Soil testing is important in that it can reveal pH and fertility issues in pastures, fields, and garden areas. The UF/IFAS Extension Baker County Office provides soil sampling kits which allow you to mail your soil sample directly to the University of Florida's Soil Testing Laboratory for analysis.
Collecting a representative sample of the area is the most important step in the entire process. Do not take a sample from an unusual spot as the results may come back skewed and not be indicative of the area that was tested.
To collect a soil sample, use a shovel or a trowel. Obtain a small amount of soil from 10 to 15 different spots over the area that you wish to test. Lawn samples should be tested from the upper 2 to 4 inches of soil, while garden or landscape areas should be tested from the upper 6 inches of soil. Make sure to exclude any root or other plant debris as this may adversely influence the results. Mix all of the core samples together to make one representative sample.
Once the samples have been collected, air dry the soil on newspaper in the sun for a couple of hours before placing in the sample bag. Make sure to complete the information sheet, including your name, address, crop codes, and area designations. Place all of the materials in the provided box (including payment), and mail to the soil lab in Gainesville. A computer generated analysis should be mailed to you within approximately 2 weeks.
A routine soil test will check the pH, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium levels in the soil and costs $7.00. The soil testing forms can be found on the Extension Soil Testing Laboratory website (see sidebar).
Once you have received your results, if you have questions, please contact the UF/IFAS Extension Baker County Office to set up an appointment with the Agriculture or Horticulture Agent.
Additional Information & Resources
How to Take a Soil Sample (Video)
UF/IFAS Extension Baker County
1025 W. Macclenny Ave.
Macclenny, FL 32063