What is a Soil Probe Used for Soil Testing?

The soil probe or auger is the most desirable tool for collecting soil samples. The soil probe works better than a shovel or trowel because these tools equally collect soil in a continuous core from the surface through the entire sampling depth with minimal disturbance of the soil. It also allows for faster sampling.

Available from mail order catalogs and garden or farm supply outlets, is the best tool for sampling. An auger will be needed if the soil is very stony or gravelly. Simply push the probe (or push and turn the auger) into the soil to the desired depth, lift up to remove the core, and place it in the clean pail. Sampling depth should be 4 to 6 inches deep for lawns, turf, or other perennial sod, or tillage depth (usually 6-10 inches) for annually tilled crops.

Some of the disadvantages of a soil probe are: it cannot be used when the soil is too wet because the soil compresses; it cannot be used when the soil is too dry because it is difficult to penetrate the soil. Soil probes also do not work well in soils that contain gravel.

soil probe

They are available through agricultural supply companies or your agriculture Extension agent may be able to help you locate a supplier. Cost is typically $35 or more.

Soil Testing Probe

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