Richland Soil and Water

Richland SWCD Stormwater Permit office hours: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon 

Note:  The Stormwater Permit office will be closed Thursday, May 20 for staff training. 

Stormwater permit applications, checklists and information needed to obtain a stormwater permit are available at https://richlandswcd.net/services/water/stormwater/stormwater-documents-list. 

Please submit your stormwater permit application, site calculation form, permit fees and additional documents in person, via email to Contact@richlandswcd.net, or through US Mail by sending to: Richland SWCD, 1495 W. Longview Ave, Suite 205B, Mansfield, OH  44906.

The next Board Supervisor meeting will be held at Richland SWCD office on Wednesday, May 18 at 9:00 a.m. If you wish to attend the meeting in person or via video conference, please contact Erica Thomas, District Program Administrator via email Director@richlandswcd.net. 

Soil Test KitHave you considered having your soil tested?  In order to have good, healthy, productive plants you must start with fertile, healthy soil. Good soil retains water, releases nutrients and drains well. It must contain adequate nutrients, optimum pH and organic matter to be healthy and fertile. Guessing about additives for your lawn, garden or farm field usually means too little or too much fertilizer gets added. Too little fertilizer may result in healthy plants. Too much is wasteful and can threaten our lakes and wetlands. Also, soils vary within the state, your neighborhood, and even your yard or farm field. What may be good for your neighbor or brother's lawn, garden or farm field may not be right for yours.

Don't guess or take someone else's recommendations. Find out what your soil needs - take a soil test.

A soil test will tell you what nutrients your plants or lawn need and will recommend the amount of fertilizer (N-P-K) to add to your soil. The N stands for nitrogen. Nitrogen encourages fast, green growth. The P stands for phosphorus. Phosphorus stimulates root development, rapid growth and quality plants. The K stands for potassium and promotes disease resistance, strong stems and winter hardiness.

A soil test will also tell the current pH of your soil. Soil pH is a measure of soil acidity. Nutrient availability is influenced by the pH of the soil. Plants need an optimum pH to grow and be productive. Acidic soils have a pH lower than 7.0. Neutral soils have a pH of 7.0. And soils with a pH above 7.0 are called alkaline. Most plants will grow adequately p to a soil pH of 7.5. Some plants, such as blueberries and azaleas, love acidic soil while other plants, such as tomatoes and carrots, prefer alkaline soils. 

The results of the soil test also include an analysis of the amount of organic matter in your soil. The amount of organic matter is important because the more organic matter you have in your soil, the better the water holding capacity, drainage, and tilth of your soil. To increase the organic matter level in your soil, you can add materials such as manure, compost or peat moss.

Richland Soil and Water Conservation District offers soil testing for gardeners, hobby farms, lawn care and farmers.

Taking a soil sample (see instructions below) is fairly straight-forward or we can pull the sample for you. If we pull the sample, an extra charge will apply and staff availability will determine when the sample is pulled. 

How it Works

  1. First determine what you are going to be growing:  vegetables, flowers, trees, lawn, crops, etc...
  2. Take your own soil sample or have Richland Soil and Water Conservation District do it for you. Sample bags are available through Richland Soil and Water Conservation District. You can also use a quart-size, re-sealable plastic sandwich bag
  3. Write your name and contact info on the bag
  4. Complete an agriculture and/or turf soil testing form
  5. Return the sample and soil testing form(s) to Richland Soil and Water Conservation District
  6. The sample is sent to a lab for testing
  7. Soil analysis is sent to Richland Soil and Water Conservation District. Matt Wallace, the Agriculture District Technician, will contact you with the results. If you sampled for agriculture, Matt will help you develop a nutrient management plan tailored to your operation 

Garden and Turf Soil Testing:

  • Fill out a turf form if testing gardens and turf
  • For gardens, dig your sample 8 inches deep
  • For lawns, dig your samples 4 inches deep
  • Basic turf and ornamental test:  $17 per sample
  • Basic turf with micronutrients test:  $25 per sample
  • Complete turf test:  $45 per sample

Agriculture Field and Pasture Soil Testing:

  • For agriculture fields and pastures, fill out an agriculture form
  • For agriculture fields, dig your samples 8 inches deep
  • For pastures, dig your samples 4 inches deep
  • Basic package:  $13 per sample
  • Basic plus package: $17 per sample
  • Complete package:  $21 per sample

What Do the Tests Include?

Basic Turf and Ornamental Soil Test Package:  Includes Soil pH, Buffer pH (when needed), Organic Matter, Available Phosphorous, Exchangeable Potassium, Calcium Magnesium, Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC), Percent Base Saturation of Cation Elements. Recommendations for Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Magnesium and Lime by plant species on a special turf and ornamental soil analysis report with graphic display of results.

Basic Turf and Ornamental Soil Test Package with Micronutrients:  Includes Basic Turf & Ornamental Soil Test Package plus Iron, Manganese, Zinc, and Copper. Recommendations for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Lime, Iron, Manganese, Zinc and Copper by plant species on a special turf and ornamental soil analysis report with graphic display of results.

Complete Turf and Ornamental Soil Test Package:  Includes Basic Turf and Ornamenetal Soil Test Package with Micronutrients plus Nitrate Nitrogen, Sodium, Sulfur, Boron and Soluble Salts. Recommendations for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Lime, Iron, Manganese, Zinc and Copper, Sulfur and Boron by plant species on a special turf and ornamental soil analysis report with graphic display of reults.

Agriculture and Pasture Basic Soil Test Package:  Soil pH, Buffer pH, Organic Matter, Available Phosphorus, Exchangeable Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Cation Exchange Capacity, Percent Base Saturation of Cation Elements with recommendations

Agriculture and Pasture Basic Plus Soil Test Package:  Basic Soil Test plus choice of any three of the following micronutrients:  Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Sulfur and Zinc with recommendations.

Agriculture and Pasture Complete Soil Test Package:  Basic Soil Test plus Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Sulfur and Zinc with recommendations.  

How to Interpret Your Soil Test Results and Nutrient Explanation:  Spectrum Analytic 

 

How to Take A Soil Sample

  1. Samples can be taken with a variety of tools, but we prefer a shovel. Make sure it is clean and isn’t rusty or galvanized, bronzed or brassed.
  2. Scrape any debris and thatch, including mulch, from the area you are sampling before you dig
  3. Dig out pieces of soil about 6 to 8 inches deep. If sampling your lawn, dig 3 to 4 inches deep.
  4. Randomly repeat in different parts of the area you want tested (approximately 10 -15 samples), so that the combined sample is a good representation of the entire area
  5. Put the samples in a clean, plastic bucket. Do not use galvanized or rubber buckets, because they will contaminate the samples. Use a trowel or smaller shovel to completely mix the sample.
  6. Fill the sample bag or quart-size re-sealable, plastic sandwich bag with the sample and label the bag with your name, contact information and the sample description.
  7. The soil can be wet or dry when you take a sample, but you will get better results with dry soil since it can be mixed easier. If you take it wet, allow it to dry and then mix. Break up all clumps before mixing. If we think the soil is too wet when you bring it to us, we will dry it out. It will take a number of days before the sample dries and will delay getting your results back.
  8. Bring the soil sample to Richland Soil and Water Conservation District
  9. Provide us with your contact information, how the soil was used previously, how you want to use the soil and a sample description.

Do Not Sample

  • Dead or back furrows
  • Fence rows, old or new
  • Old roadbeds, or near limestone gravel roads
  • Terrace channels
  • Win breaks or snow fence lines
  • Turn rows
  • Spill areas
  • Fertilizer bands including Anhydrous N
  • Unusual or abnormal spots