How to Test Soil for Nitrogen in Missouri

Overview

Testing soil for nitrogen will help determine which fertilizers are best for the plants or trees you are growing. Fortunately, in Missouri, rather than testing nitrogen at home with a kit, you can take your soil sample to a local Missouri County extension office for testing Alternatively, take the sample to one of the two soil testing facilities located in Columbia and Portageville. Samples can be taken with a soil sampling probe or with a trowel. Take 10 to 15 random samples scattered around the area you are testing for more accurate results.

With a Soil Sampling Probe

Step 1

Pick up a sample information form and collection bucket from your local county extension office or one of the two soil testing facilities. Search for the closet office on the University of Missouri Extension website.

Step 2

Remove any mulch and place a thin clean plastic container, such as a disposable plastic storage container, on top of the soil where you are testing. Leave the top off.

Step 3

Wear safety goggles and drill a hole with a 1-inch bit through the middle of your plastic container.

Step 4

Drill down as far as you can go to make the collection process easier, especially since some of soil conditions in Missouri are rocky or dry. You may also need an auger to go deeper if the soil is still tough to penetrate as you dig down. Go 6 to 7 inches deep.

Step 5

Insert a soil probe designed to take soil samples and push down 6 to 7 inches deep and then pull up. Knock the soil into the plastic containers and transfer the soil to the collection bucket from your local county extension office. Repeat in nine to 14 different areas.

Step 6

Take the entire sample to one of the soil testing facilities along with a check with the current fee ($12 as of 2010) payable to "MU Soil Testing."

With a Trowel

Step 1

Pick up a sample information form and collection bucket from your local county extension office or one of the two soil testing facilities. Search for the closest office on the University of Missouri Extension website.

Step 2

Remove any mulch and have a collection container, such as a plastic storage container next to you.

Step 3

Dig down about 6 to 7 inches and about 3 to 4 inches wide. Remove the soil by the scoopfuls and set the soil near the hole, not in the collection container. This is not the sample.

Step 4

Slice down the side of the hole you just dug to get a 1/2-inch-by-6-inch slice of soil. Dump this into your collection container and repeat in nine to 14 different areas.

Step 5

Take the entire sample to one of the soil testing facilities along with a check with the current fee ($12 as of 2010) payable to "MU Soil Testing."

Things You'll Need

  • Soil sample probe or trowel
  • Soil collection container
  • Soil collection form
  • Plastic container
  • Drill
  • Safety goggles

References

  • University of Missouri Extension: Soil Analysis: How to Take a Soil Sample
  • University of Missouri Extension: Locations
  • Rutgers University Cooperative Extension: Soil Testing for Home Lawns and Gardens
Keywords: soil testing Missouri, soil testing facility, county extension Missouri

About this Author

Melissa Lewis has been a professional writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in various online publications. A former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist, Lewis is also a script writer, with a movie script, "Homecoming," she co-wrote currently in production. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.