Soil Testing #682665 - Ask Extension

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Soil Testing #682665

Asked March 04, 2021, 1:32 PM EST

What is the best method for a home gardener to get an accurate test of soil pH and nutrients? Are kits accurate or is a lab necessary?

Clackamas County Oregon

Expert Response

Rebecca,

The most precise way to test soil pH and nutrients is to send a soil sample to a professional laboratory. Home test kits offer estimates and, depending upon the kind of test, can be challenging to read the results.

In the metro counties, we suggest A & L Labs because they use the same techniques as are found in Oregon State University publications. Request a general soil test for a home garden (specify lawn, vegetables, etc.). Also request recommendations. The $35 to $40 fee is money well spent. Visit their website for details: A &L Test Laboratory

If you repeat a soil test in every 2 or 3 years, use the same lab as you did originally. The reason? Various laboratories use different procedures for the same test.
Jean R. Natter Replied March 04, 2021, 4:00 PM EST

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