Landscape Soil Samples

Soil Samples From the Landscape Area
  • Avoid taking the soil sample with old rusty tools and make sure you place the sample in a non-metal container.
  • If you have a problem area in your yard or garden where you think there might be a different type of soil or a fertilizer problem, you might want to have more than one sample tested. Remember, it will cost you for each soil sample that is tested, and unless you have a problem area or are going to be fertilizing different areas with different rates of fertilizer, an overall sample of an area is all that is usually needed.
  • Make sure you list the types of plants that you are planning on growing in the soil on the soil sample information sheet. (I.e., vegetables, shrubs, lawn, etc.) We need this information so we can make the proper fertilizer recommendation. We waste valuable time trying to contact you to find out what you will be growing if this is not put on the information sheet.
  • Take several random samples from the area you are testing. If it is a Garden Area: You should take about six samples scattered over the garden area. These are then all mixed together to form a combined sample. The final sample is then taken from this mix. Lawn Area: You should take several samples from all parts of the front and back yard and then mix them together as recommended for gardens. Woody Plants: Because the root system on a tree can extend out to twice or more the distance of the spread of the branches, take your lawn samples from the drip line area or slightly beyond and then mix these to get the final sample.
  • Take the soil sample from the area of the soil where the roots of the plant will be growing. In the case of gardens, lawns, and trees, this will be to a depth of 12". If this is not possible, then sample at least a 6" depth.
  • The soil test will take from two to three weeks or more depending on the time of year. You will receive the soil test report and a bill from the lab. An interpretation of the results is available by the local Cooperative Extension agent.
  • The soil testing lab cannot test for pesticide contamination, which might be in the soil. You will have to contact an independent lab to have these tests done. Colorado State University does have a plant disease diagnostic clinic. It is open from about April to September.
  • The soil-testing lab will need about one pint of air-dried soil. If the soil is moist, the nitrogen level of the soil can change from the time you take it from the yard until it is tested. Air-dry the sample if it is moist. Don't dry it in the oven. After drying, place the sample in a plastic resealable bag or a regular soil sample bag that can be obtained from the soil testing lab or your local Cooperative Extension Office.