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Doniphan County

Lawn and Garden

Horticulture is the science and art of growing fruits, vegetables, flowers or ornamental plants.

In Doniphan County, maintaining attractive home and commercial landscapes not only increases property values but promotes an improved quality of life that makes our community a great place to live. We are blessed with many different growing conditions for you to express your gardening style. There are deep sandy soils along our waterways and fertile black soils on our hills. Average rainfall is around 36 inches each year.

Whether you have a question about lawns, vegetables, flowers, or landscape maintenance, extension information is created for use by everyone, including homeowners, lawn services and nurseries. You are invited to call the Extension Office with any questions you may have and advice you may seek.

Taking Soil Samples

If you have an area not performing in the way you'd like it to, it could be your soil. Perhaps it is lacking in nutrients or maybe it is too high in potassium or phosphorus. You may need to send a soil sample!

Soil sampling and soil test interpretations are done through the K-State Soil Testing Lab.  Most often, soils are tested in the spring, to allow for fertilizer addition if needed.

To prepare a good soil sample:

  • Gather supplies: a clean pail or bucket, a soil probe, shovel, or trowel, and a clean sealable bag.
  • Sample to the proper depth:
    • 3 inches for lawns/turf
    • 6 inches for vegetables, flowers, and small fruits
    • 10-12 inches for trees and shrubs
  • Collect 4-5 samples from the area, trying to make them as representative as possible.  Mix all samples in the bucket or pail, and remove all grass, leaves, twigs, or other debris.
  • Take a small subsample of the collected soil - about 2 cups - and place in a clean sealable bag or plastic container.  Allow sample to try if the soil is very wet.
  • Bring to the extension office for packaging and shipping - we will arrange shipping or transport to the Soil Testing Lab in Manhattan.

Soil tests start around $5.25 but may change depending on what you are looking to determine.

You should allow up to two weeks to receive results from your soil sample with recommendations about what to do next. Usually, the remedy is to apply a Nitrogen-Only fertilizer or to not fertilize for a year or two.