Methods and Equipment

Quality Assurance/Quality Control:

SHL has a QA/QC plan to ensure that the results we report are accurate. If you believe that your results may be erroneous, we will reanalyze them at no additional charge.

SHL participates in the NAPT soil and plant programs. Samples are submitted quarterly, and any methods in which values were not in range are examined for sources of error. Contact the lab for up-to-date information on our PAP-accreditation status. 

   SHL’S QA/QC Plan

Methods used in the Soil Health Laboratory:

The Soil Health Laboratory has standard methods that we use for sample analysis. If there is a different method that you would like used, please contact us to see if it will be possible. If you would like a method used that the laboratory has not used before, you will need to pay for the time needed to develop the method and any QA/QC parameters required.

Methods Used in the Soil Health Laboratory


Instruments used in the Soil Health Lab include:

CNS: Elementar Vario Macro Cube

Analyzes ~100mg of solid, dried, ground plant or soil samples for total C, N, and S. We use total C to estimate % organic matter. 

TOC/TON: Shimadzu TOC-V CSH and TNM-1

Analyzes soil extracts or water samples for total organic carbon and total organic nitrogen.

pH/EC: Hanna HI5522

Analyzes soil or water samples for active or exchangeable pH and slurry EC.

Microwave digestor: Anton Paar MultiwaveGO

Digests samples in preparation for total elemental analysis. Extracts analyzed on ICP-OES.


ICP-OES: Agilent 5110 VDV ICP-OES

Analyzes dissolved liquid plant and soil extracts and water samples for a variety of elements: P, K, Ca, Na, Mg, Mn, Cu, Zn, Fe, B, As, Cd, Ni, Pb, Mo, and other elements on request.

VWR V1200 Spectrophotometer

Analyzes soil extracts or water samples for colorimetric reactions. Used in POxC, ammonium-nitrogen, nitrate-nitrogen, and phosphate-phosphorus.

Dry ash/LOI: Thermolyne F-A1730

Heats soil samples and plant samples to the ashing temperature for estimates of soil organic matter and analysis of the inorganic elemental composition of plants. Plant extracts analyzed on ICP-OES.