If your plants are struggling or you’re trying to decide which trees or shrubs to plant, it might seem logical to get your soil tested. However, traditional soil testing only measures the chemical and physical properties of soil. This information is not entirely useful.
Because chemical and physical properties are only two facets of soil health. There is a critical third: biology. This is the most crucial component of soil health.
Unless you’ve restored your soil biology, you’ll find mostly lifeless dirt (or subsoil) in your yard. A traditional soil test on subsoil will only tell you that you need chemical inputs. You DO NOT need chemical inputs to make soil healthy. You need life in your soil—you need biology.
Soil with healthy biology will typically provide your plants with all the nutrients they need. From time to time, a soil test may be useful. For these situations, we recommend you test for microbiology, not soil chemistry. This test can tell you what you need to do to enhance the biology in your soil.
It’s important to note that if your trees and shrubs are doing well, there is no reason to test your soil at all. The health of your plants is better proof than any test.
Reject the false notion that you need to add chemicals to your soil and skip the traditional soil test. Doing so will save you time and money. For trees and shrubs, focus on enhancing the biology in your soil. Then sit back and let Nature do what Nature does best: grow life. This approach to soil health will provide the best foundation for thriving plants for years to come.