The Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station (MAFES) Analytical Laboratory and Maine Soil Testing Service analyzes soil, plant tissue, compost, manure, irrigation water, wood ash, fertilizers, organic residuals and other materials for nutrient content, organic matter, lead and other trace elements. We provide analytical services at reasonable prices to the public and to researchers.


Summer 2022

Happy Summer to all our customers. We are now well into the growing season. The soil has warmed and normal biological activity has resumed. A living healthy soil, properly fed, can supply the proper balance of nutrients to growing plants. A Comprehensive Soil Test is the best option this time of year, to monitor the levels of all essential nutrients and recommend the proper amendments to adjust pH, organic matter, and nutrient levels to the OPTIMUM range.

Many fertilizers and other soil amendments have tripled in price since last year. Testing your soil is the best way to avoid paying for unnecessary amendments. It is just as important to know what you don’t need as it is to know what you do need to add for maximum productivity.

The most common problem we see this time of year is nitrogen deficiency – especially in vegetable production. This can be caused by a variety of factors, but is often due to overreliance on compost. Compost is a great soil amendment, but often does not supply sufficient nitrogen. It’s not too late to amend your soil by applying any recommended fertilizer alongside your growing plants as a “side dress”, followed by light mixing and watering.

A healthy soil is a productive soil. A quick check on soil health is provided by our Soil Biology add-on test, which measures microbial respiration over 24 hours, after rewetting dry soil. Guidelines for managing soil organic matter quality are included with this test.

Our lab also provides testing services for Soil and Compost Metals Screening, Irrigation water quality, Compost, Manure, and Plant foliar nutrient content.

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Sample Submission Forms

Understanding Recommendations

The laboratory is located in Deering Hall on the University of Maine campus. (driving directions). Samples may be mailed to us or dropped off at room 25. We are available Monday through Friday between 8 and 5.

Your data is confidential as described in the Laboratory’s Privacy and Delineation of Responsibility Policy. We use standardized methodology and, as part of our data Quality Assurance program, we participate in the North American Proficiency Testing (NAPT) program.

Soil, Plant and Environmental Soil Program 2015