Soil Testing and Sampling
Proper soil nutrition is the basis for good gardening. Soil can be analyzed through any of the metro area Extension offices. Soil testing through Extension is to determine fertility requirements. Testing for substances other than nutrients cannot be tested and private labs will be required. A routine soil test, which is most often needed for garden soils will reveal the soilís pH, phosphorus, and potassium level. Other micro nutrients can be tested for an additional fee. The cost of a soil test will vary from county to county but generally the fee is around $10.00. The normal turn around time for soil testing is two to three weeks.
Proper collection of the sample is important for a quality test. One cup of soil is required for the test which is actually done at Kansas State University or the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Normally one sample is needed for a lawn or garden. If areas have been treated differently or have different types of soils then additional samples may be needed.
You will need a spade or auger, a clean bucket and a small container for the sample. From each area to be sampled take 8 to 10 plugs of soil going down into the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. For lawn samples remove the sod layer.
Place all samples in a clean bucket and mix thoroughly. From this mixture collect one cup of soil for the test. Place this sample in a container such as a plastic bag and bring or mail to the closest Extension office. For mailing instructions please call.
Results of your soil test will be mailed to you with recommendations for pH adjustments, if any, and an overview of the fertilization requirements for your area. Soil tests should be taken every three to five years.