Soil & Water Testing
Soil Testing Services
Why take a soil sample?
Developing and maintaining productive soils begins with soil testing. Soils tests provide information on the soil’s actual nutrient status and pH level. Test results are used to accurately determine the amount and kind of nutrients that should be added for the best growth of lawn, garden, and other types of plants. Soil can be tested any time during the year: however, be sure to sample well in advance of planting or spring green-up. This is important on areas where lime is likely to be needed.
Taking a Representative Sample
Taking a representative soil sample is essential to receiving accurate results. Please make sure to review the soil sampling procedures before submitting a soil sample!
Samples should be free of roots, leaves, and other plant material.
Sample Handling, Drop-Off, and Payment
For each sample, place 2 cups of your dry soil in a plastic sandwich bag or UGA soil sample bag.
- If you have multiple samples, be sure to label them with a number, location, or code that you will recognize when you receive your results.
- Take note of the plants you are growing or want to grow in the area represented by each sample.
Basic soil tests start at $8.00 per sample. The test results will be emailed within 10-14 days of submission and will include recommendations for how to amend soil if needed.
We have two drop-off locations for samples. Cash or check are the only accepted forms of payment. Make checks payable to "Chatham County Extension/4-H"
Chatham County Extension Office: 17 Minus Ave, Garden City, GA 31408
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 am - 5 pm
Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens: 2 Canebrake Rd, Savannah, GA 31419
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am - 4pm, Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm
The Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens can only accept exact change for soil testing. Expect an extra 2 business days turnaround for samples submitted to the Coastal Georgia BG.
If you have additional questions about soil sampling, please call our office at (912) 652-7981 or email email@example.com.
Water Testing Services
Testing for household, well, farm irrigation and pond water quality easy through UGA Extension. Please contact the Chatham County Extension Office office or consult our drinking water sampling protocol before submitting a sample.
- Basic Water Test - $22
pH and Water Hardness, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Aluminum, Chromium, Manganese, Copper, Cadmium, Iron, Zinc, Sodium, Nickel, Magnesium, Boron, Molybdenum, and Silica
- Expanded Water Test - $60
Required for water treatment designs and installations, and used to address common well water problems in Georgia such as corrosion, high levels of iron and manganese, and nitrate from various sources. This test package should be done at least once on wells before using a less inclusive test. This test includes the Basic Water Test, Anions, Soluble Salts, and Alkalinity tests.
- Home Loan Closing - $85 + overnight shipping, optional $55 rush fee
Lead, Nitrate, Nitrite, and Total Coliform/E. coli. These four tests are commonly required for home closings. Ask your lending agency for specific details. This test requires a special test kit with sample instructions available at the Extension office. This test is recommended annually on home wells. Sample must be collected Monday-Wednesday only and shipped overnight to the lab in Athens.
- Total Coliform / E. coli - $36 + overnight shipping
The most common microbiology test checks for the presence of E. coli and total coliform bacteria. This test requires a special test kit with sample instructions available at the Extension office. This test is recommended annually on home wells. Sample must be collected Monday-Wednesday only and shipped overnight to the lab in Athens.
- Fish Ponds (general water quality) - $35
Ponds should be sub-sampled at various depths and positions across the body of water and then combined to create one sample. Requires at least a pint (500mL) sample size. Algae Testing Kits also available for an additional fee.
- Other Water Tests are available upon request.
All water samples MUST be dropped off at the Chatham County Extension Office: 17 Minus Ave, Garden City, GA 31408.
Cash or check are the only acceptable forms of payment. Due to their time sensitive nature, water samples for E. coli tests are only accepted Monday-Wednesday. No water samples of any kind are accepted on Fridays.
Plant Disease Diagnosis
UGA Plant Disease Clinics provide diagnostic services including analysis for plant disease and disorders as well as suggesting appropriate management strategies. These services are available to homeowners, growers, retailers, arborists, golf courses and researchers. All samples must be submitted through a county Extension office.
Collecting the specimen:
- Wilting, yellowing or general declineof foliage often indicates a problem with the roots or lower stems. Send the entire plant (roots, stems and leaves) if practical. Collect plants or plant parts which have early disease symptions - this is the area where healthy green tissue meets diseased tissue. Dig up plants carefully. DO NOT PULL UP to preserve the roots. If whole plants cannot be submitted, images of the plants can be useful.
- Twig and branch blights and cankers: Select specimens which show recent infection. Include healthy tissue connected to diseased tissues. Entirely dead samples cannot be diagnosed.
- Foliage diseases (leaf spots, blights): Select leaves which have early or recent infections. Leaves still attached in groups are better than a few individual leaves. Submitting the entire plant (including the roots) may be necessary.
- Turf: Remove a 6" - 12" square section of turf at the edge of where green healthy tissue meets diseased tissue. Include intact roots with the underlying soil. Wrap in a dry paper towel and seal into a gallon-sized plastic bag.
- Fruit and fleshy plant organs: Diseases of these structures require special attention. Never select a specimen which is exhibiting advanced stages of decay or disease. Select fresh specimens which exhibit early symptoms. Wrap each specimen separately in paper towels.
Preparing the specimen for shipment:
- Fill out a Plant Disease Information Form with your county office for each specimen.
- Supply photographs of the planting site to your county office. Additional information about the plant’s environment is an invaluable diagnostic tool.
- Place diseased specimens in a plastic bag. Do not add any moisture. Place a dry paper towel in the plastic bag to absorb extra moisture.
- If whole plants are shipped, seal root balls in a plastic bag to keep the roots moist and to prevent contamination of the foliage.
- Mushrooms should be wrapped in newspaper and shipped overnight in a box. Avoid using plastic bags.
- Keep all specimens cool. Do not allow specimens to dry out.
UGA plant disease diagnosis tests for homeowners are $15.00 per sample, including shipping. Oversized samples (entire shrubs) may be subject to additonal shipping fees. Cash or check are the only acceptable forms of payment.
Commercial client disease samples are not subject to a testing fee, but oversized samples may be subject to shipping fees.
All plant disease samples MUST be dropped off at the Chatham County Extension Office: 17 Minus Ave, Garden City, GA 31408.