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Soil Sampling Instructions

Follow steps 1-3 for your particular crop.

Step 1

A soil test is no better than the soil sample submitted for analysis. Take samples as follows:

Agronomic, Vegetables, Small Fruit, and Home Garden Crops

Using a trowel, shovel, or auger, and a clean pail, obtain thin slices or borings of soil from at least 13 places in a given area. Follow the diagram below to properly locate the samples. For contour strips, take 6 samples 20 feet in from the edge of the entire strip and 6 samples from the opposite side of the strip. Sample to plow depth in cultivated land or to a depth of 6 inches. Sample to a depth of 3 or 4 inches in permanent pastures.  If the field varies in soil type, previous fertilizer or lime application, or cropping history, sample each area separately.

Square, Rectangular Field or Garden Soil Sampling
Square, Rectangular Field or Garden

Contour Strips Soil Sampling
Contour Strips

Turf Soils

Using a soil sampling tube, auger or trowel, and a clean pail, obtain thin slices or borings of soil from 12 or more locations. Follow the diagram below to properly locate the samples. Sample to a depth of 2 to 3 inches.

If the area varies in kind of soil, previous fertilizer or lime treatments, use separate mailing kits for each different area. Discard all grass and accumulated thatch material. Do not contaminate soil with fertilizer or other materials.

If you have a situation where a maintenance recommendation for an existing turf area is desired and also a recommendation for establishing a new turf area is desired, you must use separate soil test kits for each area.

Square, Rectangular Field or Garden Soil Sampling

Tree Fruit

Collect soil cores to an 8-inch depth just inside the drip line of the canopy.  Collect soil cores from at least 15 to 20 locations to form a representative composite sample.  Avoid unusual areas that are not representative of the whole area.

 

Step 2

Mix the soil taken into one composite sample. Spread soil on newspaper in a warm room to air dry overnight. Do not heat.

Step 3

Take 1 cup of representative sample and place in the soil mailing kit bag. Mail soil sample and submission form to The Pennsylvania State University, 111 Ag Analytical Srvcs Lab,  University Park, PA 16802-1114.

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