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Lawn & Garden

Testing Services

Why Should I Test My Soil?

Soil testing is a fundamental practice for maintaining healthy lawns and flourishing gardens. This process provides crucial insights into the composition and quality of the soil, allowing gardeners and landscapers to make informed decisions about fertilization, pH adjustment, and overall soil management. By analyzing factors such as nutrient levels, pH balance, and organic matter content, a soil test empowers individuals to tailor their approach to the specific needs of their plants. This not only ensures optimal growth and vibrant aesthetics but also promotes environmental sustainability by minimizing the unnecessary use of fertilizers and chemicals. Ultimately, regular soil testing serves as the cornerstone of successful lawn and garden care, enabling enthusiasts to create thriving outdoor spaces while practicing responsible land stewardship.

How to Soil Sample for Lawns and Gardens

We strongly recommend following our PDF Guide to get started. Soil Samples can be collected throughout the major part of the year. However, sampling should be avoided during times when the soil is excessively dry or wet.

Sampling soil properly is essential to obtain accurate and representative results for your soil test. Here's a simple step-by-step guide on how to sample soil.

  1. Gather Supplies: Gather the necessary tools, including a clean bucket, a trowel or shovel. The clean bucket, trowel or shovel must not be brass, bronze, or galvanized as they may contaminate the sample. In order to mail the sample, soil sample bags and submittal forms will be needed and can be obtained by calling the lab. To expedite the process, a “quart sized Ziploc bag” can be used instead alongside an at-home printed submittal form.
  2. Choose Sampling Sites: Identify the areas in your lawn or garden that you want to test. If the area varies in terms of soil type, vegetation, or land use, consider sampling each distinct zone separately.
  3. Prepare the Sampling Area: Remove any debris, plants, or mulch from the surface of the soil. You want to collect a sample that represents the topsoil.
  4. Collect Samples: Using the trowel or shovel, dig a small hole about 4-6 inches deep for Lawns and Gardens, or 6-8 inches for shrubbery and trees under their drip line. For lawns and gardens, collect soil from multiple spots in a zigzag pattern to create a composite sample. Repeat 10-15 times in a zigzag fashion within each sampling area.
  5. Fill Sample Bag: Fill the plastic Ziploc or Waypoint Analytical bag with the mixed soil. For A17 or AO5 packages, provide 1 quart of soil. For the S3M package, send 1 pint of soil.
  6. Label the Sample: Write down the sample location or identifier on the bag. It's best to use a pen or Sharpie so that it won’t rub off or smear, becoming difficult to read. This is crucial if you're testing multiple areas.
  7. Complete Submission: This is one of the most important steps in taking and submitting a soil sample. If not completed properly, this may delay the results or lead to the wrong recommendations! In order to get the best experience, it’s important that make sure your name, address and phone number are legible. If you would like to receive your results by email you need to also include your email.

    • For payment at our California locations, please call your local office.
    • For payment at our other locations, you can include a check, or write your credit card number on the form.

    After getting your personal information on the form, the next step is to fill in the Sample ID. As previously mentioned, it is important you pick an ID that will help you remember where the sample came from e.g. Front yard, Back vegetable garden etc. Make sure that the ID on the form matches the ID on the bag.

    As far as choosing a test, the A17 package is a general test that addresses concern for many California and SW USA clients. The S3M package is more suited for areas where water quality, salinity and high pHs are not a concern. Therefore, the S3M package will be more appropriate east of the Mississippi River and other non-calcareous, high pH soils.

    AO5-2, A17, and AO5 from our California location are data only. If you require recommendations, these can be provided and are customized specifically for your situation, but do incur an additional cost. S3M packages provided at our other locations only include general recommendations. If you do require recommendations, please indicate the crop on the submittal form e.g. existing lawn, new installation, trees, shrubs, groundcover, vegetable garden etc.

  8. Mail the Sample: Seal the bag tightly and ship to the designated soil testing lab via FedEx or UPS. US Postal Service may also be used if preferred. Be sure to follow any specific instructions for submission and shipping.
  9. Wait for Results: Depending on the time for samples to arrive at the lab if shipped and which lab/methods are requested, it may take a few days to a week to receive your soil test results. Once you have the results, you can interpret them and plan your soil amendments accordingly.

Remember, the accuracy of your soil test results depends on the proper sampling technique. Taking samples from representative areas, avoiding contamination, and following instructions provided by the testing lab are essential steps in obtaining reliable information about your soil's composition and health.

Soil Sample Submittal Forms

The soil submittal forms can vary by location. Ensure you are selecting the correct one based on your lab location.

Interpreting a Soil Report

Interpreting a soil report can be daunting. Our Soil Test Interpretation PDF can assist you with understanding your soil test results.

Fertilizer Calculator

Try our fertilizer calculator for lawns – a smart tool that takes the guesswork out of fertilizing. No more worries about overdoing or underdoing it – just healthier, greener lawns with ease. Whether you're a pro or new to lawn care, our calculator helps you achieve better results.

Fertilizer Calculator

Eastern United States


*OM is not a standard test in the package for the FL and PA labs.


pH, buffer pH, P, K, Mg, Ca, OM, CEC, % cation saturations, B, S, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, Na

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Western United States

AO5-2 / WELOPackage

Recommended for New Planting or Landscape Installation.


pH, OM%, TEC, ECe, SAR, NH4- and NO3- N, P, K, Ca, Mg, SO4, Na, B, Cu, Zn, Mn, Fe, Particle Size and infiltration rate (calculated)
  • Water Efficiency Landscape Ordinance Compliance (WELO)
    This fulfills the needs of the soils management test required for WELO compliance, please note on the submittal form if this test is for WELO compliance in California.
  • Organic or Bay-friendly recommendations can be provided as needed, please request them on the submittal form.

Available At


Recommended for Existing Landscape.


pH, TEC, ECe, SAR, NH4- and NO3- N, P, K, Ca, Mg, SO4, Na, B, Cu, Zn, Mn, Fe
  • Maintenance recommendations for existing plants.
  • Troubleshooting for plants not performing satisfactorily.
  • Confirming addition of fertilizers - often mass planting installation.

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Recommended for Existing Turfgrass and Turfgrass Troubleshooting.


pH, TEC, ECe, SAR, NH4- and NO3- N, P, K, Ca, Mg, SO4, Na

Available At


What does pathology do for me?

If you are a vegetable grower, involved in nursery or plug production, own an orchard, or if you find yourself responsible for landscape installations and maintenance, chances are sooner or later you will run into a disease problem. When a disease outbreak occurs, you may wish to seek the expertise of Waypoint Analytical’s Anaheim, CA location which offers plant disease diagnosis. Accurate identification of the problem is paramount for developing the right management strategies to prevent further loss of plant material.

Sampling and Submittal Instructions

The form you use depends on your location. Please select the correct form to get started.

Disease Diagnosis Packages



Fungal/bacterial pathogen culture and ID

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Plant parasitic nematode ID and quantification

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Why test well water?

Testing well water is essential for ensuring the safety and quality of your drinking water supply. Regular well water testing helps identify potential contaminants that may pose health risks. By understanding the composition of your well water, you can take proactive measures to address any issues and make informed decisions about water treatment and filtration systems. Testing also provides peace of mind, as it ensures that your water meets regulatory standards and is suitable for consumption. Ultimately, the benefits of well water testing include safeguarding your family's health, maintaining water quality, and promoting a healthier living environment.

Consider reading the EPA's article on National Primary Drinking Water Regulations before getting started.

Water Testing Packages

Basic W3A Well WaterPackage


E-coli, Total Coliform, Calcium, Copper, Conductivity, Total Dissolved Solids, Iron, Hardness as CaC03, Magnesium, Nitrite (N02-N), Nitrate (N03-N), Lead, pH

Available At

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