UGA Extension Office

Soil Testing


  •  To know how much lime and fertilizer your soil needs for the best growth of your lawn, garden, landscape, wildlife food plot, or other plants
  •  To prevent from applying too much or not enough amendments to your growing area
    • Too much will waste your money and can damage the environment by running off into local water sources
    • Not enough can result in poor growth and can leave soils bare causing erosion

Determining the fertility level of a soil through a soil test is the first step in planning a sound lime and fertilizer program. Most Georgia soils are low in pH and/or one or more of the essential plant nutrients. Therefore, to maintain normal plant growth, lime and fertilizer must be applied in sufficient quality to meet the crop requirement. A SOIL TEST is the best means available to determine this requirement. Soil tests provide information on the soil's actual nutrient status and are used to determine the amount and kind of nutrients that should be added to the soil for the specifically desired crop.

Routine Soil (S1) tests are $10.00 per sample, this includes shipping. Other soil testing is also available, please contact the Union County Extension office for more information on other Soil test analyses and fees.

Routine Soil (S1) testing includes the following:

  • pH
  • Lime Requirement
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Manganese

At least 2 cups of soil are needed per soil sample to be tested. This is approximately a Ziplock sandwich bag full. The lab cannot process samples that are less than 2 cups. Be sure to pull the soil sample from several spots at random to get a good representative sample. Please follow the procedures for collecting soil samples below.

Soil Testing the Easy Way for instructions on taking a soil sample.

Note: Soil sample bags are provided to farmers and homeowners free of charge and can be picked up at the Extension office. Samples are processed and sent out on Fridays or Mondays. It takes 7-10 business days from the time the lab receives the sample for results to be made available. During the holiday season there are times when the lab is closed resulting in longer than usual turnaround for results. Results are either emailed or mailed. We are open Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00 and close 12:00-1:00 for lunch.


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