How to Collect a Soil Sample

Collecting a Soil Sample

This system uses a thin-wall tube sampler, called a soil probe. The sampling probe is driven to the desired sampling depth and then is withdrawn. Use the following procedure to collect soil samples with a soil probe:

  1. Insert the probe into the material to be sampled at a 45° to 90° angle from the soil surface. This orientation minimizes spillage of the sample from the sampler. Extraction of samples may require tilting of the sampler.
  2. Rotate the probe once or twice to cut a core of the material.
  3. Slowly withdraw the probe, making sure that the slot is facing upward.
  4. An acetate core may be inserted into the auger prior to sampling if the characteristics of the soils or body of water warrant. By using this technique, an intact core can be extracted.
  5. Transfer the sample into an appropriate sample or homogenization container.
  6. Transfer the discrete soil samples into an appropriate sample container.
  7. For composite samples, homogenize soil samples in a stainless steel or plastic mixing
    container using the appropriate tool (stainless steel spoon, trowel, or pestle).
  8. Measure approximately 2 US cups of the composite sample and place in a ziplock bag. Secure the ziplock bag tightly.
  9. Label and tag sample containers, and record appropriate data on soil sample data sheets (Sample ID, Name, date, depth, location, color, other observations).
  10. Complete chain of custody forms and ship as soon as possible to minimize sample holding time. Scheduled arrival time at the analytical laboratory should give as much of a holding time as possible for scheduling sample analysis.
  11. Ensure Sample ID on the sample bag matches Sample ID on the chain of custody form.