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.

MAFES Analytical Lab and Maine Soil Testing Service are Open for Business

Covid-19 Effects on Operations

We have maintained normal operations as an Essential Service throughout the spring, summer and fall in order to serve the farming and gardening communities and local food production. We are continuing to receive, process, and report samples normally for customers in Maine and throughout the Northeast. We encourage you to ship your samples directly to us, though we do maintain a drop off container outside Deering Hall for local samples.

Fall/Winter 2020

We have had a substantial increase in sample numbers over the summer and fall, as home gardeners and local farmers are seeking to maximize productivity. This is in response to a major increase in demand for local food production in Maine and elsewhere. We have been working with many first-time gardeners this year, as well as long-established customers. We appreciate your business and will do our best to return your test results and recommendations in a timely manner. Please be patient as we work through this busy season.

This is good time of year to test your soil, especially if you experienced problems during the past growing season. Most nutrients carry over very well from one year to the next, except for nitrate. Most of the nitrate present in the fall will be lost by the following spring. In fall and spring, the Standard Soil Test is the most economical way to check pH, organic matter and all other essential nutrients. You will receive recommendations for soil amendments to adjust all nutrients, including nitrogen, to the optimum range for growth and productivity. Nitrogen recommendations are modified based on organic matter level.

Most high tunnel growers are transitioning from high heat summer crops to winter greens and root crops. The Basic High Tunnel test includes a check on nutrient salt buildup and a direct check on nitrate carryover, along with all other major and micronutrients. Enhanced recommendations are provided to support the much higher levels of productivity and increased nutrient demands in this growing environment.

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.

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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