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To have a beautiful garden and lawn, a soil test will assist you in creating the best possible growing environment. Testing your soil provides you with the pH level and other nutrient levels in your soil. Our agronomists will then take this information to determine how much and what kind of fertilizer to apply along with the appropriate frequency.
Soil Test Packages
Basic Test – ($25 per sample) The basic test provides the primary information needed for optimum growing in most situations. This would cover the main nutrients: organic matter, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, CEC, pH, and buffer pH. You may select up to three options for recommendations. This will give you fertilizer recommendations based specifically for what you are growing (ex: lawn, roses, vegetable garden, etc.).
Complete Test – ($35 per sample) The complete test is the same as the basic test except it adds conductivity and micronutrients: boron, copper, iron, manganese, sulfur, and zinc. These additional micronutrients may be beneficial in identifying troubled growing concerns or when you are growing plants with specific nutrient requirements. Conductivity tests for salts which may be a concern if you live near a highway or parking lot that gets salted in the winter. You may still select up to three options for your specific fertilizer recommendations.
Steps to Submit a sample
Step 1 – Taking a Sample
- Decide where samples should be collected from. Lawn, garden, and landscape beds should be considered separate areas and sampled as such. Raised garden beds may be sampled together as one sample.
- Take a sample 6 to 8 inches deep for gardens, shrubs, and trees or 3 to 4 inches for lawns. Use a probe, spade, trowel, or similar tool to gather approximately a cup of soil. Avoid collecting grass, roots, or stones.
- Repeat the above step on 3 to 4 additional locations within your plot or yard. If you are sampling raised beds, please follow the steps above from each individual bed.
- Mix all the cups of soil gathered above in a bucket. Take a 1 to 2 cup representative sample from this to make your final sample that will be sent to the lab. Place the soil in an ALGL soil submittal bag or alternatively you may use a sealable plastic sandwich or quart bag. We will dry and prepare the sample for analysis upon arrival.
- Label the Sample – Make sure to write the sample ID on the bag using a label or permanent marker. This same ID will be used on the submittal form to match. The sample ID identifies where the sample came from, for example: “front lawn” or “garden”.
Step 2 – Submittal Form – download here
- “Report To” section. Complete this information for the individual submitting the sample and whom will be receiving the results. (This will most likely be you as the customer)
- “For” section. This area is optional and only needed to help identify who the work is being performed for. This would be if you were taking the sample on behalf of somebody else, their information would go here.
- “Payment Type” Identify how you wish to pay for the analysis. You may staple a check to the submittal form, payable to A & L Great Lakes Labs. Please identify the check number on the submittal form. If you prefer to pay with a credit card, please provide an email address and we will send you a secure payment link. Payment must be received before results can be released.
- “Sample Information”. Complete the sample ID section to match how the sample is identified on the bag.
- “Test Package” – Identify which test to perform on each submitted sample. The basic is $25, and the complete is $35.
- “Fertility Option” – Identify the code for what you are growing and would like a fertility recommendation from the list at the bottom of the submittal form. You may select up to three items from the list, but only one is needed.
Shipping/Delivery of samples
- Package the sample and the submittal form in a shipping box or padded envelope. Confirm that the submittal form is completed, and the payment portion is completed.
- Samples need to be delivered to:
A & L Great Lakes Laboratories, Inc.
3505 Conestoga Drive
Fort Wayne, IN 46808
You may deliver them to our facility or utilize the USPS, UPS, or FedEx.
- Timing - Typically results are available within 2 business days from the time the samples are received. Once payment has been received, results will be emailed if an email address is provided. A hard copy will also be mailed to our customers.
- What you receive. – You will receive a graphic report of your information. Additionally, you will receive written fertilizer recommendations for the selections that were made.
- Informational Sheets available – Interpretive Guide for Lawn and Garden Samples and Lawns Landscapes, and Garden: Adjusting Fertilizer Product Recommendations
We look forward to providing you with the information you need to have a successful lawn and beautiful garden!