SEGUIN — The Geronimo and Alligator Creeks Watershed Partnership is offering free soil tests to area farmers, ranchers and homeowners, said Ward Ling, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program specialist in soil and crop sciences, College Station.
“A soil test will give you the necessary information on what levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients are currently in your soil,” Ling said.
He said having a soil test will help area landowners determine how much fertilizer is needed for their lawn and what kind they should use.
“Fertilizer is expensive, costing around a dollar a pound or more, and it comes in varying types and concentrations,” Ling said. “To help make sense of all of this, you first need to test your soil to see what the nutrient content is before deciding if more is needed — and in what amount.”
He added that soil testing can help reduce the amount of unnecessary nutrients entering the water table by showing the landowner when little or no additional fertilizer is needed.
Ling said soil samples must be submitted in a soil sample bag that can be obtained at either the AgriLife Extension office in Comal or Guadalupe counties. Sample bags must be returned to these locations starting March 11, with a deadline of March 20. Lab results will be made available for pickup at a later date.
Ling said a short YouTube video on how to properly collect a soil sample can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT7-ERu6zYY, and directions are also on the back of the soil sample bag.
According to Ling, Geronimo Creek and its tributary, Alligator Creek, which flow through Comal and Guadalupe counties, were identified as needing watershed protection plan development due to concerns about high levels of nitrogen and elevated levels of bacteria.
“These levels were reported in the Texas Water Quality Inventory published by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality,” he explained. “The partnership received EPA acceptance of the watershed protection plan in 2012, and we are currently implementing the strategy outlined in the plan.”
To view a copy of the plan, as well as more information on the partnership, go to: http://geronimocreek.org.
A state nonpoint source grant was provided to AgriLife Extension by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board to facilitate the development of the watershed protection plan.