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Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement
When done accurately, soil testing gives the most accurate
assessment of the nutrient environment for your plants. Also, with
proper research and interpretation, a soil engineer can give the
best estimate of fertilizer needs and advise on preventive solutions
for problems that may arise from expansive or unsuitable soil,
saving the homeowner much time and money.
A soil engineer's main job is to inspect anticipated construction
sites to work out soil and foundation conditions by conducting
drilling and sampling programs. They are responsible for managing
and designing irrigation, foundations, flood and erosion control
systems, dams, earth-retaining structures and water conservation
projects. A soil engineer can be contracted directly or through the
architect. Soil engineers should always be registered and
professionally licensed through the state.
Expansive soils are one of the most crucial hazards, in addition to
earthquakes and land slips. Expansive soils are naturally occurring
materials found in low lying regions and flood plains. They are
subject to swelling and shrinkage of the soil, varying in part to
the amount of moisture present in the soil. The effects of expansive
soil include patios, driveways and walkways cracking and heaving as
the underlying expansive soils become wet and swell. Millions of
dollars are lost each year due to damage caused by them.
Not only can a soil test protect against any environmental hazards
resulting from excessive fertilizer applications, but it is also be
used to determine the nutrients in soil that are essential for plant
growth. Nutrients for healthy plant growth are divided into three
categories: primary, secondary and micronutrients.
In addition, a soil report will tell you the pH value (how acidic or
basic) of your soil, and it will make a recommendation for the
amount and type of fertilizer and/or lime you need to add to the
soil for optimal plant growth. This allows you to tailor your soil
fertilizer and lime applications to your plants' needs.
Keep in mind, soil testing is usually required by building permits
as well. This is because soil testing also looks at the soils
ability to support a structure and the absorption and drainage rate
of the soil or how well it will accommodate septic and water. A soil
test can be ordered through a real estate agent or home buyer.