Soil Testing FAQ
The Extension Office is continuing to serve clientele during COVID-19. Even though our office is physically closed, we are telecommuting and available to help. We are continuing to assist you with soil samples online. Agronomic soil samples cost $17 and Turf/Ornamental/Lawn samples cost $21.
Click: registration After completing the registration, we will send you information to mail your soil sample to the lab for testing. We will receive your results in approximately 10 business days and contact you on your next steps to maximize your growing space.
Why Do We Test Soil?
Soil testing is an important diagnostic tool to evaluate nutrient imbalances and understand plant growth. The most important reason to soil test is to have a basis for intelligent application of fertilizer and lime.Testing also allows for growers and homeowners to maintain a soil pH in the optimum range (6.0-7.0), which keeps nutrients more available to the plant. Additional reasons include protection of our environment - we cannot afford to pollute our surface and ground waters by indiscriminate application of phosphorous or nitrogen fertilizers - and cost savings - why apply what you don't need? Soil test results provide information about the soil's ability to supply nutrients to plants for adequate growth and are the basis of deciding how much lime and fertilizer are needed.
What is being tested in a soil sample?
The standard soil test includes determination of soil pH, available phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium levels as well as recommendations for lime and fertilizer. Other soil tests, such as ones for organic matter and zinc-manganese, are available for additional fees.
How do I know if the test results are accurate?
The lab takes various quality control measures to ensure the accuracy of results. Soil with predetermined nutrient levels is tested every 20 samples to provide an accuracy check.
OSU Extension Greene County recommends testing soil every three years. If recent results are not consistent with past results, notify the ANR Educator within one month to rerun the questioned test.
Why doesn't the standard soil test include nitrogen analysis?
Soil nitrate levels are the best indicator of nitrogen availability. Because these levels fluctuate widely depending on rainfall and soil temperature, the best time to take soil nitrate samples in while the crop is growing within two weeks of supplemental nitrogen applications. A soil sample taken months ahead of this time will not provide an accurate measure of the nitrogen available to the plants.
How does the lab make nitrogen recommendations?
Nitrogen recommendations are based on the past and present crops grown, plus the yield goal for the crop to be grown. Less nitrogen is recommended when the previous crop was a legume, because they add nitrogen to the soil.
How soon should I receive test results?
You should receive test results in approximately 10 business days. The analysis takes 3 to 5 working days from the time the lab receives the samples. The results are sent to the Extension Office. The ANR Educator will forward your results to you by your preference of e-mail or mail.
More Information on Soil Testing
Soil Test Pricing Information
Agronomic soil samples cost $15 and turf/ornamental/lawn samples cost $18. Checks may be made payable to OSU Extension Greene County.
Directions on How to Take a Soil Sample
General rules for preparing your soil sample to bring it to the office
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