I came across different kind of tools for soil sampling while doing research the other day. For a newbie in gardening like me, all these gadgets and technical terms sound so confusing.
Well, the reason I think to get some soil sample is because I have been trying to plant a different kind of fruit trees at this space for the past 3 years but every time it grew as tall as a few feet, it died for no apparent reason. Last year the papaya tree was already as tall as me, even started flowering when it suddenly shed all the leaves and eventually died. I even tried planting lime and lemon trees at that patch of soil but after a while they just withered and died. Perplexing, huh?
So far the only type of plants that thrive over there is the flowering type like portulaca, jasmine and ruellias. Oh, and the green herbs have been growing really well there to the extent that I have to prune them every month to avoid the area looking like a crowded bush.
From the reading I’ve done, soil sampling could help to determine the need for aeration and to select the proper fertilizer for root development. The soil sampling should be done before doing any new landscaping so that if the soil test report recommends lime, you will have enough time to apply it and have it adjust the soil pH before you can plant.
If an established area exhibits abnormal growth or plant discoloration, take a soil sample right away. You may want to submit matching plant tissue samples or separate soil samples for nematode assay. After reading this, I thought maybe this could be the main reason why the fruit trees died – because of the nematode problem. Some nematodes are beneficial, controlling grubs and other insects in the soil. Other nematodes are harmful to plants, burrowing into roots and making their way up the stems and leaves.
One of the solution for the nematodes problem is to amend the soil with plenty of organic matter prior to planting. Till or dig the organic matter several inches into the soil. The organic matter will help suppress the nematodes and keep them from causing as much damage.
Well, I have to try one of these many suggestions if I would like to go further with the fruit tree mission for the year of 2017. Will let you know if any of the solution work out.