Delaware Soil Testing Program

Providing accurate analyses and unbiased
interpretations to clients since 1947.

About The Soil Testing Program

The UD Soil Testing Program provides a variety of soil testing and educational support to farmers, homeowners and others engaged in soil management and land use. The program is offered as a public service of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.

  • Soil fertility test methods are designed for specific types of soils. The methods offered by our lab are appropriate for soils in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States – Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, District of Columbia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. If the location to be sampled is located outside of these states, please call before submitting samples or ordering kits to determine whether our tests will meet your needs.
  • Nutrient recommendations provided are research-based and regionally appropriate.
  • Additional analytical services for soils and other materials are available to meet the needs of researchers and other clientele both within and outside of the University community. Information on additional analytical services can be found on the General Program Information page or obtained by contacting the Program Office.
  • Analyses are provided on a “Fee for Service” basis. A full listing of our current fee schedule can be found here.
  • The Soil Testing Program does not offer pesticide or herbicide testing at this time.


Why soil test?

Soil testing provides useful information to help people manage their land. A farmer or home gardener might have his/her soil tested to determine how much lime or fertilizer is needed to grow plants and/or avoid over-applying nutrient sources like manure. Parents might test the soil in their yard to see if hazardous amounts of lead or arsenic are present before installing a backyard playset for their children, or before beginning a new vegetable garden. Archeologists use soil testing to learn about past land use at historical sites. Scientists test soil to monitor the effects of new management practices on soil properties and environmental conditions.
 

How to submit a soil sample

Related Fact Sheets


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  • DELAWARE GARDENER’S GUIDE TO SOIL PH

    Soil pH is a measure of soil acidity or alkalinity. On the pH scale a value of 7 is neutral, pH values less than 7 are acidic, and pH values greater than 7 are alkaline. Homeowners and gardeners are interested in soil pH because soil pH directly affects the growth and quality of many landscape plants.

  • FERTILIZER BASICS

    Proper fertilization will enhance plant growth without polluting the environment. However, misuse of fertilizer can harm the environment and injure landscape plants by causing fertilizer burn to leaves and/or roots.

  • HOW TO TAKE A SOIL SAMPLE?

    Soil tests such as those conducted by the University of Delaware Soil Testing Laboratory will help you to develop and maintain more productive soil by providing more information about the fertility status of your soil. This helps you to select the proper lining and fertilization program so that you can obtain optimal growth of lawn, garden and ornamental plants.

  • MEASUREMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF SOIL PH FOR CROP PRODUCTION IN DELAWARE

    The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14; a pH value of 7 is considered neutral, while pH values less than 7 are acidic, and pH values greater than 7 are alkaline. The pH values of soil usually range from pH 4.0 to pH 8.0; higher or lower pH values are very rare and are normally found only in severely disturbed soils or in soils that have been amended with some type of acidic or alkaline material.

  • NUTRIENT RECOMMENDATIONS

    Nutrient recommendations are based upon soil test calibration studies that relate the probability of a profitable plant response to nutrient addition to the plant nutrient concentration in the soil as measured by a soil test.

  • PHOSPHORUS MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR DELAWARE’S AGRICULTURAL SOILS: THE PHOSPHORUS SITE INDEX

    Long-term use of fertilizer and manure nutrients on the Delmarva Peninsula has led to an enrichment of agricultural soils with phosphorus (P). Consequently, many soils in Delaware are now considered high or excessive in soil test P (Fig. 1). In some situations, high P soils contribute to eutrophication of surface waters; therefore, P management strategies that maintain both agricultural profitability and environmental quality are necessary. 

  • PHOSPHORUS REMOVAL BY DELAWARE CROPS

    In Delaware, applications of phosphorus to “high P” soils (soil test P ≥ 150 FIV, as defined by the Delaware Nutrient Management Commission) cannot exceed a three-year crop removal rate unless alternative P management strategies (i.e. N-based management during one or more years of a crop rotation) are permitted based on results of a P Site Index.

  • RECOMMENDED SOIL TESTING PROCEDURES FOR THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES

    Northeastern Regional Publication No. 493
    3rd Edition- Agricultural Experiment Stations of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia. Prepared by: The Northeast Coordinating Committee for Soil Testing (NECC-1312)

  • SOIL MANAGEMENT OPTIONS BASED ON THE PHOSPHORUS SITE INDEX

    Minimizing nonpoint source pollution of surface waters by P from agricultural cropland requires management practices that control both the supply and transport of soil P. The basic objective of environmentally sound P management is to maintain soil P fertility levels in a range that is optimum, but not excessive, for crop growth while reducing the loss of particulate and soluble P by processes such as erosion, runoff, or drainage. 

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Location

142 Townsend Hall
531 S College Ave, Newark, DE 19716-2170

 

Phone: 302-831-1392
Fax: 302-831-0605

 

*Please note: The online order site is producing an error message but the order does in fact, go through. Please check your email for the sales confirmation or call our office at 302-831-1392 before placing a duplicate order. We hope to have this resolved shortly. Thank you