Soil Sampling

Horticulture I - 11/5/2013

What is soil testing?

A soil test is the process of analyzing the nutrients present in a soil sample to determine the type and the amount of fertilizer needed.

Why should a homeowner perform soil testing?

Soil testing can help the homeowner by giving the the important information needed to begin a fertilization schedule. This helps to give the homeowners' lawn maximum heath.

What information does a soil test give you?

  • Information to create a fertilizing schedule
  • The pH of the soil
  • The amount of organic material
  • The level of nutrients

How to do soil test correctly...

  1. Use a shovel and collect core samples from 4 to 6 inches down in the ground. Note: The samples should measure the same diameter.
  2. You'll need to take 5 to 10 samples.
  3. Combine and mix the samples thoroughly in a clean container, removing any stones, grass or roots. Allow to air dry. If the lawn or garden has areas with distinctly different soil conditions, collect samples from each area, keeping each sample separate.
  4. Take 1-2 cups of the soil sample mixture to your local county extension center in an airtight, resealable plastic bag.

NOTE: Do not take samples from these types of areas.

  • Backfill ditches, along fence lines, or under trees and shrubs which may have been given extra fertilizer.
  • Spots where grass, vegetable plants or flowers have suddenly died or change color.

And finally, last but not least...

  • Wet soil.

Do you have unusual spots?

If you do, don't take any samples from them. Avoid these areas as much as possible.

Where do you send the test?

To you local county extension center.

How much is it?

For a small charge you can get your soil tested.

How long does it take to get the results?

It takes approximately two to four weeks to have the results mailed to your address depending on the time of year.