Woods End Laboratories

Healthy Soil

Healthy Science

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Analyzing Soil Biological Fertility

Since 1975 Woods End has offered alternative soil testing with emphasis on soil organic matter and biological functions as they influence overall fertility. These tests have evolved over time as has the scientific soil-testing community.  Presently, we have revised testing to stress “natural test methods” that include the following:

  • Minimal soil disturbance in preparing samples for testing (soil roller used instead of high-speed grinders which de-structure soil and disrupt biological functioning)
  • Measurement of a key organo-physical trait: volumemetric water stable aggregates (VAST”)
  • Extraction of nutrients with less invasive chemicals mimicking natural soil functioning
  • Use of biological assays to measure soil potential: soil respiration and soil labile amino-N

The overall approach is represented by the “quality triangle” of chemical, physical and biological traits measured and reported as a unified test. The test compares to other protocols which also emphasize the interaction of these factors.

The N-P-K report takes into account soluble nutrients and those expected to become available due to the healthy functioning of the soil system.  The report is designed to save costs on nutrient fertilization, and to provide suggestions to improving soil health.

Woods End’s “Regular Soil Health” test

  • Accounts for soil microbial biomass, with a view that this is very nutrient-relevant;
  • Evaluates nutrient mineralization potential, the core of the nutrient supply mechanism for plants
  • Represents nutrients likely to be “plant relevant” from lighter-weight extractants
  • Evaluates quality of the pool of soil organic matter.

Soil Health “MINI”:

  • A new basic health test meant to be a companion to common soil nutrient analyses obtained elsewhere or through your favorite soil lab. The mini adds information about biological and bio-physical traits.  Included are Solvita tests, CO2-Burst, SLAN, Water Stable Aggregates Water soluble carbon (WSOC). see Sample Info Form for pricing

 The Regular Soil Health Test:

  • Formerly called the Premium Test- it includes: nutrients in Haney H3A extract (Ca, Mg, P, K, Na, Fe, Al) plus Solvita CO2, Solvita SLAN and Aggregate Stability. Water soluble carbon (WSOC), nitrate, soil organic matter, pH and buffer-pH. see Sample Info Form for pricing

What you get:

  • A comprehensive report with a Fertility Score and a Soil Health Score. The standardized Score uses an open source formula with equal weighting of 5 attributes associated with high functioning soils. The fertility score shows the expected nutrient supply (based on expected crops) integrated with the soil health score.
  • Interpretation Guide: Each customer receives a full interpretation guideline with the report. For a Quick Guide click here.
  • Please provide the following:
    1. The soil sample: (wet or dry) in a quart sized ziplock bag, with the date of the sample and the intended crops.  If the location is different than the zip code on the order, please provide specific GPS or sample zip code information which we use to map to your climate zone.
    2. Sample Information Form: Please attach the following Sample-information with each order.

**Mail to our PO BOX if sending via USPS, or our street address if sending via UPS or FEDEX**

SAMPLE REPORT (regular) with color coded high-medium-low scales:

sample Woods End soil fertility and health report


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