Soil Tests

Need a Soil Test?

Photo © Elaine Mills

Extension Master Gardeners often recommend that your first step in working with your garden is to get a soil test before you add amendments to the soil.

Get the facts then feed your plants: Testing your soil is the only way to determine if phosphorus, potassium, calcium or magnesium are in short supply or if a pH adjustment is needed. Without a soil test, any application of fertilizer could be detrimental to the landscape.  You will need one test kit for each area of your garden, for instance lawn, vegetable garden or acid-loving shrubs.


How & Why to Test Your Soil

This short video from Arlington Friends of Urban Agriculture features Kirsten Conrad, Agriculture Natural Resource Extension Agent, Virginia Cooperative Extension, on how & why to test your soil.

Friends of Urban Agriculture Plot Against Hunter Cover Slide

Soil Test Supplies and Locations

While our office is closed you can get soil test kits at these locations.

  • Fairlington Community Center, 3308 South Stafford St, Arlington;  You will find them in a box affixed to a gate to our Teaching Garden adjacent to the loading dock at the rear of the building.
  • Greenstreet Gardens, 1721 W. Braddock Rd, Alexandria, 22302
  • Brown’s Hardware, 100 W Broad St., Falls Church, 22046
  • Bill’s Hardware, 2213 N Buchanan St, Arlington, 22207
  • Cherrydale Hardware, 3805 Lee Hwy Arlington, 22207
  • Ayers Hardware 5853 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22205

You will mail your samples to the Virginia Tech Soil Testing lab using the address on the Soil Sample Information Sheet that accompanies the container.

Allow 2 weeks for results to be returned via email.


Interpreting Your Soil Test

For additional help with interpretation or a missing report please contact VCE Extennsion Agent, Kirsten Conrad at kirsten.conrad@vt.edu