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Frequently Asked Questions

What states are samples accepted from?

The UD Soil Testing Program currently only accepts soil fertility test samples from the states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. This is due to the nature of the soils and methods used to determine fertility. If you have soils from outside these states, we can assist you in locating an appropriate laboratory to perform the fertility testing. Contact us at 302-831-1392 or

Soil samples for lead testing are accepted from any state. (Instructions / Information Form)

Samples of plant, water and other materials are accepted from any state.

Contact us directly with any special requests: 302-831-1392 or

Must I use UD Soil Test Kits to submit my samples?

No. You may submit your samples in other containers such as ziplock bags. Clearly label the bags 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:

How much sample do you require?

The laboratory needs approximately 1 cup of soil to perform the routine test. If you are also requesting particle size analysis, increase the amount to 2 cups of soil.

Must the sample be dried?

No, for routine testing, samples can be sent wet or dry. Just remember that wet samples will weigh more and thus, cost more to mail. PSNT samples, however, MUST be dried before shipping. See special instructions for PSNT samples on this website of in the sample kit.

When can I collect a soil sample?

Soil samples can be collected anytime the ground is not frozen.

How many samples do I need?

For specific instructions, see Fact Sheet 19: How to Collect a Soil Sample for Homeowners. In general, one composite sample should be taken for every 20 acres of less. In the residential landscape, one composite sample should be made from 8 to 10 subsamples. If the area to be tested is generally uniform and has been managed in the same way (e.g., the lawn), it can produce one composite sample. Areas that have been managed differently (e.g., lawns and vegetable gardens) should be sampled separately. Problem areas should also be sampled separately.

Can I use pelletized lime instead of fine ground lime?

Yes, pelletized lime can be used instead of fine ground lime, and generally can be found at most home-improvement stores. There is no significant difference between the two forms of lime.

Do you test for toxins / oils / poisons / etc. in soil?

We do offer a screening test for lead in soils. We DO NOT test for herbicides, pesticides, oils or other hazardous materials. For that type of testing, contact an environmental laboratory or consulting firm. Their phone number can be found in the phone book.

Do you offer other tests for soil or other types of materials?

Yes, we do offer additional testing services, both for soils and for other types of samples (e.g., plants). Our complete fee schedule can be found on the website at : Soil Test Program Fee Schedule - 1 August 2013. You can also call our office at (302) 831-1392 for additional information.

Do you have a question that is not answered above?

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Copyright © 2012-2013 Last Updated: 7/29/2013