Testing Soil - Knowledgebase Question

Salem, OR
Question by falkcr
March 31, 2003
I was told my lawn's soil may be low in Ph. How do I test the soil (can I buy a "kit", do I take a sample to a lab somewhere, etc)?

Will I need to sample in more than one place? Should I sample the soil where the lawn is struggling or where it's healthy, etc?

Thanks for your help.


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Answer from NGA
March 31, 2003

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You can purchase a soil test kit at any garden center, but the results are not always accurate. I'd suggest paying the small fee required by your local university and having your soil tested through them. Along with the pH, organic matter and nutrient availabilty, the test results will include fertilizer recommendations and amounts of lime to apply if your soil is too acidic. Contact your local Cooperative Extension office for a free soil test kit plus instructions on how to take a representative soil sample.

If you decide to purchase a test kit and do it yourself, here's how to take a soil sample:
Use a clean bucket and hand trowel and take small soil samples at varying depths in several locations around your yard. Mix the soil together, then take a representative scoop of the soil for testing.

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