As part of a complete lawn care company, GEM has been performing detailed soil sample analysis for our customers throughout Anchorage. All soil samples are pulled and prepared by our staff while the testing is done at the University of Massachusetts Amherst soil testing lab. These tests are some of the most in depth available, and at a very reasonable cost.
Have you ever wondered why your lawn is not as green as the neighbors? Or perhaps why you can’t get anything to grow in your garden? Soil testing might be the best way to find the solution. There are many places throughout the U.S. that offer this service, for a variety of fees. The best place to look is your local cooperative extension service. Some of these cooperative extensions offer FREE testing through their college labs though this is typically only offered to local residents, as is not available in Alaska.
Taking and preparing a soil sample can be a time-consuming task, but it is usually worth the effort! You may want to contact the lab which you wish to do your testing for their specific instructions on preparing a sample, but we will go through a fairly standard procedure for a lawn sample.
- The soil sample should be presentative of the area in your lawn that you want recommendations for. Avoid areas that have an obvious difference in soil type or plant type.
- Take samples from 4-6 different areas of the lawn, at a depth of 3-4”.
- Use a small spade shovel or trowel and clean bucket to collect samples.
- Take roughly 1-1.5 cups of soil from your lawn.
- Mix each sample separately, and remove any organic matter (grass roots, etc).
- Air dry samples and remove any small pebbles. (I spread them out in the sun to dry).
- Place DRY samples in a zip lock bag. Label each bag with the area the samples were taken.
- Typically the lap will also have you label each sample with the type of plants to be planted in the soil, and a unique sample number.
- Deliver or mail sample, check, and appropriate forms.
That’s it! Now just wait for your results (typically 1-3 weeks). I have attached a copy of test results we performed for Inland Petroservice in Fairbanks. As you can see, these tests are very detailed, and typically show recommendations on how to correct chemical or PH imbalances. If you are interested in having soil testing done at your home or business, feel free to contact us with any questions!