What Sampling Tool Do You Use For Soil Tests?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by DavidNJ, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. DavidNJ

    DavidNJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 514

    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?
     
  2. ok4me2xlr8

    ok4me2xlr8 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 188

    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.
     
  3. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    Can't you just use a $5 trowel?
     
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    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?
     
  5. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    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.
     
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    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.
     
  7. DavidNJ

    DavidNJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 514

    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:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    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.
     
  9. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    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.
     
  10. DavidNJ

    DavidNJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 514

    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.
     

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