Service Info

Soil Testing

Soil Testing

At Owego & Endicott Agway, we offer FREE pH Soil Testing. You can bring your samples to both locations and our trained staff members will test your samples and call you when the results are available. We can also offer recommendations on any action you should take to adjust the soils pH---depending on what type of crop you are planting!

Why is soil pH important?

  • pH is the measure of Soil Acidity. If the pH level in the soil is too high or too low, plants will not be able to effectively use available nutrients from fertilizer. 

(Meaning fertilizers will be ineffective or wasted if correct levels of pH are not maintained.)

  • Erosion, Leaching Soil, Growing & Harvesting Crops, and Surrounding Plant Crops can affect the availability of important nutrients your soil needs for plants to thrive.
  • Most soil nutrients are available at the highest rate when your pH level is near 6.8-7.2 which is considered to be within the neutral range. 
  • Most Flowers, Vegetables, Ornamental Trees & Shrubs, as well as turf grasses prefer the soils pH to be slightly more acidic, but not too high as this can affect their growth. They typically prefer levels ranging from 5.6-7.5 depending on what type of plant it is. 
  • However, some plants such as Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Hydrangeas, Blueberries & Potatoes prefer the soil pH levels to be more acidic with levels ranging from a 4.5-6. (As long as the level is below 7 these crops should do fine.) 

When we test the soil sample you bring us we will ask you what type of plant or grass you are planting/growing near where the sample was taken and we can direct you as to what you need to do to adjust the pH accordingly.

Soil Sampling Instructions:

  • When taking samples, be sure to keep them separate from each other. 

(Meaning if you are bringing samples from your Rose bushes, as well as your garden and or lawn, you should package them in separate bags to get accurate readings for each crop.) 

  • You also should collect from 1-2 different spots surrounding the specific crop or area you want tested. Again…keeping them separate for the most accurate reading. 
  • When taking the sample, you should try to get dirt from a depth of about 2-3 inches into the soil.
  • Approximately ¼ cup of soil is all we would need to test. We recommend that you place the sample in a clean Ziploc baggie and label them A, B, C…etc. depending on what area the test sample comes from. It also helps us and yourself if you label what type of crop each baggie of soil the pH is being tested for. 

(So if you are bringing different samples from your garden—such as one spot where you plant tomatoes, and another spot where you plant potatoes…label them as such so we can test each one for accurate results.)

  • Another tip is to avoid taking samples from very wet soils, soil that has recently been fertilized, or soils from the edges of your crops plot. 
  • Please also try to limit the number of samples brought in at once to 6. We ask you to limit to this number as each sample has to dry out prior to being tested, and we are limited to how many samples we can allow to dry and test at once. 
agway lime

Products Used to Adjust Soil pH:

Agway® Fast Acting Lime
Benefits of Fast Acting Lime vs. Pelletized Lime:

  • The small, uniform granule size allows for consistant coverage. 
  • It is easy to spread using any standard spreader (for lawns) or a pouch spreader (for gardens)
  • Fast Acting Lime requires you to use less than traditional pelletized lime. 
  • One 24.4# Bag covers approximently 5,000 Square Feet. {Opposed to traditional Pelletized Lime that requires  an application rate of 40#’s per 1,000 Square Feet of area.}
  • It breaks down in the soil faster than traditional lime as well, and can raise pH level up a full point in as little as 2 weeks. 
  • It also will not make soil Alkaline—meaning it will not raise the pH level above 7.0. 
  • Also available in a 2.5# Bag that will cover approximately 400 Square Feet for smaller spaces.
pelletized lime

Agway® Pelletized Lime


  • Pelletized Limestone offers the best quality and value over pulverized and granular lime. 
  • Pellets are easy to spread, with very little dust. 
  • The water-activated pellets will begin working immediately after being exposed to moisture and will typically break down completely within 6 months after application. 
  • Dolomitic lime adds calcium and magnesium to the soil (Both are important nutrients not typically found in fertilizers.) 
  • One 40# Bag covers approximately 1,000 Square Feet.

Espoma® Organic Soil Acidifier


  • Espoma Soil Acidifier is the finest, most effective soil acidifier available. It contains all natural minerals that can be used to correct the problem of alkaline soil. 
  • Alkaline soils are clay soils with high pH, (normally testing at or above 8.5) poor soil structure, and a low infiltration capacity—otherwise known as tight soils. 
  • Works great for Hydrangeas & Blueberries, as well as many other acid loving plants.
  • Turns Hydrangeas Blue.
  • Lowers the pH of soils for optimum growth of acid-loving plants.
  • Provides a safe, & long-lasting source of sulfur.
  • Safer for use than Aluminum Sulfate.