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UGA Extension Office

Testing Services

Soil, Water, and Forage Testing Services

SOIL

  • Basic Soil Test (S1) - $10.00
    • Four or more samples are $9.00 each
    • Bags available at office; cost covers shipping.

WATER

  • Basic Water Test (W1) - $24.00
    • Tests for pH, hardness, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, aluminum, chromium, manganese, copper, cadmium, iron, zinc, sodium, nickel, magnesium, boron, molybdenum and silica
    • Sample bottle available at office; cost covers shipping.
    • Expanded Water Test (W2) - $64.00
  • Expanded Water Test (W2) - $64.00
    • Tests the same parameters as the Basic Water Test but also includes chloride, fluoride, nitrate, phosphate, sulfate, soluble salts and alkalinity
    • Sample bottles available at office; cost covers shipping
  • Suspended Solids Test (W21) - $24.00
    • For wells
    • Sample bottles available at office
  • Irrigation Water Chemistry (W33) - $74.00
    • Sample bottles available at office
  • Home Loan Closing (W33B) - $85.00
    • Required for new homes with an existing well
    • Tests for Lead, Nitrate ,Nitrite, Total Coliform /E.Coli
    • Sample bottles available at office.
    • Client is responsible for cost and shipping overnight to lab.
    • Must be shipped to lab Monday - Thursday
  • Fish Pond test (W34C) - $39.00

FORAGE

The basic test includes moisture, neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), crude fiber (estimated), crude protein, lignin, Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN), and Relative Forage Quality (RFQ). 


Common Tips for Soil Sampling

When to soil test?

Soils can be tested any time during the year, although it is typically best to take samples in the fall or winter. This is the time of year when most plants are dormant and the soil is most accessible. If pH adjustments are necessary, it is also the best time to apply amendments, as it can take several months for them to take effect. Lime (to raise pH) and sulfur (to lower pH) react slowly and should be mixed with the soil at least two to three months before planting.

How often do I test my soil?

For intensely cultivated soils including vegetable gardens, an annual soil test is recommended. Otherwise, for lawns and ornamental areas, sampling should be done every two to three years after initially establishing medium to high fertility levels and the appropriate pH.

Steps in soil sampling

Recommendations on when and how to apply nutrients are only as good as the soil sample submitted for analysis. To obtain a representative soil sample, the following steps are useful:

  • Map out the entire property. This will help in record keeping and ensure that the soil sample is representative of the entire area. Divide areas so that each soil sample represents one general plant type. For example, take separate soil samples for vegetable gardens, blueberry bushes, ornamentals, fruit trees, lawns, etc. If you have specific problem spots, sample those areas separately as well.
  • Use clean sampling tools and containers to avoid contaminating the soil sample. Collect samples with any digging tool you have available (hand trowel, shovel, soil probe, etc.).
  • Slightly damp soil is the easiest to work with. Clear the ground surface of grass, thatch or mulch. Push your tool to a depth of 6 inches for cultivated areas or 4 inches for lawn areas. Push the handle forward in the soil to make an opening, then cut a thin slice of soil of uniform thickness from the side of the opening, extending from the top of the ground to the depth of the cut. Repeat this process in a zigzag pattern across your defined area, collecting eight to twelve samples to mix together. For trees, take soil samples from six to eight spots around and below the leaf canopy. Take about a pint (around 2 cups) of the mixed soil (after removing large rocks, mulch, sticks and roots) and fill the UGA soil sample bag. Be sure to label the sample clearly on the bag. If the samples are wet, spread the soil out over clean paper and let them air dry. You also can take your samples to your local Extension office for submission. Once the lab has received your soil, it will take two to three business days to get your report.

 

For more information about when or how to test your soil, visit aesl.ces.uga.edu or call 1-800-ASK-UGA1 to contact your local UGA Extension office.


Small brown paper bags with black lettering on themTesting your soil can lead to higher productivity and a healthier yield for your garden, grass, or lawn.
Various plastic and glass water sample bottlesYour local Extension agent can direct you which water test best fits your needs.
Woman with long blonde hair using a hay probe on round bale of hayEnsure your livestock's nutrient needs are being fulfilled by testing your forage.