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NC Truffle Soil Sampling Project – We Need Your Help!

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Person collecting a soil sample in a truffle orchard

The NC Alternative Crops & Organics Program at NC State, in cooperation with the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) Agronomic Division and the North American Truffle Growers Association (NATGA), are working to develop fertility recommendations for North Carolina truffle orchards. In order to do this, we need data! We are calling on all North Carolina truffle growers to submit soil samples to the NCDA&CS for analysis. Please note, this is only for North Carolina growers at this time. Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit your County Extension office or the Agronomic Division Office in Raleigh and pick up soil test boxes (mandatory) and soil sample submission forms. Here is a Soil Info Sheet for Truffles (2021) that you can download and print which includes some of the truffle information filled in for you already. You will want a separate box for every sample you are going to take. If you have several orchards, take a separate sample for each one. If you have an orchard with obviously different soil types or conditions, you might want to take separate samples for the different parts of that orchard.
  2. View this short video on how to take soil samples in your orchard.
  3. To get the specific truffle-related information needed to create truffle recommendations also complete this Google Form.
  4. Be sure the sample ID number you use on the soil sample box matches what you put on the soil sample submission form and the Google Form.
  5. Use the Crop Code 311 for Truffles on your soil sample submission form.
  6. Mail in your samples as instructed on the soil sample submission form. Additional information on how to collect, package, and submit your samples can be found on this page.
  7. PLEASE BE SURE TO COMPLETE THE SOIL SAMPLE SUBMISSION FORM TO INCLUDE WITH YOUR SAMPLE AND THE ONLINE GOOGLE FORM.
  8. April through November, NCDA&CS soil tests are provided free to NC residents. From Thanksgiving through March a peak-season fee of $4 per sample is charged for the processing of all soil samples.
  9. The soil test results you will receive at this time will be very general in nature. Contact your state agronomist to get specific recommendations for your truffle orchard based on your test results. You will want to apply more lime than is recommended on the results form and probably less fertilizer.
  10. We suggest you submit new soil samples every year so we and you can monitor your soil pH and other factors.
  11. The recommendations provided with the soil test results will be adjusted as we receive more data on our state truffle orchards and their production.
  12. Thank you for participating in this research project!
  13. Questions about the project can be directed to Jeanine_Davis@ncsu.edu and Michelle.McGinnis@ncagr.gov (please include both of us).
  14. If you are not currently a member of the North American Truffle Growers Association, we strongly suggest you join. It is the only forum available for truffle growers, researchers, industry reps, and extension personnel to exchange information relevant to growing truffles in our region.

A big thank you to Haywood County Extension Agent, Sam Marshall, and NC State University horticulture graduate student and employee in our program, Katie Learn, for creating the video for us; to truffle growers and NATGA officers, Brian Upchurch and Richard Franks for encouraging us to do this; and to Dr. Michelle McGinnis, Agronomic Field Services Section Chief at NCDA&CS for making this possible.

Jeanine Davis, Extension Specialist, NC Alternative Crops and Organics Program, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University