Equipment:

  • Soil probe or shovel; however, backhoe, soil auger or posthole digger may be used.
  • Clean moisture-proof quart-size bags. Use paper bags only if soil is very dry.
  • Clean plastic bucket to mix samples, optional.
  • Samples collected for microbiology, nematode and pesticide residue analysis generally need refrigeration so have a cooler and coolant available.

Procedure:

  • Walk a zigzag course around or through the sampling area taking 20 to 30 cores, enough to make a quart of soil. Stay away from field edges.
    • For furrow or field crops, take soil 12 inches below the surface or to the plowing depth.
    • For tree and vine crops, soil samples should be taken one-foot increments to the depth of rooting which may require three to five samples from the same area.
  • Collect one quart of soil and put in a clean quart-size bag.
  • If collecting soils from multiple sites, composite by mixing in clean plastic bucket and taking one quart per sample.
  • Clearly print on each bag using an indelible marker or ballpoint pen your name/company, site and sample description.
  • For additional information regarding soil sampling depth, see Soil: Field & Row CropsPermanent Crops Ornamental.