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Soil Testing Kits

COVID-19 UPDATE (7/8/21)

Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory staff are still at work, providing fee-for-service analysis of soil samples and generating reports/recommendations for all clients. Appropriate safety procedures and precautions are being followed to assure and protect the health of staff, including social distancing and use of personal protective equipment. Public access to the Soil Testing Laboratory will remain limited until further notice.

How to Get Soil Tests?

Soil test kits may be available for purchase locally depending on county-level policy relating to access to offices of Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Please contact your county office of Rutgers Cooperative Extension to find if soil test kits are available for purchase there.

OR

Visit our page How to Get Your Soil Tested, and find the appropriate Soil Sampling Instructions and Soil Test Questionnaire for your situation; see headings for different land use and crop scenarios. Read and follow the instructions; download and fill out the questionnaire; then send soil sample and questionnaire with payment to the lab by mail or delivery service, or drop off sample/questionnaire/payment at the lab as described below.

Sample Drop Off at the Soil Testing Lab

As of July 6, 2021 soil samples may be dropped off at Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory using the side entrance of Rutgers’ Administrative Services Building II (glass door on southwest side of the building) under these conditions:

  • Paperwork (soil test questionnaires) should be filled out in advance and accompany soil samples, inside a bag or box with samples.
  • Drop-off location is the southwest entrance/foyer of ASB-II. The glass door at this entrance is labelled: "Equine Science Center/Information Technology Services/Soil Testing Laboratory."
  • Soil sample drop-off time is 7 a.m. to 12 noon, Monday through Friday.
  • Note: Face masks are mandatory in Rutgers buildings.
  • Enter and remain in the foyer; the office and lab doors remain closed to the public. However, the side entrance and foyer can be seen from the inside main office of the Soil Testing Lab.
  • Get the attention of office staff through the window or call (848-932-9295) so that staff come to foyer to take sample(s) and paperwork immediately.
  • Do not leave any paperwork with credit card information or other payment unattended. If no-one is able to answer your call immediately, sample(s) with identifying information can be left in the foyer, and paperwork/payment will be attended to remotely.

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 other option for submitting a soil sample for analysis is to send the samples in your own package with payment and a Soil Test Questionnaire. See Sampling Instructions for complete details.

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.