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Resources for Soils

Title Available As Summary Date ID Author
Virginia No-Till Fact Sheet Series Number Five: Understanding Ammonia Volatilization from Fertilizers
Loss of nitrogen (N) as ammonia gas (NH3) is known as volatilization. While volatilization directly from soil can occur, such loss is generally relatively small compared to the amount that can be lost from fertilizers. Volatilization losses can be significant with granular urea and urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN) sources, but the amount of loss varies greatly depending on placement of the fertilizer, soil pH, soil texture, and climatic conditions after application.
Sep 29, 2020 2908-1404 (SPES-264NP)
Virginia No-Till Fact Sheet Series Number Six - Nitrogen Fertilizer Sources and Properties
The most commonly available nitrogen fertilizer sources used in Virginia are urea, liquid urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN) solution, and ammonium sulfate. Ammonium nitrate is also available in some areas but its use is low relative to urea and UAN solution. Understanding the properties of these fertilizers enables managers to make better decisions as to the most effective way to use these fertilizers as well as to make economic comparisons.
May 3, 2024 2908-1405 (SPES-592NP)
The Minute Pirate Bug (Orius) Mar 18, 2019 3002-1437
Pop-up and/or Starter Fertilizers for Corn Nov 16, 2018 3002-1438 (SPES-77NP)
Nitrogen Soil Testing For Corn in Virginia Apr 6, 2023 418-016 (SPES-484P)
Phosphorus, Agriculture & The Environment
their yield potential. Research has documented that applying fertilizer phosphorus increases crop growth and yields on soils that are naturally low in phosphorus and in soils that have been depleted through crop removal. Crop fertilization represents the greatest use of phosphorus in agriculture today.
Jun 4, 2024 424-029 (SPES-82NP)
Agronomy Handbook 2023 Dec 11, 2023 424-100 (SPES-299P)
Agronomy Handbook 2023: Part I. Crop Descriptions Dec 15, 2023 424-100-A (SPES-299P-A)
Agronomy Handbook 2023: Part II. Forage Crops Dec 15, 2023 424-100-B (SPES-299P-B)
Agronomy Handbook 2023: Part III. Turfgrass Dec 15, 2023 424-100-C (SPES-299P-C)
Agronomy Handbook 2023: Part IV. Seed Facts Dec 15, 2023 424-100-D (SPES-299P-D)
Agronomy Handbook 2023: Part V. Seeds and Stored Grains Dec 15, 2023 424-100-E (SPES-299P-E)
Agronomy Handbook 2023: Part VI. Soils of Virginia Dec 15, 2023 424-100-F (SPES-299P-F)
Agronomy Handbook 2023: Part VII. Soil Health Management Dec 18, 2023 424-100-G (SPES-299P-G)
Agronomy Handbook 2023: Part VIII. Soil Testing and Plant Analysis Dec 18, 2023 424-100-H (SPES-299P-H)
Agronomy Handbook 2023: Part X. Lime: Common Soil Additives To Raise Soil pH in Virginia Dec 18, 2023 424-100-J (SPES-299P-J)
Agronomy Handbook 2023: Part XI. Fertilizing With Manures Dec 18, 2023 424-100-K (SPES-299P-K)
Agronomy Handbook 2023: Part XII. Land Application of Biosolids Dec 18, 2023 424-100-L (SPES-299P-L)
Agronomy Handbook 2023: Part XIII. Weeds and Weed Management Dec 18, 2023 424-100-M (SPES-299P-M)
Agronomy Handbook 2023: Part XIV. Nutritional Composition of Feeds Dec 18, 2023 424-100-N (SPES-299P-N)
Agronomy Handbook 2023: Part XV. Diagnostic Laboratory Services Dec 18, 2023 424-100-O (SPES-299P-O)
Agronomy Handbook 2023: Part XVI. Commonly Used Weights and Measures Dec 18, 2023 424-100-P (SPES-299P-P)
Agronomy Handbook 2023: Part XVII. Calibration of Sprayers Dec 18, 2023 424-100-Q (SPES-299P-Q)
Agronomy Handbook 2023: Part IX. Conversion Factors Needed for Common Fertilizer Calculations Dec 18, 2023 424-100-I (SPES-299P-I)
Urban Nutrient Management Handbook Aug 16, 2019 430-350
Soil Testing for the Lawn and Landscape May 1, 2009 430-540
Impact of Changing From Nitrogen- to Phosphorus-Based Manure Nutrient Management Plans Aug 30, 2019 442-310
Soil Sample Information Sheet for Commercial Crop Production Sep 24, 2021 452-124 (SPES-356NP)
Forma para el Muestreo de Suelos de Céspedes, Jardines, Frutas y Ornamentales en el Hogar (Soil Sample Information Sheet for Home Lawns, Gardens, Fruits, and Ornamentals) May 18, 2023 452-125S (SPES-501NP)
Soil Sample Information Sheet for Commercial Greenhouse and Nursery Production Aug 19, 2021 452-126 (SPES-349NP)
Soil Sample Information Sheet for Golf Courses and Industrial Lawns Aug 19, 2021 452-128 (SPES-346NP)
Soil Sampling for the Home Gardener
This publication explains how to obtain representative soil samples and to submit them for analysis to the Virginia Tech Soil Testing Laboratory.
Feb 6, 2020 452-129 (SPES-176P)
Mid-Atlantic Composting Directory
This directory is intended to provide contact information for service and equipment suppliers, along with sources for information and education. Every attempt has been made to present accurate information. Contents are for informational purposes only and are based on details provided by the organizations and entities listed. Inclusion in this directory does not constitute an endorsement by the publishers of the products or services of any business organization or individual listed herein.
Aug 17, 2021 452-230 (SPES-345NP)
Compost: What Is It and What's It To You Feb 15, 2023 452-231 (SPES-479P)
Soil Test Note 14: Athletic Fields, Golf Course Fairways, Sod Production, and Large Industrial/Recreational Lawns Mar 3, 2022 452-244 (SPES-362NP)
Sources of Lime for Acid Soils in Virginia
Acid soil limits crop yields on many Virginia farms. This soil acidity can be directly toxic to plants, but more often it reduces the plants' efficiency at nutrient utilization.
Aug 9, 2019 452-510 (SPES-158P)
Explanation of Soil Tests
Your Soil Test Report and related Soil Test Notes referred to on a report will help you assess your plant’s need for fertilizer and lime.
May 29, 2024 452-701 (SPE-605NP)
Soil Test Note #2 - Field Crops
Most Virginia soils are acidic and require lime applications at three- to five-year intervals. Maintaining the correct soil pH has several benefits, such as encouraging healthy root development and making sure nutrients in the soil are available to the plant. For example, low pH can cause aluminum toxicity and can decrease phosphorus availability.
Sep 9, 2019 452-702 (CSES-100P)
Soil Test Note No.3 - Liming and Fertilization of Cool-Season Forage Crops Aug 30, 2019 452-703
Soil Test Note 4: Trace Elements
If your Soil Test Report indicates that one or more trace elements are needed, then go to the related sections in this note for information on the recommended trace elements and the specific rates and methods of application. Apply only those trace elements that are recommended, and only at the recommended rates!
Jun 5, 2024 452-704 (SPES-607NP)
Soil Test Note 5: Fertilizing With Manures Aug 30, 2019 452-705
Soil Test Note 19: Vegetable and Flower Gardens (Supplement to Soil Test Report) Oct 11, 2019 452-719
Soil Test Note 21: Home Fruit Trees Apr 14, 2023 452-721 (SPES-489NP)
Laboratory Procedures: Virginia Tech Soil Testing Laboratory
The procedures for soil analysis used in the Soil Testing Laboratory were established in the early 1950s. A routine test, consisting of eleven separate analyses, is performed on all samples.
Mar 5, 2024 452-881 (SPES-91P)
Powell River Project - Creation and Management of Productive Minesoils Jul 24, 2023 460-121 (CSES-209P)
Powell River Project - Revegetation Species and Practices
This publication describes procedures for revegetating surface coal mine reclamation sites with grasses and herbaceous legumes.
Jul 28, 2023 460-122 (CSES-210P)
Powell River Project - How to Restore Forests on Surface-mined Land
This publication describes procedures for re-establishing native forest trees on surface coal mine reclamation sites in southwestern Virginia and elsewhere in Appalachia.
Jul 28, 2023 460-123 (CSES-211P)
Powell River Project - Establishing Groundcover for Forested Postmining Land Uses Mar 15, 2018 460-124 (CSES-212P)
Powell River Project - Establishment and Maintenance of Quality Turfgrass on Surface-mined Land Jul 27, 2023 460-127 (CSES-213P)
Powell River Project - Reclamation of Coal Refuse Disposal Areas Jul 25, 2023 460-131 (CSES-215P)
Powell River Project - Reclaiming Mined Lands as Industrial Sites Jul 25, 2023 460-132 (CSES-217P)
Powell River Project - Recovery of Native Plant Communities After Mining
This publication describes plant communities occurring on mine sites that were reclaimed during different eras, and using different reclamation methods.
Jul 28, 2023 460-140 (CSES-220P)
Powell River Project - Reforestation Guidelines for Unused Surface Mined Lands in the Eastern United States
This publication describes procedures for converting reclaimed mined lands that are unmanaged into productive forest ecosystems with native trees as dominant vegetation.
Jul 28, 2023 460-144 (CSES-221P)
Taste of Farming: Basic Soils Apr 1, 2022 ALCE-296-4
Soil and Soil Water Relationships
This publication presents and discusses concepts that are fundamental to understanding soil, water, and plant relationships and the soil water balance. Knowledge about soil water relationships can inform the decision-making process in agricultural operations or natural resource management, such as determining what crops to plant, when to plant them, and when various management practices should be scheduled. Understanding these concepts is useful for addressing both agronomic and policy issues related to agricultural water management.Zachary M. Easton, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech Emily Bock, Graduate Research Assistant, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech
Mar 1, 2021 BSE-194P
Factors When Considering an Agricultural Drainage System Jun 7, 2022 BSE-208P (BSE-343P)
Virginia Cover Crops Fact Sheet Series No. 1: Beneficial Uses of Cover Crops
The general purpose of a cover crop is to improve the soil, the broader environment, or other crops in rotation, not for direct harvest. Cover crops, depending on which are selected, are capable of providing many diverse assets. This publication provides a short description of these main benefits.
Sep 23, 2020 CSES-120NP (SPES-241NP)
Virginia Cover Crops Fact Sheet Series No. 2: Cover Crop Performance Evaluation in Field and Controlled Studies
Cover crops increase soil organic matter, reduce erosion, suppress weeds, forage for nutrients, and reduce fertilizer costs (Clark, 2007). Cover crop species vary greatly and provide varied benefits. Performance evaluation of cover crop species and mixtures is needed in Virginia.
Sep 23, 2020 CSES-121NP (SPES-240NP)
The Mid-Atlantic Nutrient Management Handbook
Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, and Virginia, the five states in the Mid-Atlantic region, all require Certified Nutrient Management Plans to be completed for certain agricultural programs.
Jun 1, 2020 CSES-122P
Measuring Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity in Soil
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance on measuring water movement through in situ saturated soil (saturated hydraulic conductivity, or Ksat) as it relates to dispersal and treatment of on-site sewage (wastewater) through an on-site wastewater dispersal area
Mar 22, 2016 CSES-141P (CSES-164P)
Understanding the Texture of Your Soil for Agricultural Productivity Jul 20, 2016 CSES-162P
Optimizing Bermudagrass Athletic Field Winter Survival in the Transition Zone Nov 15, 2017 CSES-200P
Virginia Soil Judging Scorecard Dec 5, 2022 CSES- 202P(4H-845P)
Soil Judging Supplemental Information Sheet Dec 5, 2022 CSES- 202P-A
Manure Injection in No-Till and Pasture Systems May 1, 2023 CSES-22P (SPES-5P)
Importance of Farm Phosphorus Mass Balance and Management Options
Phosphorus is a naturally occurring element that is one of 16 elements essential for plant growth and animal health. Research has documented that applying phosphorus in fertilizers or manure increases crop growth and yield on soils that are below critical agronomic levels, as measured during routine soil testing. Although the economic benefits of phosphorus fertilization on crop production are well-documented, too much of a good thing can be detrimental to the environment. Excessive soil phosphorus is a potential threat to water quality.
Feb 21, 2020 CSES-98P(SPES-178P)
Soils, Science, and Stakeholders
Climate change is documented by research data, yet some deny evidence of the causes, underestimate the impacts, or fail to adjust their activities and choices. Soil is tied to climate change in many ways. Presented on-line to a national professional meeting of soil scientists, this video discusses the way that Americans perceive climate change and the relationships between climate change and soil science.
Feb 6, 2024 SPES-115NP
Harvest Weed Seed Control May 6, 2019 SPES-135NP
Soil Sampling Instructions for the Farm
Correctly collecting a soil sample is one of the most important steps in a soil testing program! The reliability of a soil test can be no better than the sample submitted. For results that can be depended on, it is vitally important to take samples that accurately represent the soil in your fields. When one considers that a one pound soil sample must adequately represent millions of pounds of soil in the area being sampled, the importance of doing a good job of sampling becomes apparent.
Jun 3, 2024 SPES-141
Fertilizer: The Many Forms You Can Use Mar 18, 2020 SPES-187NP
Foliar Injury: Spring Nitrogen Applications to Small Grains Apr 2, 2020 SPES-197NP
Common Fertilizers Used in Virginia: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium Apr 7, 2020 SPES-199NP
Common Fertilizers Used in Virginia: Secondary and Micronutrients
Secondary macronutrients are used in relatively large quantities by plants for optimal growth and are sulfur (S), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg). Micronutrients on the other hand are needed in much smaller quantities than both primary and secondary macronutrients; however, micronutrients are still essential for plant growth.
Apr 10, 2020 SPES-200NP
Conversion Factors Needed for Common Fertilizer Calculations Apr 29, 2020 SPES-201NP
Floor Management Strategies for Virginia Vineyards Jul 28, 2020 SPES-209P
Soil, Conservation, and Place -- Janet Aardema and Dan Gagnon of Broadfork Farm Jun 8, 2020 SPES-214NP
Soil, Conservation and Place -- Ira Wallace of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange Jun 8, 2020 SPES-215NP
Biofortification: Creating a Healthier Food Supply
Humans and livestock require a broad range of nutrients to maintain a healthy diet. However, the lack of diversity in diets due to price, geography, and availability makes it difficult to create a well-rounded food supply from staple crops. Biofortification is the process of improving the nutritional quality of food and feed through management practices, plant breeding, and genetic modification. The history, types, and implications of biofortification are discussed with an emphasis on producer, livestock, and human health considerations.
Nov 23, 2020 SPES-267P
Lime: Common Soil Additives to Raise Soil pH in Virginia Feb 16, 2021 SPES-298NP
4 The Soil Live Kickoff Jul 23, 2021 SPES-339NP
What Happens If My Septic System Fails? Apr 29, 2022 SPES-379P
Septic System Best Management Practices Apr 29, 2022 SPES-380P
Your Soil Test Report Simplified A Guide for Homeowners Mar 10, 2022 SPES-384NP
4 The Soil Feb 14, 2024 SPES-583NP
4 The Soil: A Conversation podcast Feb 14, 2024 SPES-584NP
VCE Ag Today: Soil Amendments —Poultry Litter Apr 12, 2021 VCE-1027-29NP
Pesticide Applicator Manuals Dec 17, 2021 VTTP-2