How should a soil sample(s) be taken?
For homeowners to test lawn or garden soils for fertility needs:
- Use a spade or trowel to remove a slice of soil 6 inches deep, or use a soil probe to obtain 6 inch cores.
- Obtain up to 15-20 similar sections or cores from other random places in your garden or lawn. Do not take samples where fertilizer has been spilled or manure has been piled. Do not include debris such as leaves, sticks, or large stones in your sample.
- Put these samples in a plastic pail.
- Mix soil thoroughly in the pail.
- Remove about one pint of the well-mixed soil and dry it at room temperature.
- Place the dried soil in a container and deliver the sample to your local Extension office. Fill out the submission form found there. The results will be available a few days after they arrive at the laboratory at Mississippi State
Farmers, please see these Extension Publications:
The Mississippi State University Extension Service Soil Testing Lab has new equipment that allows it to offer an expanded range of services to clients.
If your lawn, landscape, or garden look a little sickly, it might be time for a soil health checkup. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- When Ann Rice leaves the Mississippi State University Extension Service Soil Testing Laboratory on June 30, she will conclude an educational 35-year career filled with unusual requests and interesting discoveries, some of which were about herself.
"When I didn’t have confidence in myself, others did," Rice said. "I never thought I could be a leader, but sometimes, I have had to step up and take the lead, like in the organic matter and plant tissue divisions."
New manager of operations Keri Jones recently joined the Mississippi State University Extension Service Soil Testing Laboratory, and she's ready to enhance the unit's efficiency."
"My primary goal is to provide accurate soil analysis in a timely manner," said Jones, an Extension associate who has worked in the MSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences since 2016. "I hope to improve the overall efficiency of the lab as well as update soil nutrient application recommendations."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Row crop producers interested in quality soil should sample fields after harvest and apply recommended lime in the fall.
Larry Oldham, a soil fertility specialist and professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said lime is an important component of soil fertility management because it sets the environment in which plants live and grow.