Document Type


Publication Date



vineyards, south dakota, soil testing

Extension Number

ExEx 6038


Not all soils are conducive to growing quality grapes, so prospective vineyard sites should be tested before a decision is made to plant grapes. Tests can identify soils that are either too high in pH, salts, or saline areas for grapes or are “too rich” (too high in organic matter and nitrogen) for grapes. In addition, testing before planting allows for the incorporation of nutrients—such as phosphorous—that do not move easily through the soil to plant roots. Each soil sample should represent a uniform area. If vegetation or slope across a site varies dramatically, sample the different areas sepa¬rately. Also, take separate samples of areas that have had different cropping history (for example, pastures vs. fields). When looking at larger prop¬erties, a good starting point is to use the Web Soil Survey to view soil type maps of your area. Find the survey at, or check with your local NRCS office. Your local county Extension office can help you get started with testing. The Extension office will have forms and sample bags for the SDSU Soil Testing Laboratory, and many of the offices have soil probes if you do not have your own probe.