How many samples do I need to collect?

We generally advise you, the homeowner, to test each area that you fertilize separately. You may fertilize differently because of significantly different soil types or for plant material with differing nutrient or pH requirements. For example, if want to test the soil from your lawn and you are willing to do anything it takes to make the front yard beautiful, but you aren't willing to spend much time or money on the back yard, we suggest that you send in one sample from the front yard, and one from the back. However, if you employ a lawn care company and you know that they apply the same treatment on the front that they do on the back every year, then you would only need one sample tested which was made up of soil from both the front and back lawn areas.

Along the same lines, if you have one large garden, you may want to submit more than one sample. If, for instance, you have a section which is only tomatoes and you are willing to fertilize this area differently from the rest of the garden, you should send in one sample from the 'tomatoes only' area, and one to represent the rest of the garden.

Another reason you might consider sending in more than one sample would be to help troubleshoot a problem area. For example, if most of your lawn is beautiful, but there is one spot that just won't stay green or thicken up, you may be able to learn something by comparing the test results from the healthy area with the poorer area.

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