close-up photo of soil after tilling

Knowing the pH and nutrient content of your soil is important to successful growing.

How To Take A Soil Sample

LAWN/GARDEN/LANDSCAPE SOIL TESTING
CCE of Jefferson County

  • pH Testing- There is no charge for this test for up to 3 samples. Additional sample testing is $2 per sample. Just drop off a soil sample at our reception desk and we will call you with the results. A pH test measures the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. In Jefferson County most soil pH levels range from 6.5 to 7.4.Most plants grow best at a pH level of 6.5 to 7.0. Depending on what crop you are growing, if your pH levels are normal and you are not having problems, no further testing is necessary.
  • Complete Soil Analysis- The charge for this test is $13 if you mail the sample yourself; $15 if we mail it in. Soil testing for agronomic crops is $18, see Mike Hunter for this testing. Your soil sample is sent to Agro-One Labs in Ithaca, NY. This test should be done if soil pH levels are out of the normal ranges, or if you have been having problems with your garden or lawn.
    • For home gardens, lawns, trees, fruit: stop at our reception desk and someone will assist you in filling out the submission form.
    • For commercial samples (farm businesses): I will need to meet with you at our office when you drop off the sample to get information required for the lab sheet.Please call ahead to make sure Sue Gwise will be here to assist you.
    • You will receive a soil analysis report via regular mail or email (your choice) in about 2 weeks. The report will give levels of phosphorus, potassium, organic matter and the soil pH.Specific recommendations will be listed on the report based on your soil and the crop you are growing under the section labeled “your garden needs”.
  • How to take a soil sample- Using a hand spade and a small container, take 5 to 6 random samples from the planting area. Dig down to a depth of about 8 inches. Mix all of the samples together and bring in two cups of the mixture.If the sample is wet, it should be left out to dry overnight. Place the sample in a zip-lock bag, or a glass or plastic container. Do not use metal containers.
  • Soil samples for pH and home garden samples are accepted at the CCE Jefferson reception desk from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday.
  • Please call ahead for commercial crop soil analysis testing.

Contact

Sue Gwise
Consumer Horticulture Educator & Master Gardener Coordinator
Sjg42@cornell.edu
315-788-8450 ext. 243

Last updated November 7, 2019