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Conservation on the Ground - Products For Sale & Equipment For Rent

Soil & Water maintains equipment for use by landowners for a nominal fee to promote conservation tillages, nutrient management, enhance crop production, and conserve the Soil & Water resources in the county.  Click the link at left to review the equipment available and schedule your rental.

Soil Sampling Do’s and Don’ts

It is that time of year again to be thinking about taking soil samples on your farm.  

Remember a soil analysis is only as good as the sample on which it is based.  Soil samples should be taken approximately 6 months prior to when you want to plant the crop.  This gives you time to get the results back and get a plan established as to what fertilization program you want to apply.  There is no magic number for how many cores you should take to form a good sample for the lab; the more cores you take the better representation you will get for the field you are sampling.  A good suggestion is to take 10-15 cores for fields under 20 acres, removing any vegetation or crop residue from the surface of the sampling site.  

You want to sample to plow layer depth, usually 6-8 inches. You should also take different samples for areas of different soil type and different terrain in the same field.  Mix cores thoroughly, breaking up any clods and discarding stones and debris.  Be sure to label soil samples in a way that, at a later date, you will be able to link the analysis with the correct field.  A good time of year to sample is during the fall after harvest has been completed.  You don’t have the pressure of spring time planting, no standing crops to deal with, and fields are usually dry enough to support a four-wheeler or pickup truck.  You should sample each field at least once every 3 years; more often if you’re trying to correct serious pH or nutrient deficiencies. 

When you send you samples to the lab, you should use the same lab every time, because different labs use different methods which can give you different results for the samples you had taken. When you get the results back from the lab you can go over them with our Soil & Water Agriculture District Technician, your local crop consultant, or the OSU Extension Agriculture Educator to come up with a plan that will work on your farm.  

You can also come up with a Variable Rate plan that most fertilizer Co-Ops can do with the new Variable Rate technology equipment they have.  This new program lets the farmers apply on the fertilizers to the areas of the field that are deficient and not have an over abundance on other areas of the fields.  This technology will also be more cost effective and also make you better stewards of the soils that you farm.  

Soil & Water has Soil Probes to borrow to take samples.  Contact us to reserve yours today!  740-670-5330 or


Protect Your Trees

Young trees, called seedlings or saplings, have succulent leaves, and are at a good browsing height for wildlife such as deer or rabbits.  Also, bucks like to rub their antlers against trees to remove the velvety nap covering their antlers. Unfortunately, this rubbing done by the deer shreds or completely abrades the tree’s vessels that transport water and nutrients from the soil to the leaves and vice versa.  If the damage, either removal of too many leaves or shredding of the bark, is too severe, the tree will die.

Trees provide improvements in aesthetics, shade, and recreation.  Young trees are a valuable investment in a property, but often require protection from wildlife.  Several approaches are available to protect trees from wildlife; which approach taken depends on the size of the tree, location, and resources available.  

At Licking Soil & Water, tree tubes are the preferred tree protection.  Tree tubes create a barrier between the bark and leaves, provide venting, and create a mini greenhouse.  A 5’ or shorter tree tube protects seedlings. For larger trees, protect the lowest branch to the ground by covering the trunk of the tree with a commercial product or repurposing 4-6” drainage tile.  The lighter the tree tube color, the better to heat the tree up in winter, and not overheat it in summer. Beware of hiding insects and burrowing rodents damaging the bark where the tree tube meets the ground. 

Other tree protection includes: 

  • Chicken wire or plastic mesh discourages deer rubbing and other wildlife damage such as browsing.  
  • Plastic netting or bird netting around young trees protects them from wildlife.  
  • Properly constructed high fences that deer cannot jump over can be expensive and may not be suitable everywhere.  
  • Various repellents are available, but have mixed results and need to be applied periodically.

Generally, the best way to control wildlife damage to young trees is through a combination of methods.  To reap the shade, recreation and aesthetic benefits of trees for years to come, change the protection method as the tree grows.  

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