Soil and Water Testing
We offer soil testing services through the K-State Soil Testing Laboratory. You can bring your soil samples to our main reception desk during business hours to complete the paperwork, pay the fee, and have your sample submitted to the lab. Your results will typically be available in 2-3 weeks and will include written recommendations of what you need to do to improve your soil pH and nutrient levels.
Water testing is also done through the K-State Soil Testing Laboratory. We only test water for irrigation quality, NOT for bacteria or drinking water quality. An irrigation water quality test shows the level of soluble salts (salinity) and sodium in your water that may cause problems for your plants. You can bring your water samples to our main reception desk during business hours to complete the paperwork, pay the fee, and have your sample submitted to the lab. Your results will typically be available in 2-3 weeks and will include written recommendations of whether or not you can use your well water for irrigation safely.
How much does a soil or water test cost?
Lawn or Garden Soil Sample (pH, N, P, K, OM)
- $20 for the first sample
- $15 for each additional sample submitted at the same time
Agricultural Soil Samples
- Package #1 (pH, P, K)
- $14.75 for the first sample
- $9.75 for each additional sample submitted at the same time
- Package #2 (#1 plus OM, Zn)
- $19.75 for the first sample
- $14.75 for each additional sample submitted at the same time
- Environmental (#1 plus Zn, Cu, surface and subsoil nitrate and Cl)
- $29.00 for the first sample
- $24.00 for each additional sample submitted at the same time
- Salt Alkali
- #1 + CEC
Water Sample - $12.50 per sample
How do I submit a garden or yard soil sample for testing?
K-State requires about 2 cups of soil for a soil test. It is important to collect your soil correctly to get good results.
- Identify the area that you want to test. Each unique garden or area of your yard should be tested separately for best results. Problem areas should be tested separately.
- Collect 8-12 plugs of soil randomly throughout the area that you want to test. These plugs of soil should each include the soil from the surface to 6" deep.
- Mix all of the soil together in a bucket and then put 2 cups into a plastic bag or other container.
- Label the bag or container for each part of your yard or garden clearly so that you can match up the recommendations if you are having multiple tests done.
- If the soil is wet, allow it to air dry overnight or for a day or two.
- Bring your sample(s) to the main reception desk at the Extension office to complete your paperwork and pay the testing fee.
How do I submit a water sample for testing?
- Use a clean container.
- Let the water run for long enough to remove any water left in the pipes.
- Collect about 1 pint of water.
- Label the container clearly.
- Bring your sample to the main reception desk at the Extension office to complete your paperwork and pay the testing fee.
How do I submit an agricultural field or pasture soil sample for testing?
What you will need: soil probe or spade (probes can be checked out from extension office), bucket, resealable plastic bag, container, or soil sample bag
- Identify areas you would like to sample. Problem or noticeably different areas should be sampled separately.
- Collect 10 to 12 plugs of soil from a uniform area that you are wanting to test. Take surface samples to a depth of 6 inches. If Nitrate, Sulfur or Chloride are to be tested a profile sample will be needed. A profile sample should be taken to a depth of 24 inches. If a surface nitrate reading is desired, the 0-6 inch plug will need to be kept separate from the 6-24 inch plug.
- Mix all of the soil plugs together in a bucket and then put 2 cups of soil into a labeled plastic bag or other container.
- If soil is damp or wet, allow it to air dry overnight or for a day or two.
- Bring sample(s) to the extension office front reception desk and pay for desired test.
What tests are included in a typical soil test?
Lawn and Garden: pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, organic matter
Agricultural: pH, phosphorus, potassium
What additional soil tests are available? How much do they cost?
Other nutrients and tests that can be run include: calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), cation exchange capacity (CEC), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), ammonium (NH4), sulfate (SO4), chloride (Cl), aluminum (Al), texture, soluble salts, and salt alkali.
The lab can also test for heavy metal contamination: lead (Pb), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), and chromium (Cr). If you are interested in heavy metal testing, the soil sampling procedure is slightly different. You should collect soil from only the area that you are most concerned about the heavy metal levels.
Additional fees apply for each additional test selected.