Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Soil Testing Laboratory do?

We provide routine soil testing and fertilizer recommendations for the purpose of evaluating soil fertility and soil pH level and/or problems due to excessive salts or fertilizer materials

Will a soil test help diagnose problems with my plants?

Problems with plants may be caused by factors other than soil fertility, e.g. disease, insects, insufficient light, soil moisture or compaction, or climatic conditions. An evaluation of soil fertility and pH is an important first step in diagnosing problems. If soil fertility is not found to be a problem, then the other factors affecting plant growth should be evaluated to determine possible causes (See #3).

Where can I go for more help?

Check out our Resources page for a complete list of county and state organizations who can offer further help.

How long does it take for the Laboratory to analyze my samples?

It usually takes seven to ten business days for the Laboratory to process your soil samples.

Do you test homeowner soils for nitrogen?

Soils for home lawn, garden, trees and shrubs are not tested for nitrogen because this nutrient is very mobile in soils. Therefore, the nitrogen recommendation is based on plant type requirements and the relative organic matter level in the soil as determined by the Laboratory.

Should I test for trace elements or lead?

Trace element tests may be useful in some professional operations for special problems. Testing for lead is only useful if the soil is suspected to be contaminated with lead.

When should I request the soluble salts test?

The soluble salts test is only necessary under specific conditions. See -> soluble salts.

Where should I park if I am dropping off my soil samples or coming in to ask some questions?

The curb along the front of the building (Dudley Ave.) is a drop off zone for the building with a 20 minute parking limit. There are also meters along Gortner Ave. where it intersects with Dudley Ave. The rest of the parking near the Crops Research Building is contract/permit only.

Sample Drop Off Zone


Map for drop off zone