A service of Spectrum Analytic Inc

Lawn & Garden

The Lawn & Garden Analysis (also called the Turf and Ornamental Soil Analysis) measures the nutrient levels in a sample of soil and determines its suitability for growing turf grasses, ornamental plants, or small gardens. Sending your samples to us is easy, and you will get your results in only a few days. Here are the basic steps for having your soil analyzed:

Sample analysis takes approximately two days from reciept of the sample. Your analysis results will be emailed (if provides) or returned to you via the USPS.

Sample Requirements

Lawn & Garden Soil Information Form

Material Required

Acceptable Sample Packaging

Paperwork Required

Ship To

Standard Packages

Samples are analyzed with one of our standard packages. They are listed here with the contents of each package shown in the table below.

pH1:1 Water
Buffer pHSMP
Organic MatterLOI
Prosphorus (P)Mehlich-3
Potassium (K)Mehlich-3
Calcium (Ca)Mehlich-3
Magnesium (Mg)Mehlich-3
K Saturation
Ca Saturation
Mg Saturation
Copper (Cu)Mehlich-3
Iron (Fe)Mehlich-3
Manganese (Mn)Mehlich-3
Zinc (Zn)Mehlich-3
Sodium (Na)Mehlich-3
Soluble Salts
Nitrate Nitrogen (NO3-N)
Price$ 25$ 30$ 50

Additional Analyses

Extra individual analyses are also available. If an analysis you require is not listed, contact the lab for assistance.

Sampling Instructions

Accurate soil analysis with meaningful interpretation requires properly taken samples. Follow all directions carefully and correctly. Sampling technique presents the greatest chance for errors in results. Laboratory analytic work will not improve the accuracy of a sample that does not represent the area.

  1. Select the Proper Equipment

    Collect samples using chrome plated or stainless steel sampling tubes or augers. A clean spade or shovel can also be used. Avoid galvanized, bronze or brass tools. Use clean, plastic buckets. Do not use galvanized or rubber buckets, as they will contaminate the samples. (Figure 1)

  2. When to Take Samples

    Sampling can take place during any period of the year. However, it is best to sample a field at about the same time of year. Wait a minimum of thirty days to sample after applications of fertilizer, lime, or sulfur.

  3. Sample Area

    Samples must be representative of the area you are treating. Most often, sampling by soil color is an acceptable method for dividing large fields into “like” areas. County ASCS aerial photographs can be used as a guide. Areas that differ in slope, drainage, past treatment, etc. should be sampled separately (fig. 2). Sampling across dissimilar soil types is not recommended. And finally, the sample area should be large enough for special lime or fertilizer treatments.

    Always remember to remove any surface debris prior to sampling.

    Do Not Sample:

    • Dead or back furrows.
    • Fence rows, old or new.
    • Old roadbeds, or near limestone gravel roads.
    • Terrace channels.
    • Wind breaks or snow fence lines.
    • Turn-rows.
    • Spill areas.
    • Fertilizer bands including Anhydrous N.
    • Unusual or abnormal spots.
  4. Sample Depth

    Sample TypeDepthNotes
    Conventional Tillage7” Sampling depth must remain constant.
    Strip/Band Fertilization (known) 7” See Figure 4 for instructions.
    Strip/Band Fertilization (unknown) 7” Take 20+ random samples 90° to band rows.
    Reduced Tillage or No-Till 2” and 7” 2” sample is for surface pH determinations.
    Orchards and other trees 7” Take samples inside the “drip line” (Figure 3)
    Lawn/Turf 4” Remove the sod piece from each core sample.
    Pasture 4” Remove the sod piece from each core sample.
    Special Problem Solving 7” and 36” Take 7” sample and 36” sample from the “same hole”
    Pre Sidedress Nitrogen Test 12” Take samples when corn is 10” to 12 “ tall.
    Soil Nitrogen Tests 12” to 36” Drier climate soils require the taking of deeper samples.
    Soybean Cyst Nematode Samples 7” Sample near planted row, in fringe of damaged areas.

    Sampling depth must remain consistent because many soils are stratified and variation in depth will introduce errors into the analytic results.

    To test for soil stratification, sample through the soil profile, separately, 0” to 2”, 2” to 4”, 4” to 6”, and 6” to 8”. Remember to take the recommended number of cores per sample. The greater the difference in the analytic data between samples, the greater the degree of stratification.

  5. Number of Cores and Acres per Sample

    Various studies have shown that proper sampling requires at least 10 core per sample, and sometimes 15 or more cores, depending on the nature of the soil and the size of the area being sampled. A smaller number can introduce variability into the results from different sampling years. There is no rule for the number of acres to include in a single sample. This must depend on the local situation. However, the University of Illinois has long recommended that a single sample should represent no more than 5 acres. Very small sampling areas, such as residential landscape plants and some small gardens may use fewer cores per sample.

  6. Preparing Samples for Shipment

    Thoroughly mix the randomly taken core samples in a plastic bucket and remove a separate, well-mixed composite sample (½ to 1 pint) from the mixture. Place it into the lab’s sample bag, filling it to the “line.” New plastic sandwich bags can be substituted. Make sure to double bag these types of bags. All samples taken for Nitrogen analyses should be immediately air-dried, shipped early in the week, or shipped frozen.

    Once the sample is in the bag, fold the top down to exclude air and roll it down to close and fold the tabs. Write your sample ID designation (include grid sub sample identification where applicable) and your customer’s name on the bag where requested.

  7. Completing the Information Form

    On the Information Form record the same sample, and sub-sample IDs, and the customer name with the address. In the indicated area include your business name and address. Complete all the remaining information as required.

  8. Mailing the Sample

    Spectrum provides the shipping containers (at a nominal fee) but other boxes may be used. A strong envelope may be used when shipping only a few samples.

    Ship to:

    Spectrum Analytic
    1087 Jamison Rd NW
    Washington Court House, OH 43160