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Sedgwick County

Sedgwick County
7001 W. 21st Street N.
Wichita, KS  67205
Map & Location

Office Hours:
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Monday - Friday


Fertilizing and Soil Testing

Maintaining a healthy soil is key to growing healthy plants. Keys to a healthy soil include: incorporating organic matter (such as compost) regularly, improving aeration and decreasing compaction, and maintaining ideal soil pH and nutrient levels. Maintaining soil pH and nutrient levels requires a regular soil nutrient test. We recommend that you test your soil every 3-5 years.

We offer soil testing services through the K-State Soil Testing Laboratory. Click here for instructions for collecting a soil sample.  Once you have collected your sample, bring it to the main reception desk at the Extension Office (7001 W. 21st St. N.) to complete your paperwork and pay the testing fee ($23 for the first sample, and $20 for each additional sample submitted at the same time). Please use the entrance by the flagpole in front of our building, and ring doorbell for admittance. 

We will forward your soil sample to the K-State Soil Testing Laboratory for processing.  Results will take 4-6 weeks to be returned to you, and will include personalized written recommendations of what you need to do to improve your soil pH and nutrient levels.  

Please use the following Information Sheets when submitting your samples (these forms are also available in our office): 

After you have received your results, you may contact one of the local agents if assistance is needed in understanding the results and recommendations.


Can I apply gypsum to help with my tight clay soil?

Gypsum does not help with compaction or otherwise "loosening up" a heavy clay soil. Large amounts of gypsum and high quality irrigation water will help improve the soil structure in a clay soil that has been contaminated with sodium, but that is not the case for the vast majority of our clay soils. The best way to improve a heavy clay soil is by regularly applying or incorporating organic matter and practicing core aeration in lawn areas.

Can I add sand to my clay soil to help improve the texture?

No! Adding sand to a clay soil can be very detrimental. It will usually result in a soil that is even harder and more like concrete than a looser, sandy soil. The best way to improve a clay soil is by adding organic matter.

What can I do to help my soil drain better?

The best ways to improve soil and landscape drainage are:

  • Incorporate organic matter
  • Use berms and raised beds
  • Install swales or drains to help water move away from your yard

When should I fertilize my .....?

Different plants should be fertilized at different times of the year and at different rates. Here are several publications that will help you determine correct fertilization times and rates.

Contact Information

Have Questions? Contact:

Sedgwick County 
7001 W. 21st St. North
Wichita KS 67205-1759
(316) 660-0144

Garden Hotline
(316) 660-0190
9 am - Noon
1 pm - 4 pm

Abbey Draut
Food Crops Horticulture Agent
(316) 660-0142

Matt McKernan
Ornamental Horticulture Agent
(316) 660-0140

Debra Harries
Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator
(316) 660-0138