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This Soils and Plant Nutrients Chapter from the Extension Gardener Handbook examines the physical and chemical properties of soil as well as the important role organic matter plays. The chapter discusses how to submit a soil sample for testing and how to read the report to apply necessary fertilizers.
North Carolina has an abundant supply of clean water, a resource vital to our high quality of life. Rivers, lakes, groundwater aquifers, and coastal estuaries are crucial to public health, economic development, and recreational opportunities. However, our water sources are constantly threatened with degradation by such activities as imprudent development, improperly managed agricultural and industrial activities, and unsound waste disposal practices. The soil exerts an important influence on water quality. How we manage the soil and what we put on it determine, in part, the level of treatment required to make our water supplies safe and enjoyable. This fact sheet explains how soils influence water quality and why efficient soil management helps protect water quality.
This publication discusses how floods can affect food gardens. In it, you'll find recommendations for preparing your garden before a flood, precautions to take after the storm, and how to safely clean up and replant after floodwaters recede.
This factsheet describes the effect of fertilizer nitrogen on water quality and the environment. It provides guidelines for managing soil fertility on farms to preserve water quality.
This publication alerts prospective gardeners to some of the most common contaminants in urban soils, such as lead and other toxic metals, solvents, pesticides and total petroleum hydrocarbons. This will help minimize potential risks to gardeners and to those who consume garden produce. The document includes information regarding site characterization, common contaminants, soil testing, interpretation of results and strategies for reducing exposure risks.
This factsheet for farmers describes concepts, terminology, and guidelines concerning soil sampling. Proper testing allows farmers to apply the correct amount of lime and fertilizer to fields.
Selecting the right tool for a job is essential. When that tool is as important and expensive as a farm implement, the same holds true—you want to buy farm equipment that does what you want; is strong, durable, and reliable; and is generally the best value for your money.
This publication offers a discussion on how to lime Fraser fir Christmas trees. Fraser fir Christmas trees require a lower soil pH than most crops grown in North Carolina. Special management strategies for soil pH, calcium, and magnesium are needed to provide proper nutrition without over-liming.
This publication offers fertilizer suggestions for a variety of crops, including field, pasture and hay crops, tree fruit, small fruit, ornamental plants and vegetable crops.
Nitrogen fertilizer products are being developed and marketed as having the potential to increase yields and nutrient use efficiency, and decrease volatilization (gas). How do these products actually perform on different soils and row crops, under various climatic conditions? This publication summarizes findings from recent studies that investigated alternative nitrogen fertilizer products for row crops in four North Carolina regions.
This question and answer worksheet will help homeowners focus on potential problems with drinking water or other water resources that may be caused by improper lawn or garden care. Use and storage of fertilizers and pesticides, watering plants, landscape design and soil erosion are discussed.
The purposes of this factsheet are to identify several major pollutants that often originate in lawns and gardens, to describe the problems they may cause, and to outline some things that can be done to minimize their adverse effects on water quality. This information should benefit home gardeners, landscape developers, contract lawn care specialists, athletic field managers and others who manage soil to grow plants for food, pleasure, or profit.
This publication discusses the effects of saltwater intrusion on soil fertility, how to identify issues with salt-affected soils, and various options to address these problems.
Adequate sulfur is necessary for crops, but there’s no one-size-fits-all recommendation for application in North Carolina. Best management practices take sulfur removal and incidental sulfur inputs for the entire crop rotation, soil type and profile depth layers and soil and plant analysis results.
This publication, chapter 7 of the 2020 Cotton Information handbook, provides information about fertilization for cotton crops.
This publication discusses tillage treatments for large-seeded crops like corn and soybeans in the Piedmont region and recommends minimizing tillage based on research at the Upper Piedmont Research Station.
Phosphorus (P) is the second most important nutrient in crop production but is often found in relatively low amounts in native soils. Decades of fertilizer application have led to P enrichment of most North Carolina agricultural soils. Excess soil P that leaves agricultural fields via runoff and drainage can cause algal blooms in water resources that lead to impaired drinking water quality and can limit recreational activities. Maintaining adequate soil P levels for crop growth can reduce P runoff, save money, and protect the environment
Plants differ in their tolerance to soil pH. This publication provides information on determining the target pH for different crops and calculating the appropriate amount of materials to reduce soil pH when necessary.
This publication discusses the Realistic Yield Expectations database as a resource for nitrogen fertilization rate decisionmaking. Topics include recent research and the resulting updates to the database for improved nitrogen fertilizer rates based on new yield data.
This publication provides guidance to Extension agents on how to design and conduct trials and demonstrations on alternative products for plant and soil health and pest and disease control purposes. It provides standardized experimental design criteria and best practices for planning and executing trials for these products.