Soil Sampling

Hannah Carver

What is soil testing?

A soil test is a process by which elements are chemically removed from the soil and measured for their "plant available" content within the sample.

Why should a homeowner preform soil testing?

Soil testing takes the guesswork out of maintaining the soil in optimum condition for plant growth and development. Different plants have different soil pH and nutrient requirements. Testing is inexpensive when compared to investments in your plants, amendments, time and efforts. The fertilizer guidelines provided with the soil test results are based on environmentally-friendly soil fertility management practices.

What information does a soil test give you?

The soil test results will tell you

  • soil pH;
  • levels of potassium (K), phosphorus (P), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S);
  • organic matter level;
  • whether there is lead contamination (for health reasons, all soil samples from home gardens and lawns are measured for lead content);
  • how much lime and fertilizer (organic or chemical) to add; and
  • other management tips for growing your crop.

How do i correctly perform a soil test in my yard?

Soil kits test individual soil nutrients, producing test results for nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium levels. Test strips are paper strips that you dip into test samples.

What do i do with unusual spots in my yard?

You want to avoid unusual spots.

Where do i send a test for analyzing?

You send the test to your local county extension office.

How much does it cost?

In North Carolina a soil test is free.

How long will it take for results?

it takes about two hours for a soil sample to process.