A Quick Reference For How To Take A Soil Test

by Marissa Caminiti, UMaine Extension Administrative Specialist, Cumberland County

 

What does a soil test from the Cooperative Extension do?

A soil test will tell you:
-Nutrient levels in your soil
– Soil pH levels
– Presence of lead contamination, if any

Why should I test my soil?

A soil test will help you to optimize your garden or lawn by providing the information you need to make
your soil healthy for a given crop. Test results also provide recommendations for amendments.

When do I take a soil test?

Soil can be tested any time of year when the ground is not frozen. However, the results of your soil test are
intended to provide recommendations for the following growing season. If you are testing your soil to grow
a garden, then it is most useful to test soil in very early spring, immediately after thaw, or fall in order to
allow time before the growing season begins. You can expect to receive test results in 2-4 weeks.

How do I take a soil test?

We supply soil test kits for free. They come with an order form, instructions, and a collapsible cardboard
box to put your soil sample in. Be sure to read the instruction form carefully. Choose your “analytical
service” and a 3-digit crop code so that you will receive the specific recommendations for your desired
crop.

Where do I get a soil test?

There are 3 ways to get a soil test:

1. Visit our office at: 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth, ME 04105
2. Call our office at 207-781-6099 to request it in the mail
3. Use our online form to order a soil test

How do I mail a soil test?

Mail soil tests to our soil lab in Orono:
Maine Soil Testing Service
5722 Deering Hall
Orono, ME 04469-5722

Include payment for the amount listed for the service(s) you have chosen. In most cases the
standard test, $18 is sufficient for the Home Gardener.

What if I don’t understand my soil test results?

When you receive your soil test results, you can call our office 207-781-6099 for assistance with interpreting your results and recommendations.

Additional resources FMI:
Bulletin #2286 Testing Your Soil
What We Don’t Do (And Who Does It) – (Pesticide and herbicide testing, drinking water, oil and gas, etc.)
Soil Test FAQ’s