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View Full Version : What Sampling Tool Do You Use For Soil Tests?


DavidNJ
11-23-2010, 04:20 AM
I've seen tools from about $50 to $1500 with most between $150 and $500. Which do you use, why did you select it, and where did you purchase it?

ok4me2xlr8
11-23-2010, 10:02 AM
Go to your local southern states and borrow one and if you really want one they will sell you one and I found them to be cheaper than everyone else.

Darryl G
11-23-2010, 10:31 AM
Can't you just use a $5 trowel?

Kiril
11-23-2010, 10:33 AM
I've seen tools from about $50 to $1500 with most between $150 and $500. Which do you use, why did you select it, and where did you purchase it?

I get all my sampling tools from AMS.

http://www.ams-samplers.com/

What are you looking to do? I will assume collect basic samples for lab testing and/or check the soil profile? What kind of soil do you typically deal with?

Darryl G
11-23-2010, 11:10 AM
I was being serious about just using a trowel BTW. In a "former life" I was an expert at both soil and ground water sampling. Sampling just about anything in fact. If you're just trying to get a shallow soil sample, nothing fancy is required.

Kiril
11-23-2010, 11:27 AM
I was being serious about just using a trowel BTW. In a "former life" I was an expert at both soil and ground water sampling. Sampling just about anything in fact. If you're just trying to get a shallow soil sample, nothing fancy is required.

If you were an expert, then you know a "standard" soil sample (for lab analysis) is taken at a 6-8" depth in sets of 15-20 samples. A hand trowel is hardly the best tool for the job, especially if it is not stainless steal.

If you are a home owner, then make due, but if you are a professional, get the right tool for the job.

DavidNJ
11-23-2010, 11:28 AM
I was being serious about just using a trowel BTW. In a "former life" I was an expert at both soil and ground water sampling. Sampling just about anything in fact. If you're just trying to get a shallow soil sample, nothing fancy is required.

The trowel makes a rather big hole and has lots of trouble getting through the clay. The testing labs (Rutgers,UMass, etc.) seem to recommend opening a hole with a spade and then getting a trowel sample if you don't have a tool.

I crafted one from some tubing, however probably do big an opening and not an adequate way to extract. I probably could get a piece of 1"OD .120 wall tubing, bevel the edge, grind or cut an opening, and either hammer it down or try to weld a handle.

AMS has a similar one with a handle for about $65 with shipping. The place I'm getting my seed has ones that are $75-100. I found one made from Bayco Golf, no idea if they make it, for under $40.

However, do I need one with a foot step or slide hammer? Do I need an soil ejector tool? Am I going to deep (about 6")? Should I use a smaller 1/2" diameter turf probe? Or is that really for greens and will break if used in a clay lawn?

This, which says it has an ejector, is $112 on ebay:

http://i.ebayimg.com/20/!B8hoM9gBWk~$(KGrHqZ,!lcEy+jCzJ5oBM3T2DhHiw~~0_12.JPG

Kiril
11-23-2010, 11:36 AM
The trowel makes a rather big hole and has lots of trouble getting through the clay. The testing labs (Rutgers,UMass, etc.) seem to recommend opening a hole with a spade and then getting a trowel sample if you don't have a tool.

I crafted one from some tubing, however probably do big an opening and not an adequate way to extract. I probably could get a piece of 1"OD .120 wall tubing, bevel the edge, grind or cut an opening, and either hammer it down or try to weld a handle.

AMS has a similar one with a handle for about $65 with shipping. The place I'm getting my seed has ones that are $75-100. I found one made from Bayco Golf, no idea if they make it, for under $40.

However, do I need one with a foot step or slide hammer? Do I need an soil ejector tool? Am I going to deep (about 6")? Should I use a smaller 1/2" diameter turf probe? Or is that really for greens and will break if used in a clay lawn?

This, which says it has an ejector, is $112 on ebay:

Forget about that ebay "thing".

Get the right tool for the job. Which one is appropriate depends on what you are using it for and what type of soil you typically deal with.

Darryl G
11-23-2010, 11:49 AM
From what I can gather, the OP, David, is in fact a homeowner. He did not state what the purpose of the soil samples was, but I presumed it was for nutrient and/or grain size analysis.

I have used about every soil sampling method there is...hand augers, machine augers, driven slotted spoons, driven split spoons, driven sleeved spoons. The most simple and reliable manually operated samplers I used were the hand operated augers, although they provide a disturbed sample.

The sampling I did was more geared towards environmental contaminant analysis and for geotechnical purposes rather than agricultural purposes.

DavidNJ
11-23-2010, 12:52 PM
I've been thinking the hand auger over the probe. However they raise the price point. It is that damn clay. I don't think that trowel thing would work beyond a quarter acre once a year.

Yes. Homeowner with 1.7 acres, 60+k sqft of lawn, 6k sqft of driveway, Turf Tracer 60, Echo 770, push blower, etc.

DavidNJ
11-23-2010, 01:07 PM
This the Bayco Golf unit:

Kiril
11-23-2010, 02:41 PM
Then just get a step probe.

http://www.ams-samplers.com/itemgroup.cfm?CNum=56&catCNum=7

DavidNJ
11-23-2010, 02:57 PM
Those have a foot peg and are made of 4130 alloy. The others don't stipulate the material, presumably 1030?

What depth do you sample to for lawns? 4"? 6"? 1" past the maximum observed root growth?

Kiril
11-23-2010, 03:04 PM
6-8" is the standard sample depth for turf, although one could make a case for sampling the 6-12 depth as well depending on soil type.

Landscape Poet
11-23-2010, 09:50 PM
May not be the perfect unit, but it gets the job done for me. I would assume it would meet or exceed the average home owners needs.

http://www.drillspot.com/products/628418/ams_40104_regular_soil_recovery_probe?s=1

DavidNJ
11-23-2010, 10:24 PM
May not be the perfect unit, but it gets the job done for me. I would assume it would meet or exceed the average home owners needs.

http://www.drillspot.com/products/628418/ams_40104_regular_soil_recovery_probe?s=1

It is an AMS. 4130, nickel-plated with that heavy duty handle? A rather good one.


http://images.drillspot.com/pimages/4480/448017_300.jpg

grassman177
11-24-2010, 12:43 AM
that is pretty nice, and i need to get a tool of this nature for some promoting of soil sampling and soil building services to my clients who have unfortunately got the crap soil from the builder in their new house!

DavidNJ
11-24-2010, 01:47 AM
that is pretty nice, and i need to get a tool of this nature for some promoting of soil sampling and soil building services to my clients who have unfortunately got the crap soil from the builder in their new house!

I'd put together a Powerpoint presentation, and arrange to give it at some local community center (school, church, etc.). Get the local paper to put a paragraph in about it a week or two in advance. A flyer in the local supermarkets, maybe a few hundred mailbox stuffers.

In the presentation educate, don't sell. Explain soil tests and remidations. core aeration, verticuting, overseeding. Different seed types, mixtures, and qualities. Different pre and post emergent weed preventers. Different diseases and treatments. Different insect vulnerabilites and insecticides. Different tools, rentals. Different landscaping services. Maybe three hours with a break just after halfway.

The close with your contact info (including e-mail) if they have any questions. You should have a full dance card in a short order. With customers who a) are aware of the services you offer and may understand them and b) thing you know what you are talking about and are competent.

grassman177
11-24-2010, 10:26 AM
good idea, maybe farther than i want to go with it at the moment, but no one else here even pays attention or even thinks of the soil as one of the main culprits to how grass performs and plants in general. i have the knowledge from my college with soil science asone of the classes.

not only is it a way to make money, it can further the way customers look at you by knowing you are super serious about lawn care and understanding the BIG picture behind it all. it will separate a company from the rest imo, which is what i have been doing all along ahha

DavidNJ
11-24-2010, 11:45 AM
Selling non-cosmetic services requires educating the client. Are they more likely to spend $1000 for tri-coat pearlescent paint or electronic stability control?