UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County

Soil Management

Have your soil tested

To determine the exact components of your soil, you can do any of the following three things:

You can purchase a soil test kit at many retail garden centers and do the testing yourself
Soil test kits range in cost from $10 to $50 for multiple tests.  A Technology & Product Report from the American Society of Horticultural Science assessed the accuracy of commercially available soil test kits, as compared to test results from an analytical laboratory:
       #1. La Motte Soil Test Kit (La Motte Co., Chesteron, MD)   94%
       #2. Rapidtest® (Luster Leaf Products, Woodstock, IL)    92%
       #3. Quick Soiltest (Hanna, Woonsocket, RI)      64%

Source: HortTechnology 17:358-362 (2007) 

Or you can send a soil sample to a testing laboratory
Testing laboratories charge for soil analysis.  We suggest that you call the selected laboratory prior to submitting samples. Quite often samples must be taken, packaged, and sent in a particular manner in order to obtain the best possible diagnosis.  Soil testing laboratories in Southern California are:

1. Associated Labs, Orange (714-771-6900)
2. Waypoint Analytical, Inc., Anaheim (714-282-8777)
(Name change from Soil and Plant Laboratory )
3. Wallace Laboratories, El Segundo (800-473-3699)
4. The PACE Turfgrass Research facility in Oceanside (760-272-9897) maintains a list of soil analytical laboratories. 

5. Orange County Farm Supply in Orange (714) 978-6500.  Call to see how they want sample to be prepared.


Click here for an introduction to amending soils from Colorado State University.

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