Laboratory Tests

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Soil Health and Tests

Soil Health is a vital part of your orchard health and production. Without healthy soil, your trees will suffer, which in turn increases the incidence of pests and Phytopthera, reducing your crop size and ultimately, your income.

Soil is like a 3 prong stool with 3 important ways to test the soil to give you the best picture of what is happening. If you carry out only one of the three tests, you are only getting part of the picture.

When you visually look at the soil, you can see whether there are healthy worms and vegetation. If the soil is hard, silty and no worms are present, plus vegetation is scarce or trees are yellow, then there is an imbalance which needs correcting.

Traditionally, you would carry out a Chemical Soil Test, which will show you are lacking in an element in the leaves and your fertilizer rep will recommend you add some more of the missing element to your fertilizer, even if that element is high in your soil test results. This will add to the problem. Obviously there is something that is stopping your trees taking up nutrients from your soil such as an imbalance of microbes.

Hills Laboratories

To get the best from your trees, you need to look after them. To help with this, we are offering a bundle of 3 Soil tests:

VSA (Visual Soil Assessment)

Chemical testing through Hills Laboratory (or a lab of your choice)

Biological testing through Soil Foodweb Laboratory.

One of our trained staff will come to your orchard to perform the VSA and collect samples for the laboratories. The cost is $150 + GST and mileage for our part of the soil tests. The laboratory tests are additional, charged directly to you.

Our staff are able to collect Soil and Leaf samples on their next monitoring round and will send the samples by courier to the laboratory of your choice. R.J Hills Laboratory is the laboratory of choice by many, but there are others also available.

Visual Soil Inspection
Biological Soil Testing

Laboratory Tests

Chemical Soil & Leaf samples
Soil and Leaf tests are usually taken between March and July when the avocado trees are at their dormant stage, though they can be taken at other times during the season which will give you a good guide to the effectiveness of any fertilizer programs being used in the orchard. Talk to Cathy about your specific tests.

Phosphonate root samples
These are taken after flush has occurred and 6 weeks after any injecting. Samples are taken under the dripline of the trees, carefully packaged and sent to the laboratory on the overnight courier.

Water samples
We are able to come and take water samples for you to test the water you are using in your orchard, should that be required.

Our Requirements

  • An added mileage fee may be charged to growers in distant areas (outside Katikati to Paengaroa)
  • Contact the office to book a laboratory test.

If you are not one of our regular clients, we will require a property map to show:

  • plantings
  • tree ages
  • land area
  • access
  • buildings
  • division of blocks requiring separate samplings