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Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory

Why Test Soil?

Here are five good reasons!

  • Nutrient levels - Test results provide you with soil nutrient levels and fertilizer recommendations when needed.
  • Soil Acidity - Soil pH and exchangeable acidity are measured for the determination of lime requirements.
  • Environmental Protection - Test results identify areas with excess nutrients that can pollute local waterways.
  • Economics - You buy soil amendments only when needed, avoiding unnecessary spending.
  • Health - Soil testing can help protect you and your family by alerting you to elevated levels of lead or other toxic heavy metals.

Soil tests do not identify plant growth problems associated with soil drainage, insects, plant diseases (whether soil-borne or not), weeds, winter injury or the misuse of pesticides.

 

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Key Ordering Facts

We are operating with with reduced staffing and therefore are not performing all of our usual analyses at this time.

What we can analyze:

We are currently accepting new orders for ROUTINE SOIL ANALYSIS (including optional Organic Matter, Soluble Salts, and Nitrate testing), PARTICLE SIZE ANALYSIS, PRE-SIDEDRESS NITRATE (PSNT), and SOILLESS MEDIA orders ONLY. Please do not send orders for other types of analyses at this time. 

How we can receive samples: 

Mail. Most samples are mailed by USPS or other private carrier. All samples must be labeled and all orders must include a completed form listing all samples and full payment. Please see the order forms and sampling instructions at our Ordering Information and Forms page.

Drop-off. We are once again able to accept hand-delivered orders for analysis, but not inside the building. Orders must be dropped - no more than 6 samples per order - in the new Drop Box on the outside of Paige Laboratory's ground floor (Google Map Directions). As with mailed samples, all Drop Box samples must be labeled and all orders must include a completed form listing each sample, and full payment. Please see the order forms and sampling instructions at our Ordering Information and Forms page. It is best to prepare your order before bringing it to campus, but forms and pens are available above the Drop Box if needed. Please note that the Drop Box cannot handle large packages, so it is necesary to limit to six samples per order, limit sample size to what is required for your analysis, and package in the least bulky way you can.

Large Order Drop-Off. If you have 30 or more samples that you would like to bring in, email kyarrows@umext.umass.edu to arrange a contactless drop-off of your order during business hours.

Campus Orders. UMass Amherst departmental orders may be delivered to the lab via Campus Mail orby hand to Paige Lab with advance email confirmation of delivery instructions with kyarrows@umext.umass.edu.

When you can expect results:

Updates on our turn-around time, including any anticipated variance from our target of 6-10 business days from our receipt in the lab, will be posted here. Unless your test results are long overdue, please check this link periodically for updates rather than contacting the lab, as responding to inquiries leaves less time for processing samples.

Get a Soil Test!