Soil Analysis

Soil is the foundation of agriculture. Soil type, texture, and nutrient availability are key components to crop production. Healthy, fertile soils produce thriving crops while poor, infertile soils require amendments to sustain production. Knowing your soil’s nutrient content can help you make informed management decisions, such as correct water and fertilizer application rates, helping you save money and protect water quality. Soils should be tested annually. More frequent testing may be necessary for areas that are intensely farmed or for troublesome soils.

Soil is the foundation of agriculture. Soil type, texture, and nutrient availability are key components to crop production. Healthy, fertile soils produce thriving crops while poor, infertile soils require amendments to sustain production. Knowing your soil’s nutrient content can help you make informed management decisions, such as correct water and fertilizer application rates, helping you save money and protect water quality. Soils should be tested annually. More frequent testing may be necessary for areas that are intensely farmed or for troublesome soils.

IV g ii Soil Analysis Parameters

The District provides basic soil analysis for a nominal fee. If you are interested in having your soil tested, please complete the Soil Sample Information Sheet and bring it to our office along with your soil sample. We can only test soil that was collected within our District boundary. For additional information on soil analysis, please contact our office at 760-728-1332.

IV g ii Soil Analysis Costs

Sample Collection Instructions:

 Soil samples should be taken from the root zone of the plants being grown.

  • The root zone for turf grass extends approximately 3 to 4 inches below the soil surface.
  • The root zone for most garden crops ranges from 4 to 18 inches below the soil surface.
  • The root zone for tree crops ranges from 6 to 36 inches below soil surface.

 Depending on the size of the area to be sampled, take 15 to 20 sub-samples and mix them together in a clean container to form one composite sample. Small gardens typically only require one composite sample, while large groves could require up to 15 composite samples.

 Care should be taken to avoid samples from abnormal areas such as:

  • Near dirt roads
  • Near fence rows
  • Near fertilizer spills
  • Near contaminated areas

If soil testing is being used to diagnose possible problems, be sure to take a composite soil sample in an area that does not have a problem to be used as a comparison.

Collection Procedures:

  1. Use a clean soil probe, shovel or trowel to obtain your samples.
  2. Scrape away surface litter at each sample location.
  3. Collect about 15-20 sub-samples of soil for each composite sample. Sub-samples should be representative of the entire crop root zone (0” to 18” for example), or just a portion of the root zone (0” to 12”, 12” to 18”, etc.). Use a clean bucket to mix your composite sample. Keep all sample sizes proportionate.
  4. Do not touch the sampled soil with your hands any more than necessary.
  5. Place the sample on a clean piece of plastic or paper to dry. The soil should be allowed to air dry in an area free of dust and wind. Do not bake the soil to accelerate drying.
  6. Place the sample in a clean paper or plastic bag and label with an indelible marker. Include your name, phone number, sample depth and crop.