How to take a soil sample
Using a clean shovel or soil probe, dig down to a depth of:
- 3 inches for lawns,
- 6 inches for vegetables, flowers and small fruits,
- 10 to 12 inches for trees and shrubs.
Take at least 4 - 5 samples from the area to be tested. Mix samples together in a clean, plastic container. Remove all plant material or debris.
Bring two cups of the mixed soil to the Ellis County Extension Office in a resealable, quart-size plastic bag.
- Create separate samples for each area you want to have tested.
- Avoid sampling overly wet soil, and soil that has been recently fertilized.
- Samples should be dry. Do not use heat to dry your sample.
A soil test should be taken prior to planting, then every 3 years if adjustments are recommended from first test. When no adjustments are needed, test every 5 years to monitor nutrient levels.
Soil tests detect shortages of major plant nutrients which affect growth and development of plants. The test doesn't identify or measure insects, soil borne diseases, pesticide residues, or other contaminants. Competition with trees and other plants is often a factor for plant growth which a soil test doesn't address.