Soil testing analyzes a prepared soil sample of your yard or garden. The test results give homeowners vital information on nutrient requirements, pH level and soil composition to properly maintain the garden or lawn. The test will prevent overapplying fertilizer and determine best type of fertilizer to meet the soil requirements. Take soil samples in the late summer or early fall before fertilizer is applied.
Contact your local county university extension office to obtain the paperwork and submission information for the soil sample.
Assemble the tools needed for soil collection. The tools include a garden trowel and clean plastic bucket that has not been washed with dish soap.
Take 10 samples from the area of lawn or garden that needs testing by walking in a zig-zag pattern through out the area.
Dig the samples by scraping away a section of the top layer of turf approximately the size of your hand. Dig a hole 3 inches deep and cut a section of soil from the side. Place the scoop in the bucket. Newly seeded lawns should take a sample from a 6-inch-deep hole.
Remove rocks, grass clippings and other organic material from the soil samples.
Mix the 10 samples together in the bucket and place 2 cups in the sample bag provided with the testing paperwork.
Fill out the accompanying paperwork for the soil test. Include notes on the type of growing area the samples were taken from, the watering schedule for the area, and if organic matter was removed.
Bring the sample and paperwork to the county university extension office or mail it to the testing location as noted on the soil sample paperwork.