I am testing all of the samples for pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels. (Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, aka N-P-K, are key to plant development. pH determines the availability of these nutrients to the plant – some plants are adapted to survive on acid soils; others on alkaline soils. Some plants can tolerate a range of pH.)
As you may be able tell from the photos above, the soils at each site tested as alkaline. The JNEM #1 sample was less alkaline that the rest – but none of the samples tested as truly neutral, much less acidic. This suggests that in order to design a low maintenance planting strategy, species that tolerate alkaline soils should be selected. Interestingly, while some of the plants at JNEM tolerate alkaline soils, many are adapted to grow in acidic or neutral soils and do not seem to have great tolerance of alkalinity.
Based on these results, I can begin to limit the plant palette to species that will thrive on the alkaline soils found at each site without requiring additional soil ammendment.