Newswise — April 14, 2016 – Farmers have soil tests done so they can calculate if they need to apply fertilizers, or change the pH of their soil. Many home gardeners have their soil tested as well. The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) April 14 Soils Matter blog post explains that in the near future the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium recommendations on your soil report may have just as much to do with microbes as it has to do with available nutrients.

“Many growers and gardeners leave some or all of their crop residue on the soil,” says soil scientist, Will Brinton. “This is good for many reasons. The dead plant material is 'recycled' back into the soil. This adds nutrients – nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and more – that you won’t have to add as fertilizer.” Brinton is a professor at the University of Maine, and Director, Woods End Soils Lab.

“Another form of recycling nutrients has to do with the geologic ‘parent material’ of soil – the original rocks and stones. Some researchers have called for reassessment of potassium fertilization since the pool of potassium from “fixed” sources – like rocks – was not considered available to plants.”

To read the entire blog post, visit

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The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, and founded in 1936, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members and 1,000+ certified professionals dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. The Society provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.