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General program Information

What soil tests are available:

We offer several types of tests to meet the needs of our varied clientele. The "Soil Fertility Tests" and the "Lead Screening Test" are the tests most commonly used by farmers, homeowners, landscapers and others who:

A summary of these tests is shown here:

Test
Description
Fee
Routine Soil Test with Lead for Home Gardeners
pH, lime requirement, organic matter, Mehlich 3 extractable nutrients [Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Calcium(Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Manganese (Mn), Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Boron (B), Sulfur (S) and Aluminum (Al)] and recommendations for three plants / crops. Includes screening for soil Lead content.
$15.00
Routine Soil Test for Agricultural Operations, Lawn Care Companies and Landscapers
pH, lime requirement, organic matter, Mehlich 3 extractable nutrients [Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Calcium(Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Manganese (Mn), Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Boron (B), Sulfur (S) and Aluminum (Al)] and recommendations for three plants / crops.
$12.00
Soluble Salts
Measures dissolved salts, high levels of which may inhibit seed germination and be harmful to seedlings and sensitive plants.
$6.00
Pre-sidedress Soil Nitrate Test for Corn
Measures soil nitrate levels in the soil at the point of maximum nitrogen uptake. Includes N recommendations and 24 hour turn around.
$8.00
Soil Lead Screening
An initial screen for those who suspect that their soil may be contaminated with lead. The test requires a special soil test kit with specific instructions on collecting the sample. This test is only a screen and further testing by an environmental laboratory may be recommended based upon the results. 
$12.00

Upon request, soil samples can be tested for heavy metals (in addition to the Soil Lead Screening test listed above): Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd), Chromium (Cr), and Nickel (Ni). Also upon request, soil samples can be tested for Sodium (Na). Contact the program at 302-831-1392 or email: Soiltest@udel.edu for additional information on requests for testing for the presence of heavy metals or sodium.

Additional information on testing soils for Lead, Arsenic and other heavy metals in Soils:

Researchers or students interested in the availability of testing soil for the presence of elements not listed above should contact the program at 302-831-1392 or email: Soiltest@udel.edu.

The  program also offers a variety of other tests for soils, plants, waters and other materials. For further information on all the tests offered, along with their fees, see the Soil Testing Program Fee Schedule.


How do I have my soil tested?

To have your soil tested, purchase the appropriate University of Delaware soil test kit at one of the locations listed below. (Refer to the section below: Where can I get a soil test kit?). The kit consists of an envelope with cloth bag attached and an information sheet appropriate to the type of testing you require (e.g., commercial farm, lawn&garden, soil lead screening, PSNT). Following the directions given in the "How to Collect a Soil Sample" brochure, use a clean bucket and trowel, spade or soil probe to collect a representative sample of the site. Thoroughly mix the soil. Place 1 to 1½ cups of mixed soil into the plastic bag and place the plastic bag into the cloth bag. Tie the end closed with the drawstring. Fill out the information sheet and enclose it in the envelope. The completed sample can then be returned to the Soil Testing Program. Refer to the section below: How do I return my soil sample for processing?

Circular 18: How to Take a Soil Sample for Commercial Crop Production

Circular 19: How To Take a Soil Sample for Home Lawns and Gardens

 

When do I pay for my sample?

Soil testing services are pre-paid, that is you pay for them when you purchase your kit. If, after purchasing your kit, you decide that you would like to add an additional test (e.g., soluble salts), check off the appropriate box on the information sheet and enclose a check for the appropriate amount and payable to "University of Delaware" in the envelope portion of your soil test kit.

Where can I get a soil test kit?

Option A: (On-Line)

Soil test kits may be purchased on-line from this web site by going to the Order Kits tab.

Or;

Option B: (County Extension Office)

Soil test kits can be purchased at any of the three UD Cooperative Extension Offices listed below. For directions or hours of operation, click on the county name. (Maps are shown below) 


461 Wyoming Rd
Newark, DE 19716
(302) 831-2506


Paradee Center
69 Transportation Circle
Dover, DE 19901
(302) 730-4000


Research and Education Center
16483 County Seat Highway
Georgetown, DE 19947
(302) 856-7303

 

Or;

Option C: (On-site or via mail)

Soil test kits may also be purchased on-site or ordered directly from the UD Soil Testing Program. To order by mail, send a letter indicating the number and type of kits requested along with check for the appropriate amount payable to "University of Delaware". Be sure to indicate the address to which the kits should be mailed. Send the request to: 

UD Soil Testing Program
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences
152 Townsend Hall
531 South College Avenue
Newark, DE 19716-2170


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Or;

Option D: (Local Businesses)

Soil test kits may also be picked up at various local garden centers, landscaping companies, seed companies, etc. The vendors offer the kits as a convenience to their customers and do not charge any fee. Payment instructions for the soil test are listed inside the kit. For more information (locations, directions, phone and website) click here.

Or;

Option E:

Must I use UD Soil Test Kits to submit my samples? No. The preferred method is to use the cloth bag soil test kit, but you may submit your samples in other containers such as ziplock bags. Each UD Soil Test Kit is marked with a serial number making tracking throughout the process extremely reliable. If you choose to use other containers, clearly label the container with your name or company name and the sample's identification. Include a completed sample information sheet which can be downloaded from this website at: http://ag.udel.edu/dstp/Forms_page.html.

 


How do I return my soil sample for processing?

Soil samples can be returned directly to the UD Soil Testing Program, to the nearest UD Cooperative Extension office, by US Mail (see note below), or other delivery services such as FedEx or UPS. USPS postage is usually about $2.00-$3.00 per sample. Multiple samples can be mailed together in one envelope or box to save on mailing costs.

Drop Off Locations:

UD Soil Testing Program
152 Townsend Hall
531 South College Avenue
Newark, DE 19716-2170
302-831-1392
Monday - Friday 8:00AM - 4:30PM
(Directions)

New Castle County Cooperative Extension Office
461 Wyoming Road
Newark, DE 19716
302-831-2506
Monday - Friday 8:00AM - 4:30PM
24 hour drop box left side of building next to rear door.


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Kent County Cooperative Extension Office
University of Delaware Paradee Center
69 Transportation Circle
Dover DE 19901
302-730-4000
Monday - Friday 8:00AM - 4:30PM
24 hour drop box right side of building.


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Sussex County Cooperative Extension Office
Elbert N. And Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center
16483 County Seat Highway
Georgetown, DE 19947
302-856-7303
Monday - Friday 8:00AM - 4:30PM
24 hour drop box available.


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  • College of Agriculture & Natural Resources  •   531 South College Ave.  •   Newark, DE 19716