Soil and Water Testing
We offer soil testing services through the K-State Soil Testing Laboratory. Below (under FAQ's) are detailed 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. Please use the entrance by the flagpole in front of our building, and ring the 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:
- Agriculture Soil Sample Information Sheet
- Vegetable and Fruit Soil Sample Information Sheet
- Lawn and Turf Soil Sample Information Sheet
- Ornamentals Soil Sample Information Sheet
After you have received your results, you may contact one of the local agents listed below if assistance is needed in understanding the results and recommendations.
- Agriculture: Jeff Seiler
- Food Crop Horticulture: Rebecca McMahon
- Ornamental Horticulture and Lawn samples: Matthew McKernan
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. Instructions for collecting a water sample for testing are below, under "FAQ's".
Water samples should be brought to the main reception desk at the Extension office (7001 W. 21st St. N.) where you will complete the paperwork and pay the testing fee. Please use the entrance by the flagpole in front of our building, and ring the doorbell for admittance. We will forward your sample to the K-State Testing Laboratory for processing, which typically takes 4-6 weeks.
Once the results of your water test have been calculated, one of the local agents will provide written recommendations for you based on your results.
How much does a soil or water test cost?
Lawn or Garden Soil Sample (pH, N, P, K, OM)
- $22 for the first sample
- $17 for each additional sample submitted at the same time
Agricultural Soil Samples
- Package #1 (pH, P, K)
- $16.25 for the first sample
- $9.25 for each additional sample submitted at the same time
- Package #2 (#1 plus OM, Zn)
- $22.25 for the first sample
- $15.25 for each additional sample submitted at the same time
- Package #3 (#1, plus Ca, Mg, Na, CEC)
- $19.50 for the first sample
- $12.50 for each additional sample submitted at the same time
- See Agricultural Soil Sample Information Sheet for additional test packages available.
- $15.00 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 for vegetable or flowerbed samples. For turfgrass areas, collect soil samples from the surface to 3" 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, plastic bottle or sealed plastic 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?
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.