Laboratory Soil Analysis

TURF and plants growing in turf areas

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NOTE: For agriculture and gardens, use the Non-Turf Procedure.

This procedure for collecting soil is easy. You can use a soil profiler, trowl, shovel, or any tool that can provide a cut-away view of the soil. NOTE that the information that you fill in on the website is an average of the characteristics of the six soil samples that you take. Numbers can be rounded to the nearest whole number.

IMPORTANT - Take samples from an open area of lawn. Do not take from area between curb and sidewalk or between driveway ribbons. Avoid water runoff areas, like the base of a slope or a drain spout runoff area. Do not use soil where a tree or shrub was recently removed. Take from at least 6 different locations.


Use soil profiler or other tool to obtain soil samples to the maximum depth possible. The depth indicates how loose the soil is. The deeper the soil sample the better it is for the turf or other plant materials.


Twist probe and pull out of ground. Measure from surface line to bottom of probe, the bottom of area "C" on the photo. If using a trowel or shovel, attempt to create a flat surface that is perpendiculat, removing the loose dirt out of the way so that it can be seen more from the side and to enable an accurate measure of the depth. Write down "Average Coring Depth" so that it can be transferred to the website form.


Push plug up from bottom of probe. Carefully fleck away soil until you expose beginning of roots. Sometimes, the roots are visible at the bottom of the probe. Measure from surface to end of root system. If using a trowel or shovel, measure the depth of the roots, similar to using the probe, by scratching some dirt away to determine the deepest part of the roots, from top of soil to bottom of "B" on photo. Fill in "Main Root Development" with this figure.


Measure the depth of thatch. That's the peat-like or corky material from the grass line to beginning of soil surface, area "A" on the photo. Fill in "Thatch Layer Depth" with this figure.

STEP 5: Remove soil from probe (or trowel), discard thatch and grass, put soil in sample bag. You will need to repeat Steps 1,2, & 5 till there is 1/2 to 1 cup of soil in the bag (Zip Lock).
STEP 6: Fill in the "Regular Cutting Height" at which you cut your lawn.
STEP 7: Fill in "Type of Grasses" in your lawn if known (not a critical).
STEP 8: Measure the turf area for which the sample was collected
STEP 9: Check off watering method you use.
STEP 10: Check off correct lawn life stage. "Developing" means lawn was established within the last two years. "Renovation" means lawn was established but needed extensive seeding last season which was done. "New-seeded" - self explanatory. "New Sod" - self explanatory. If any other condition exists, note in blank area.
STEP 11: Date sample taken and last time lawn or garden was limed.
STEP 12: Transfer the data onto the Website Form.