Swift Horticultural Consulting
You need the answers to the following items to realize the full potential of a soil test:
The soil testing laboratory needs about one pint of soil. If the soil being tested is similar throughout the field or lawn take multiple samples from the area and mix them together for a composite sample. If the soil appears or feels different in different parts of the field you should submit a separate sample for each soil type. If testing the soil around a tree, collect samples from the area half way between the trunk and the furthest reach of the branches and all the way around the circumference of the tree.
Air-dry the soil before sending it to the lab for analysis. Do NOT dry the sample on a newspaper or other surface where compounds can leach from the surface into the soil. I use a plastic shoe box to dry the samples I mail to the lab. After the sample is dry, package it up in a plastic zip-lock bag. Keep the sample out of the sun after you have sealed the sample in the bag.
I work with Ward Laboratories, Inc. in Kearney Nebraska (http://www.WardLab.com. Their analytical fees are reasonable and they are quick and accurate. Their S-4 Routine analysis provides the information I need to provide quality recommendations. Use the sample submittal sheet at http://www.wardlab.com/images/SampleForms/SoilSampleInformationSheetWithoutRecommendations.pdf . Make a note on the form to have them email the results to Curtis.Swift@alumni.colostate.edu. Make sure your name, address, and email address is on the form. Please send me an email to let me know you have sent a sample to the lab so I will expect it.
Mail the dried sample(s), sample sheet, and payment of $19.25 per sample to:
Ward Laboratories, Inc.