can change your pH such as humus compost, gypsum, etc.

Organic Matter Most soil scientists say 4-5% of organic matter in your soil is ideal. It is important to keep an eye on your organic matter. Organic matter works as a sponge in soil to hold moisture which is crucial for your food plot in years of drought!

Phosphorous Large amounts of Phosphorus are needed by all living things. Plants use Phosphorus to make sugars. Animals use it to make bones and teeth, and to generate energy in the body cells.

Sulfur is in important for many life processes including formation of protein. Brassicas require a lot of Sulfur.

Calcium / Magnesium / Potassium / Sodium These cation elements are the most critical nutrients for a healthy soil. If they are missing or out of balance nothing will grow really well. A really fertile soil contains more calcium than all of the other minerals combined! The calcium to magnesium ratio should be 7-1 Potassium is a powerful growth stimulant for plants and is needed in large quantities by wildlife too. Sodium is also an essential nutrient for plants and animals.

Minor Elements are only "minor" in the amounts needed compared to other minerals. They must be available and in balance for truly healthy soil, plants and wildlife! Boron is needed in tiny amounts in order for plants and animals to properly utilize Calcium. Boron at 3-4ppm is all thats needed even in a high calcium soil. Iron & Manganese is needed by plants and wildlife. Copper & Zinc work together and need to be in balance of about 1-part copper to 2-parts zinc. They are both essential for hundreds of life processes. The difference between rich fertile soil and poor infertile soil is essentially its mineral composition.

Food Plot Soil Test Kit
  • 24" Standard Soil Probe
  • Soil Sample Bags
  • Prepaid Shipping Label
  • Soil Information Sheet
Confused about your soil test results?

We take the guess-work out of soil analysis and determining which plants will grow best in your soil and achieve the results that you desire. Start growing your next trophy food plot today by calling us 717.989.6239 to order your soil test kit and analysis!

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