Frequently asked questions



How quickly will I get my results?

Turn-around time is three weeks from the day we receive your sample. Our process makes it impossible to get your results in less than 10 days. Please plan accordingly. April and May are our busiest months.

Want to help us maintain our turn around time? Consider the following:

  • If possible, please enter your information prior to printing the form. If not possible, write your e-mail address legibly as well as other contact information. The most frequent reason for a missing report is a mis-read e-mail address.
  • The county is important. If you do not provide it, we have to take the time to look it up. Not sure what county you live in? Click here.
  • Remember to include payment (check or cash) for the correct amount with your completed form and sample(s). We can not process your soil until we have payment.

Which test should I choose?

The Standard Gardening Test on the Home Grounds and Garden form includes both conventional (chemical) and organic fertilizer recommendations. It also includes soil pH, organic matter content and a lead screening analysis.

Will my report have fertilizer recommendations or just the soil analysis?

Your report will include the amount of extractable calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus in your soil. Recommended N-P-K fertilizer amounts will be given for each sample. Soil pH is included and recommendations for adjustments using lime, if needed, will be given.

Check out a sample soil report.

How much soil should I send?

We only need one cup of dry, rock/grass/root/worm free soil.

If you are requesting a texture class analysis, we need 2 cups of soil.

If you are testing compost, we need 4-6 cups of soil.

Can I receive my results in two formats?

No, your results can only be sent to you one way. Either via e-mail, US mail or fax. Please check only one box. If you do not check a box, and have included an email address, your report will be emailed to you.

Does it matter what form I use?

Using the correct form is important! For example, if you are a home owner and want recommendations for a hay-field use corn, forage, pasture & hay form. If you are a commercial blueberry grower, use the commercial fruit form. If you are a homeowner and want vegetable garden recommendations, use the Home Grounds and Garden form and check the box for vegetable garden. If you want lawn recommendations, use the Home Grounds and Garden form and check the box for lawn.

For every crop you choose on the Home Grounds and Garden form, you will receive recommendations specific to that crop. Other forms may limit you to one or two crops, please read carefully.

Fill out the form as completely as possible. The more complete your answers, the more complete your report will be. Some forms ask for field size in acres, this is important. Please do not leave blank. An estimate is better than leaving the space blank.

Do I have to mail in my soil sample or can I drop it off?

Samples can be dropped off or mailed to our office on the UNH campus in Durham. All samples are processed through this office.

UNH Cooperative Extension Soil Testing

G28 Spaulding Hall

38 Academic Way

Durham, NH 03824

Directions to Spaulding Hall. Our road name has changed from College Road to Academic Way. Most vehicle GPS systems and driving direction sites such as Map Quest do not acknowledge Academic Way. The combination of the written directions and the campus map available on the UNH transportation site should enable you to find us.

Questions About Your Report?

Home Gardeners can contact the Education Center and Information Line at 1-877-398-4769 or send them an e-mail. Your county Agriculture Resources Field Specialist is another source of information.

Commercial growers should contact the Field Specialist or Specialist who reviewed your report. Their name and contact information will be located in the upper right hand corner.

 And finally, from our Lab Staff:

  • There is no need to use duct tape, electrical tape, scotch tape or any other tape.
  • Zip-lock bags are the best way to package your sample.
  • Staple all the pages of your report together. But, there is no need to staple the check to the form. Folding it in with the form is sufficient.
  • Do not put your check and/or the form in the bag with the soil, or in an envelope taped to the outside of the box.
  • A padded envelope or a small box is a good way to send your sample. Business envelopes are not strong enough.
  • There is no need to cut apart the sample information section of the form and tape it to each sample. Use a sharpie to write the sample name on the outside of the bag.

Thank you for taking the time to read this! We hope it has answered your questions. If not, feel free to contact us at 603-862-3200 or

Return to Soil Testing page