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Soil Testing 

Are you planning a new yard or garden, or do you suspect that your soil may be causing poor plant growth? Consider having your soil analyzed by the RCRCD.  Soil tests may reveal chemical problems that are invisible to the eye, but that are negatively impacting the vegetation.

The RCRCD provides low-cost soil  testing for private landowners and homeowners. Once testing is complete, results will be provided in a soil report as well as any recommendations for soil amendments,

Due to staffing shortages, tests are taking up to three weeks to complete.  Sorry for any inconvience this may cause and thank you for your patience.

Basic soil test:

photo of soil testing equipment
  • Nitrate-Nitrogen (NO3-)
  • Nitrite Nitogen (NO2-)
  • Phosphorus (P)
  • Potassium (K)
  • pH
  • Salinity (EC)
  • Soil texture

Additional soil tests:

  • Humus
  • Ammonia Nitrogen (NH4 )
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Chloride
  • Aluminum
  • Calcium
  • Ferric iron
  • sulfate

Costs

In District

Basic Soil Test: $20

Additional Tests (soil or water): $5 each

Cash or Check only

Out of District

Basic Soil Test: $50

Additional Tests (soil or water): $10 each

Cash or Check only

May contain: Map of the RCRCD boundaries.

Rush Orders

Ten working days are required to complete tests and write the report. There is an additional charge of $10.00 for results needed sooner for samples taken within the District, and an additional charge of $25 for samples outside of the District.

Collection Techniques

Soil

two people examining soil outside

For accurate soil testing, collect a sample that is representative of the entire growing area. Avoid sampling unusual areas such as bare or wet areas, near compost piles or other impacted areas. Collect soil from several locations in the growing area and combine the samples. Chemicals from your skin or dirty containers may alter test results. Use rubber gloves or plastic bags over your hands, and residue-free plastic or glass containers to collect and mix soil. Use a shovel, trowel or probe to collect soil samples.

For each area to be tested:

  1. Clear 4 to 10 small sampling areas; remove plants, rocks, plant debris.
  2. Dig a small hole in each cleared area using a shovel or trowel. Depth of hole: 4" for turf, 12" for trees/large shrubs at or within drip line, 6" for flower beds, shrubs, vegetables.
  3. Cut a ½-inch thick vertical slice from the surface to the bottom of the hole. From each shovel slice of soil, cut a 1-inch wide vertical core. When using a cylindrical tool, such as a soil probe or hollow curtain rod, simply take a 1-inch core from the surface down.
  4. Place the samples together in a clean plastic pan or bag. Thoroughly mix together the samples from the area, breaking up clods and removing rocks, roots, leaves, sticks and plant debris. Place at least one cup of the mixture into a plastic bag or non-metal container. If the soil is too wet to mix, spread it to air-dry first.
  5. Label each combined sample with name, date, and area, such as vegetable garden, side lawn, fruit trees.
  6. Please provide information about special problems of the area, depth of sample, and the plants that grow, or are planned for the area.

For further information please contact Kerwin Russell at russell@rcrcd.org

Additonal Resources:

Determining Soil Type and Proper Irrigation.pdf