How to take a soil sample

An auger (drill) is the best instrument for taking soil samples. Using an auger, many samples can be taken in a variety of locations without collecting too much soil. A shovel or spade can also be used if you don’t have an auger.

Sampling procedure for nematodes. In most cases several samples are needed per hectare. Each sample contains several (10-60) soil cores, depending on the crop. Per sample (one per ha), the cores are taken in a randomly distributed pattern according to an imaginary grid laid out over the hectare. The soil sample preferably includes roots, as this increases the chance for detection of certain nematode species. Samples are ideally taken in the root zone when crops are on the field, at times with active root growth or by the end of the growing season. Sampling should be limited to the depth of cultivation, about 25 cm deep. Each sample (60 cores) contains a total of about 1 kilogram of soil and roots.
In horticultural crops, take at least three samples (40-60 cores each) per hectare.
In agricultural crops, one sample (40 to 60 cores) per hectare is needed. To detect potato cysts, take one sample comprised of 100 soil cores across the hectare. This will total about 1500 ml of soil per hectare. In general, the more soil cores (subsamples), the higher the chances of detecting the nematodes.
In orchards, sample the soil around at least 5 trees per hectare. For each tree, take about 10 cores at various locations around the trunk, in the area where the roots are. The sample should at least contain a minimum of 250 g soil and 10 g roots.

Standard fungal analysis. Take one sample (60 cores) per hectare. It is best to use a 20 mm or 25 mm soil core sampler at a depth of 0 to 20 cm. You will collect 2 - 2.5 litres of soil per ha. Please contact the lab for specific requests related to your situation.

Delivering samples. Place the samples in separate plastic bags (one per sample; each sample contains several cores in the same bag). Label each bag clearly with the following: sample number, crop, date and other information you think is relevant. Information such as crop rotation, recent soil fumigation, location of plots, etc. is also very useful. That information can be noted on a separate sheet or on the information sheet (pdf). Deliver the samples as soon as possible. Place them in a cooler during warm days and keep them as cool as possible, even during transportation.