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Central Kansas District

Soil Testing

Please note:  At this time we are requesting that homeowners send their soil sample directly to the soil testing lab until the Covid-19 social distancing protocols are removed.  Homeowners can send a sample directly to the soils lab and results will be returned directly to you.  Once you as a homeowner receive results back please contact Horticulture Extension Agent Jason Graves for help with explaining the test results and for more detailed recommendations.  The lab may include generic recommendations, but we can help apply them more specifically to your site.  You can reach Jason by email at jlgraves@ksu.edu or by phone at 785-309-5850.

Soil sampling instructions are below, send a sample of approximately  1.5-2 cups of soil for each area being tested.

Fill out the form below specific to what you are growing and answer as many questions as you can.  Include the form with your soil sample when you mail it to the lab.

Form for flower beds and ornamentals or trees 

Form for lawns

Form for vegetables and fruit

We recommend choosing soil sample package number 2 on the form.  This includes nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, organic matter, and soil pH.  The sample costs $12 for package number 2 and the shipping is $6-use the label form link below to create the shipping label for UPS.  The total bill from the lab should be around $18 for a soil test.    

Print off a mailing label for your sample by using this online form (Note: Put your home address and contact information in the form fields):  

https://ksusoiltesting.com/ups_form.php

Then mail your sample through UPS in a small box/container (with soil contained in a zip-loc bag or other secure way) with the form you filled out above to the soils lab.  You will be billed by the lab for the cost of the soil test.  Please note that you can also pay the bill for the soil test online.  The link to the online bill pay form is here:  https://www.agronomy.k-state.edu/services/soiltesting/index.html

If you have any questions, please call 785-309-5850

 

Soil sampling SOIL SAMPLING FOR HOMEOWNERS

The soil test provides a starting place for a soil improvement program for the home gardener.  Unless you know the deficiencies in your soil, you are only guessing when you apply fertilizer.

A soil test should be taken every 2-4 years.  Soils that have problems should be tested every 1-2 years.

To get an accurate soil test, soil samples need to be properly collected and prepared.

 

WHERE TO SAMPLE

Soil samples need to be representative of the area where the intended plant(s) will be grown.  Take a core or slice of soil from at least 6 different areas within the soil sampling site. 

Do not include soil from a turf area and a garden in the same soil sample.  Areas that have been fertilized and treated differently should be sampled separately.  Areas with more than one definite soil type require more than one sample.

HOW TO SAMPLE

First, remove debris (such as turf thatch or residue) from the top of the soil before inserting the soil probe, spade, or trowel.

Soils from gardens should generally be sampled from the soil surface to the depth of tillage, about 6-8 inches. 

Tree, shrub and flower beds may also be sampled to 6-8 inches deep. 

Sample turf areas to a 4 inch depth.

When using a spade, turn out one spade full of soil and then shave a one inch slice of earth from the side of the hole.  Do this in at least  6 different places in the area being tested and mix all the slices together in a bucket to create the average soil sample for the area.

After mixing the 6 or more slices or cores in a bucket, save a total of 2 cups (1 pint) of soil and place in a clean container (plastic, paper, etc.)

If you have several samples, keep a record of which portion of the lawn or garden each sample represents.  Label each sample with your name, address, and the crop you intend to grow (flowers, vegetables, roses, trees, etc).

Average Cost of soil analysis is $12-$20 depending on the testing package chosen plus shipping cost to the lab.