Soil Sample Analysis

Gardening is a hobby that is dear to many people. Gardeners take a long time before planting to analyze the soil, the temperature and the weather. Everything is done accordingly so that the plant will not suffer after it has been planted.

It will only make you frustrated to see your plants in your backyard or garden die just after few days after being planted. It may happen to other people, but you can prevent it from happening to you because sometimes the problem comes from the soil in your backyard or garden that doesn’t suit the shrub or plants that you choose. You should know what kind of soil that you have so you could choose the right plants and make the most of your backyard or garden. Here are the steps on how to run a soil test.

You will need:

  1. Soil Samples
  2. Soil Ph Meter
  3. Shovel Or Trowel
  4. Core Sampler
  5. Soil Texture Chart
  6. Munsell Soil Color Chart

Soil Sample


  1. First, take some soil samples from your backyard or garden for analysis. You could either use a trowel, core sampler or a shovel to take soil from about 6 to 8 inches below the ground for the soil test. You could also use soil testing kit that can be bought from science supply catalogs.
  2. Use a Munsell soil color chart to help you to classify the color of your soil samples. You can buy this chart from science supply catalogs or stores from the internet. The Munsell chart has color plates that are used as instructions and classification to use.
  3. Next, take some observation to the texture of your soil samples. You could check out the internet to find examples of soil texture charts. These charts will help you determine the grain sizes for your soil, the percentage of silt, loam and clay in the soil. By observing your sample soil, the type of soil that you have will be determined.
  4. Take note for any structures in your soil samples such as burrows. The porosity of the soil, which is important in the test, will be determined by the structures present. To know the soil structures, check your Munsell Soil Color chart or online. For the pH analysis, use a soil pH meter to help you identify your soil’s acidity and alkalinity. The importance of the pH test will let you inform on what kind of plants are suitable for the soil and the right fertilizers to use.
  5. If you want further analysis, take your soil samples to a soil analysis laboratory. The soil will be tested with more in-depth analysis such for organic matter and nutrient levels such as nitrogen, oxygen, calcium and phosphorus.

Image Credit:

Flick CC

Additional Reading:

Geotechnical analysis of soil samples

Methods of chemical analysis for soil survey samples