Archive 2008 - 2019

MA Master Gardener Assoc. Offering Free Soil Tests

by Pam Kyrka

Come to the 2019 Historical Society's Harvest Fair on September 22nd and have your soil tested - for FREE!

Massachusetts Master Gardener Association FACT SHEET

Have gardening questions? Contact the Master Gardener Help Line.

At Mass Hort, Wellesley:, 617-933-4929
At Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston:, 608-869-6111 x104 Please visit our website for Help Line hours

How to Take a Soil Sample for pH Testing Taking a soil sample for pH testing is easy:

1. Identify the area(s) of your property you want to test: Different areas may require different pH levels, e.g., lawn vs. flower bed vs. vegetable garden. To submit different areas for testing, collect separate samples. Within a given area, if there are sections that are sickly vs. healthy, they should also be sampled and labeled separately (e.g., sickly vs. healthy sections of lawn).

2. Gather your supplies:

  • A clean spade, shovel, soil probe, or augur for digging your sample(s)
  • One small clean bucket for each area you plan to sample (e.g., one bucket for the lawn, a separate bucket for your flower bed)
  • One small plastic bag for each area to be sampled

3. Dig your soil sample(s):

  • Step A: Depending on how large the area is, dig 5-10 holes approx. 6-8” deep for gardens (4-6” deep for lawns; 8-10” deep for trees/ shrubs); remove a sample of the soil all the way down to the depth of the hole; in other words, collect soil from the top, the middle and the bottom of the hole.
  • Step B: Combine all soil samples from the same area in a clean bucket. Mix thoroughly and remove stones, sticks or other debris.
  • Step C: Let the soil dry out for a few days in the bucket.
  • Step D: Put approx. 1/2 cup of dry soil into a plastic bag. Mark the bag with your name and the area of your property where the sample was taken (e.g., lawn, rhododendron bed).
  • If you want to sample additional areas of your property, repeat Steps A-B-C-D above.

4. Bring your sample(s) to the Master Gardener Soil pH Test table at the Holliston Historical Society’s Harvest Fair

The Massachusetts Master Gardener Association is a non-profit organization whose mission is to share knowledge and experience with the public through outreach programs in education, horticulture and gardening; to provide the Master Gardener Training Program to interested members of the public; and to provide graduates of the Master Gardener Training Program with educational and practical opportunities to extend their knowledge and interests in gardening and related topics.

Visit us online at - To follow us on Facebook, search for Massachusetts Master Gardeners

Visit the Holliston Historical Society Fair and get your soil tested for free. the fair takes place on September 22 (rain date September 29)