Spring and summer are the best times to take soil samples from established lawns and gardens.
It is always a good idea to take soil samples several weeks before planting a garden or renovating a lawn; then if lime is needed, you have time to apply the lime properly and let it begin to work before planting. For established plantings, spring and summer are good times to submit samples because there is no peak-season fee. Reports are usually posted online within 10 days.
The soil lab urges clients to enter and submit soil sample information online via the Public Access Laboratory-Information-Management System website instead of filling out a paper sample information form. The online option sends sample information to the lab electronically and helps prevent data entry errors and duplications. A printed copy of the electronic Soil Sample Information form must be submitted with the samples. Links on the Agronomic Division homepage — www.ncagr.gov/agronomi, provide detailed instructions.
Samples must be submitted in N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services soil boxes, which are available from all county Cooperative Extension offices and from the Agronomic Division office at 4300 Reedy Creek Road in Raleigh. Reports are posted online in PALS.