UMass Extension Plant Identification

Soil Testing

Testing Your Own Samples

Using pH and EC pens (Testing Your Own Media)
Best Management Practices -  Pour Thru and other methods

Helpful Factsheets


Link for these three videos

  • How to Take a Soil Sample
  • One to Two Method of Soil Testing for Greenhouses
  • Leachate PourThru Method of Soil Testing

Sending a Soil Sample to the University of Massachusetts Soil Testing Lab

A soil test can aid in the diagnosis of plant problems and in quality plant production. To have your growing medium analyzed, take several samples of soil at root depth from several pots, or from several areas of a bed (cut flowers) and mix it together in a clean container. Take about one cup of soil mixture dried at room temperature. Put the dry soil in a sandwich size zip-type bag and close it tightly. Identify each sample on the outside of the bag for your use. Complete and attach the "Greenhouse Media Submittal Form" with the following information:

  • Name, address and phone number
  • Is the sample from a newly-prepared mix or from a mix where a crop is currently being grown?
  • Crop being grown, and crop age or development
  • Is the sample a soilless mix? If so, what is the commercial brand?
  • Does the sample have field soil in it?
  • What fertilizer is in use, and what is the rate and frequency of application?
  • Is this a routine sample to determine nutrient status or is it for a problem diagnosis?

Send soil samples,with a check made payable to the University of Massachusetts, to:

Soil Testing Lab, West Experiment Station,
North Pleasant St., UMass, Amherst, MA 01003

For more information, visit the Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory

Options for Commercial Flower Growers

Soilless Media Test
Includes pH and lime requirement, levels of available plant nutrients, soluble salts, and micronutrients. Recommendations are written on the report by Dr. Doug Cox and mailed to you.

pH Test

Soluble Salts Test

pH and soluble salts tests are the same tests performed as part of the soilless media test.

Standard Soil Test for (Outdoor) Field Grown Crops
$10.00 Includes pH, levels of available plant nutrients and several micronutrients.
$15.00 Standard Soil Test and organic matter.

UMass Pesticide Analysis Laboratory

In addition to our soil test laboratory, the Massachusetts Pesticide Analysis Laboratory (MPAL) provides analytical services and scientific expertise for the regulation and enforcement of pesticide use in Massachusetts. MPAL is available for contract work related to land use, historical pesticide use, the monitoring of pesticide fate in active use areas such as golf courses, greenhouses, nurseries, etc. See: UMass Pesticide Analysis Laboratory for more information.