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.
Winter 2021 – 2022
Over the past year we have run an all-time record number of soil samples from Maine. We would like to thank all our customers for your loyalty and patience with us over the fall and early winter. Supply chain issues, limited facilities and labor did cause some delays. We have been able to keep current with our most time-sensitive testing, though it will take most of the winter to completely clear our remaining backlogged sample analysis.
Many first-time and long-time gardeners experienced problems with fruit and vegetable production, in part due to unusual and erratic weather during the growing season. Building and maintaining good soil health and fertility are key to creating resilient and productive field and garden soils, better able to compensate for extremes in growing conditions. A quick check on soil health is provided by our Soil Biology add-on test. Guidelines for managing soil organic matter quality are included.
If you are sampling for a High Tunnel Test over the winter or early spring, be sure to sample the entire soil profile from the surface down to 6 or 8 inches to get an overall average for the entire depth. Nutrient salts tend to accumulate in the surface 2 inches of tunnel soils, even during the winter.
When spring sampling after frost is out of the ground, the Standard Soil Test is your best testing option. In spring, soil nitrate levels are at a low ebb, until the soil warms and normal biological activity and nutrient cycling resumes. The Comprehensive Soil Test, which includes a direct measurement of soil nitrogen, is most useful and appropriate after Memorial Day.
Our lab also provides testing services for Soil Metals Screening, irrigation water quality, compost, manure, and plant foliar nutrient content.
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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.