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Proper Soil Sampling Techniques

Proper soil sampling technique for soil sample collection and submission
(Results are only as good as the soil sample submitted.)

Anyone can submit a sample(s) for testing. The University of Florida IFAS Extension Soil Testing Laboratory tests soil samples for pH, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and copper, etc. The Volusia County soil test can only analyze soil pH and soluble salts. For acreage in excess of 10 acres, we recommend sending the samples to the University of Florida IFAS Soil Testing Laboratory for a more complete analysis. For areas less than 10 acres, one can submit samples to the Volusia Soil lab.

Before sampling

  • Develop a soil sampling plan of your field. Samples should represent the area being tested, so collect samples from areas that are of the same soil type, appearance, or cropping history. Sample problem areas separately, if needed. From this plan, count the number of samples you will collect.

  • Soil sample bags and addressed shipping boxes are available from your county Extension office if you are using the IFAS Extension Soil Testing Laboratory. Obtain the materials you need to complete your sampling plan.

Collecting samples

  • Collect soil from 20 or more spots within each area; mix these samples in a clean plastic bucket.

  • Sample from soil surface to depth of tillage, usually 0 to 6 inches. For pastures, sample from 0 to 4 inch depth.

  • Spread the collected material on clean paper or other suitable material to air dry. Do not send wet samples.

  • Mix the dry soil, and placed about one pint of soil in a labeled sample bag.

Sending samples to the Extension Soil Testing Laboratory

  • Enter each sample’s identification on its sample bag and in the “Soil Sample identification” column. List each sample separately.

  • Lime and fertilizer recommendations are provided only if the crop code(s) is listed.

  • Include the analysis code for each desired test.

  • Enter costs form the Analysis Cost list found on page 3 of this form.

  • Sum the costs of all samples and analyses. Make check or money order payable to: IFAS Extension Soil Testing Laboratory.

  • Include the completed Producer Soil Test Information Sheet and the check or money order in the shipping box with the samples(s). The form is available at:

Test result

A soil test report will be mailed to you within five to 10 days after your sample arrives at the Extension Soil Testing Laboratory. Contact your county Extension office if you have questions concerning the Soil Test Report

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