How do I get soil and/or irrigation water tested?
Growing healthy lawns, landscapes and produce in Florida can be challenging, with the combination of harsh weather and difficult soil conditions. We can help. Our Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program can help you identify the right plant for the right place and other steps you can take to get growing, and get great advice and information at our myriad events and workshops, at ufsarasotaext.eventbrite.com.
Although healthy plants rely on healthy soil and water, many plant problems can occur in spite of optimal conditions. So, it is important to first determine if a soil or irrigation water test is needed. Because many test results do not provide a comprehensive report on plant health factors—providing information only on the pH, soluble salts and nutrient levels of soil or water—it is best to first eliminate the many other factors which contribute to poor plant health prior to doing a soil or water test. These factors include:
- Too much or too little irrigation,
- Too much or too little light levels (shade), and/or
- Presence of pest and/or disease pressures.
Once other plant health factors are accounted for, soil tests are usually recommended if:
- Plant tissue is chlorotic (yellow),
- Plant vigor is low, and/or
- Fruit set and/or flower production is low.
If it is determined that soil and/or irrigation water test results are needed to improve plant health, we've noted below an array of options available to you. NOTE: Click on the "...view this item..." note beneath a category (below) to expand its content, or view all items in all categories.
NOTE: Water testing measures pH and soluble salt concentations ("salinity") and is intended for irrigation water only. We do not test for drinking/potable water standards.
UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County Office (Sarasota)
- Tests available: We currently test for pH and soluble salt concentrations (i.e., "salinity")
- Cost: $5 per sample
- Payment: We accept payment online with credit card (soil tests and water tests) or in-person via cash, check or credit card.
- Timeline: Results can be expected approximately two weeks after we receive your samples (note that this timeline reflects the current pandemic-related staffing limitations)
- Sample collection: Gather/prepare soil samples per instructions outlined at our Sarasota County Extension soil/water test submission form. Use clean containers to collect irrigation water samples
- Sample delivery: Print and complete our Sarasota County Extension soil/water test submission form, and drop it and your pre-paid soil/water sample(s) at our Twin Lakes Park office during business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday)
- Miscellaneous: If you would like to talk to a staff member, visit our Twin Lakes Park office during business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday). We recommend calling 941-861-9900 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org in advance to verity that the appropriate staff member(s) will be available (view our online staff directory).
UF/IFAS Extension Soil Testing Lab (Gainesville)
- The Extension Soil Testing Lab (ESTL) provides an array of possible analyses, for differing purposes, such as landscape and vegetable gardening, citrus production, plant tissue and more. Visit the lab's "Tests" page and choose the type of test for your needs.
- Click/select a test heading to see category-related documents, including an information sheet and a submission form.
- Download and complete the appropriate submission form, making sure to calculate total cost ($2 and up by analysis requested, per sample) using the form.
- Sample collection: Gather/prepare soil samples per ESTL documentation.
- Sample delivery: Samples must be mailed to the testing lab in Gainesville, per ESTL documentation. Mailing/shipment is the responsibility of the individual.
- Payment: By check or credit card only
- Timeline: Results generally emailed 2-3 business days after the lab receives the sample(s) you mail in
- Miscellaneous: ESTL Tests web page
Private soil/irrigation water testing labs
- Soilkits. Through a University of Florida partnership with AgriTech Corp., Florida homeowners, landscapers and municipalities now have easy access to UF/IFAS-backed, science-based, turfgrass nutrition guidelines. The UF/IFAS-branded SoilKit will deliver easy-to-understand results tailored to the user’s lawn and landscape needs. Learn more at turf.ifas.ufl.edu/soilkit.
- There are many private laboratories in Florida, which you can find by typing “soil testing laboratory near me” or "irrigation water testing laboratory near me" into any web search engine (e.g., Google, Yahoo, Bing). Services, prices, timelines and other details will vary.