Free pH Soil Testing Program for 2020 Extended to September 30

A free soil testing program for Hancock County residents is being provided in collaboration with HCSWCD, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and University of Maine Cooperative Extension. A volunteer from HCSWCD will be doing the testing.

Our Free pH Soil Testing pilot program in July was very popular!  We have extended the testing to the end of September with two 24 hour drop-off locations available.  BRING YOUR SAMPLE TO US FOR FREE PH TESTING to the USDA building, NRCS office, 474 Bucksport Rd. (Rt.1), phone 812-9710, or Maine Cooperative Extension, 63 Boggy Brook Rd., Ellsworth, phone 667-8212.

Leave soil samples in the drop-box provided at each location.  Samples will be picked up Thursday afternoons with results provided in 1 – 2 days.  

 Why Test Soils?The pH of soil is a measure of relative acidity-alkalinity. Values below 7 are acidic and above 7 are alkaline. Soils in Hancock County tend to be acidic and often can be too acidic for the flower and vegetable garden plants that we want to grow. Soil pH also has a strong influence on amounts and kinds of nutrients available for plant roots. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service provides more extensive soil testing for a small fee.

How are Soils Samples Collected? Using a clean trowel, collect soil from the root zone (0-8 inches deep) in your garden or field. In wooded areas discard the leaf litter on top and collect soil 0-8 inches deep in a clean container. Mix well to homogenize the material to be tested. Generally, for a garden or field take samples from several different areas (5 to 6 same-sized samples so you can mix for a representative sample). Put your final sample (1 cup) in a ziplock bag with your name, Town, phone number, email, and an identifier for your samples (e.g., samples A, B, C) for each location of the samples.

What do the Test Results Mean? Compare your results to the tables (available at the testing site) for the plants that you want to grow. If you feel you need to treat your soil, contact NRCS or Cooperative Extension for further tests and recommendations on soil amendments.  Consider submitting a soil sample to the Coop Ext Lab for more detailed analysis.