Master Gardener volunteer conducts a pH soil test on a soil sample
Image by Sandy Repp

A Master Gardener volunteer tests soil pH.

Soil Testing Services

Soil Testing

When our office is open,  you can drop off samples during business hours 8:30 AM- 4:30 PM M-TH, 8:00 AM- 4:00 PM F.

Commercial growers and others that wish to send samples to the Agro One Lab in Ithaca for nutrient testing can obtain mailing boxes and forms directly from contact John Farfaglia, or 433-8839 ext. 226 if you have additional questions.

Why Test Soil?

A soil test will tell you what nutrients are in your soil and what you may need to add (in the form of fertilizer) for successful crop growth. Plants need nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (macronutrients) as will as micronutrients to grow. Deficiency or excess of these elements will impact the health and productivity of plants. In addition, the pH (acid/alkaline level) of your soil has an impact upon how much of your soil's nutrients your plants will be able to use. CCE-Niagara's Agriculture and Horticulture Programs can provide or arrange several different tests for your soil, and can help you to interpret the results and choose an appropriate course of action if necessary.

pH Testing

A pH test measures the acid/alkaline level of your soil. In the pH scale, 7.0 is considered neutral; lower numbers indicate acid soil, while higher numbers indicate that the soil is alkaline. Most plants prefer a pH of 6.8. pH levels influence nutrient availability, with most nutrients being available to plants when the pH is in this range (6.8-7.0). If a soil is too alkaline or too acid, certain nutrients may be limited. To change soil pH to the desirable range, you will either add lime if the soil is too acid or sulfur if the soil is too alkaline. With your pH test result, we will let you know what amount of lime or sulfur is needed if any.

The CCE-Niagara Horticulture Program will perform a pH test on soil samples that are brought to our Administration Office at 4487 Lake Avenue, for a fee of $5/sample.

Nutrient Analysis

Soil samples for nutrient analysis may be brought to the CCE-Niagara Education Center, along with the appropriate form and fee, and we will send them to the Agro-One Soils Laboratory in Ithaca for testing. Copies of the test results are returned to the individual and to CCE-Niagara about one week later, and you can contact us if necessary for assistance in interpreting your results.

Last updated March 26, 2024