Soil testing kits may be purchased from your local county office of Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension. The purchase price of a soil testing kit includes the cost of the standard fertility test. Each kit includes an information sheet, a questionnaire, and a mailing bag/envelope. The information sheet provided with the soil testing kit describes proper sampling procedure. Please read and follow the directions carefully. For further information, refer to Rutgers Cooperative Extension publication FS797, Soil Testing for Home Lawns and Gardens.
The standard soil test determines the fertility level and pH of the sample.
In a standard soil test, the plant nutrients boron, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc are quantified to determine their availability to the crop. The suitability of soil acidity is measured by pH. Fertilizer and liming requirements recommended by the Soil Testing Laboratory are based on soil nutrient levels, pH, and in some cases, crop management and site conditions.
Fertilizer recommendations include nitrogen requirements of your crop.
Nitrogen content is not part of the standard soil test. Inorganic nitrogen, which is the form of nitrogen that is available to plants, is short-lived in soil. Because of this, nitrogen recommendations are based primarily on seasonal crop requirements rather than on the actual nitrogen soil level. Be assured that the recommendations received with your soil test results will include the nitrogen requirements of your planting.
Additional tests, available upon request, assess other soil properties that are important for crop management. These tests include soluble salt levels, organic matter content, and soil texture.