Soil testing is a recommended practice to avoid over fertilization. Applying the correct amount of fertilizer can save money and protect Michigan’s water resources. This kit comes complete with everything you’ll need to submit a soil sample for testing by the MSU Soils Laboratory. Simply follow the instructions, put the completed form and soil sample in the postage-paid envelope and you will receive an email when your results are available at the MSU Soil Test website.
NOTE: For quickest service, customers should provide an email address. Those without an email address will receive their printed results in the mail.
If you are concerned about lead in your soil, you can request a supplemental soil test for lead. There is an an additional charge for this supplemental test. For more information, please contact the MSU Soil & Plant Nutrient Lab at 517-355-0218.
Why Test Your Soil?
A soil test is the first step in determining what type and how much fertilizer is needed for the plants you are trying to grow. Since plants take up nutrients from the soil, nutrients need to be replenished from the soil from time to time. The only way to identify the particular nutrients needed is to test your soil.
Over-application of fertilizers can pollute water resources, ruin plants and waste money.
The cost of the soil test kit covers the cost of the soil analysis, a custom fertilization program developed to meet the needs of your plants and safeguard the environment, and also includes delivery of your soil sample to the MSU Soil and Plant Nutrient Lab.
It includes the determination of soil pH, available phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium levels, organic matter and soil type as well as recommendations for lime (if indicated) and fertilizer. Other tests are available for a additional charge, such as zinc, manganese, etc. For further information about supplemental soil tests, please contact the Garden Hotline at 248-858-0902.
What Is not Included in the MSU Soil Test?
The MSU soil test will not test for any toxins, lead, arsenic, other contaminants, insect or disease problems.
How to Obtain a MSU Soil Test for Home Lawn & Garden Samples
• You will need to obtain a separate MSU soil test kit for each sample you want tested.
• Each mailer includes written instructions for properly collecting a soil sample and everything needed to send the sample to Michigan State University for processing, including a postage-paid return envelope. You will receive an email with a link to your soil test results available at the MSU Soil Test web site.
• The Home Lawn and Garden Soil Test Mailer can be used to process any type of home soil sample (lawn, vegetable garden, tree, shrub, flower and tree/small fruit) and is available through the MSU Extension Bookstore as well as the MSU Extension office in Oakland County. The cost per soil test mailer is $25.00. You can only use a credit card when purchasing online, but the MSU Extension office in Oakland County can accept credit card, cash or check payments.
How to Obtain a MSU Soil Test for Commercial Samples
Farm, landscape, lawn maintenance, nursery, athletic field and other commercial operations or those who wish to test soil for wildlife plots should call the Garden Hotline at 248-858-0902 or the Soil and Plant Nutrient Laboratory at 517-355-0218 for commercial soil testing instructions. The cost of this test is $12.00. Complete instructions will be on the kit envelope.
When Will I Receive the Results?
You will receive an email approximately 2 weeks after your sample is received at the MSU Soil Nutrient and Plant Lab letting you know your results are available at the MSU Soil Test web site. (in the spring, turn around times may be longer) If you submit your sample without an email address, it may take slightly longer for you to receive your results in the mail.
For further information or questions about testing your soil, contact the MSU Extension-Oakland Garden Hotline at 248-858-0902.