How Much Does Soil Testing Cost?
Soil testing is a process done to test the soil in your yard or garden for specific nutrients. The results of this test will tell you which nutrients your soil has and which one it needs. When it comes to home gardening, soil is the first and most important aspect of success. It is relatively important to check the nature of the land before you plant, and soil testing can help you do this. The results of the soil test can give you information on what types of fertilizer you should use. It will also be able to tell you what types of plants will flourish in your garden and which types will have trouble growing. To perform a soil test, you can either get the help of a professional to evaluate the land to be planted, or you can buy a soil testing kit for a quick and easy do it yourself soil test.
How much does it cost?
- On average, depending on what kind of test that you want to have, the costs of a soil test are going to be anywhere from as little as $5 to as much as $20 per sample. With most labs, you will have to ship in the dirt and wait up to six weeks for detailed results.
- To test the soil’s pH, plan on spending $2 to $5.
- Checking the nitrogen levels can cost $7 to $14.
- Looking for organic matter can cost $3 to $7.
- Carbon levels can cost $10 to $18.
- A soluble salt test can cost $3 to $6.
- Packaged samples that include more than one soil test can cost $20 to as much as $125.
- For instance, on Amazon, soil testing kits retail for $6 to as much as $28.
- Lanfax Laboratories shares their price list for soil testing. Sampling preparation including air drying and sieving costs $22. Test of moisture content for grave metric costs $22. The test for chloride and its ion chromatography costs $33. Checking for organic carbon and its W&B wet oxidation costs $44.
- WHHY.org also has a listing of soil testing kits in various states. In Delaware, for example, Small Wonder has a basic soil testing kit for $7.50. At University of Maryland, you could get your soil checked for $8.
What is going to be included?
- The soil testing will determine the pH value of the soil. It will also monitor the existing soil levels of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium and zinc.
- In addition, it checks the percentage of organic matter that the soil contains. Checking organic matter determines the health of soil.
What are the extra costs?
- If you want to check to see if your soil has lead contamination, it may cost an additional $5 to $10.
- Other professionals do not include testing for organic matter present in their soil testing kit. You will have to pay an additional amount to get such test.
- You may also need to buy a stainless steel or plastic towel. If you do not have that kind of material, any non-reactive metal object that scoops soil works fine. The reason this is important is that if the tool you use has any type of residue on it, this can affect the results of the test.
- To ship the soil off to a lab, shipping fees can apply.
- If it is found that your soil is low on nutrients that are necessary for plant growth, you will need to buy fertilizer to being up the levels of each one.
Factors that influence the price:
- State. State’s services vary differently. Soil testing can come down to your geographical location. This reason for this is that the soil can differ greatly in different parts of the country. It can even differ in different parts of the same state.
- Tests. A series of sample tests are conducted. However, not all soil testing kits are alike. Almost all of them will contain the basics, but extra testing will require extra payment.
Tips to know:
- Make it a point to mention if you have access to ashes from a wooden stove or fireplace and compost.
- Because the results can take up to 6 weeks to process, make sure you do the testing early in the season. If you wait too long, you will not get your results in time for planting.
Questions to ask:
- What are the tests included?
- How many samples does it take for me to get a discount?
- How long does it take to get the result?
How can I save money?
- Get a low cost soil testing kit from your county if they offer one.
- Discounts are often offered to commercial and residential customers when 10 or more samples are ordered. Discounts apply if you wish for a large number of samples to be tested.
- If you want to have everything tested in your soil, consider getting a package that includes everything. This is going to be cheaper than paying for each individual test.
- If you only do gardening as a hobby, it may not be necessary to pay for something like soil testing.