Soil Testing for Home Lawns and Gardens
Soil testing is a useful procedure to determine how much phosphorus and potassium you have in your soil. The test will also report your soil pH and organic matter content. A recommendation for nitrogen application will be given based on the crop specified at the time of sample submission. Lime application directions are provided if necessary (which usually IS NOT necessary in our Rock County soils).
For a soil test to be useful an appropriate sample must be collected and submitted. This means at least 6 cores (or small shovel fulls) from different parts of the same garden area. Mix these together and from that composite submit at least one cup of soil in a clean container or plastic bag.
The results of the basic test are limited to the nutrient, soil pH, and organic matter anaylisis previously mentioned. If you are concerned about heavy metals, pesticide residues, or other issues pertaining to plant health and soil composition you may need to conduct a special test, if that test is available at all.
The links below explains how to properly collect a sample, pricing, and expected results. If you have a concern regarding possible soil contamination, in Rock County please make an appointment with either the Crops and Soils Educator or the Horticulture Educator (staff directory) to discuss your situation.
In Rock County, samples may be submitted to the Rock County UW-Extension office, Rock County Courthouse, Janesville. The cost for home lawn and garden tests is $15 per sample + $5 for postage (check made payable to Rock Co. UWEX).
- Sampling Garden Soils and Turf Areas for Testing
- Sampling Soils for Testing
- Soil Contaminants in Community Gardens
- UW-Soil Testing Laboratory