Lime & pH
This article will be as non-technical in nature as possible.
pH is the measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a soil. For food plots, a pH of 6.5 to 7.0 is ideal. Most soils that have developed under forest and have not been cultivated will have a low pH. Soil Testing is the only way to tell pH. Guessing is a big waste of money. I would not spend much money on fertilizer if any until the pH is checked and lime is applied if needed. Soils can only handle a certain amount of nutrients (fertilizer). This is called the cation exchange capacity of the soil. The point is there is a limited amount of points where nutrients can attach in the soil. When the soil pH is raised from an acid level of 4.5-6.0 to amore nuetral level of 6.5 to 7.0 more nutrients will be avialable to plants even if you don’t add nutrients to the soil. 7.0 is considered nuetral. A simple example of fertilizer application is as follows. We will say that your soil can only attach or use about 150 lbs of fertilizer per acre. If the soil was medium high in phosphorous and low in potassium you would want to apply more potassium than phosphorous. If you applied the same amount (examples 15-15-15 or 6-12-12) fertilizer then the soil would end up with more phophorous than needed and less potassium than needed. This extra fertilizer will flush through the soil and pollute the ground water. It will also waste your money. The soil can not pick the nutrients that it needs. The first nutrient to the point of attachment (soil colloids) wins. More fertilizer is not the answer. The right fertilizer is the answer.
Always Soil Test!
If you don’t know how to read the soil test then send the samples to us or forward your results to us by email or postal mail. We charge $12 per sample if you send to us. We include calculating the fertilizer per field if you will give us the measurement of your field. If you want us to do a complete food plot plan plan per field for you we can do this for $35. If you buy the seed and fertilizer from us we will waive this fee. You can send soil test results from the lab and the size of the fields to us at email@example.com.