DCS & Associates Online Nutritional Recommendation Program

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DCS is now offering custom nutritional interpretation, recommendations and spreadsheet tracking for soil you ship to us.  Whether you operate a golf course, a recreational facility, a farm, a community or organic garden, a landscaping company or grow plants for any purpose, we are here to help you uncover what’s going on in your soil and troubleshoot any problems that you may be experiencing.  

Ship or deliver your samples to our office and we will have them tested for Ph, organic matter, macronutrients and micronutrients at a laboratory accredited by the Government of Ontario. In approximately three weeks you will be provided with nutritional recommendations that will include suggestions for nutrient applications appropriate to your operation.

Lab reports will be returned to you along with a spreadsheet comparing your data to guidelines specific to your operation and based on the latest science. Your data and spreadsheet will be kept on file here at DCS, for future use in nutritional tracking and recommendations.

Download one of our submission forms and see our detailed sampling and packing instructions below, then use your preferred method to ship them to our office.  (See our recommendations below for shipping as lightly and tightly as possible.)

If you wish to use your soil test data for compliance with the Nutrient Management Act, we are able to provide full OMAFRA accredited testing.  Please contact us for a quote.  In addition to soil, we are also able to test compost, manure, fertilizers and surface water as they contribute to the health of your soil.  Please get in touch with us by email or telephone for these requests.


$125.00 per sample + HST ($141.25)

Please include a cheque payable to David C. Smith when you ship your soil, or email sharon@dcsturf.com with an e-transfer. Make sure to indicate the name of your operation on the cheque or e-transfer, as it appears on your sample submission form.

How to take samples

Walk or drive the sampling area, and with your trowel or soil probe, collect 10 or more 4” – 7” deep soil cores. (We generally recommend 6” cores, but you should adjust your sampling depth to capture the rootzone or plogh depth, avoiding the subsoil below.) Make sure to obtain a good representational sample of the whole area. (See diagram.) Put the composite sample in the paper bag provided. If your area is larger than ten acres, or if you are interested in learning about variations in the soil throughout the area, collect multiple composite samples of the same field. In some cases you will need a rubber hammer to push the probe deep enough into the soil.

For golf courses: Sample Greens, Tees and Fairways separately, pulling several 4” to 7” inch deep cores from each feature. (We generally recommend 6” deep cores, but you should vary your sampling depth to capture only the rootzone, avoiding the subsoil or drainage sand below.) Label the bags with the feature type and hole number, i.e. Green 6, Green 11, Tee 12, Fairway 4.

This diagram shows a farm field divided into a grid for sampling.  Arrows represent individual core samples, Ten or more cores combine to create one composite sample.

This diagram shows a farm field divided into a grid for sampling.  Arrows represent individual core samples, Ten or more cores combine to create one composite sample.

Golf courses are usually sampled by feature area. 

Golf courses are usually sampled by feature area. 

Packing and shipping

Samples should be packed together tightly so they don’t move around in the box. Use two standard paper bags, one inside the other for each sample, rolling each bag and sealing shut with and elastic band. If using laboratory-issued paper sample bags, only one bag is required per sample. Alternatively, use zip lock bags.

Label samples clearly with your name and/or the name of your farm or facility and a sample identification. Use a permanent marker to write directly on the paper bags. If using a plastic bag, include additional paper labels inside the bags, as the marker tends to rub off plastic during shipping.  Pack into a cardboard box and use newspaper to pack tightly. Ship samples, along with your cheque and submission form to:

DCS & Associates

550 Musquash Rd.

Gravenhurst, Ontario 

P1P 1R2

Optional Soil Processing for Cost-Effective Shipping

For cost-effective shipping, allow your samples to dry out before packing.  Using your hands or a rubber hammer, crush and mix the soil cores from each sample bag, and reduce each sample to one and a half (1 ½) cups of soil, removing any stones, roots, thatch, plant matter or other debris. Make sure each final processed sample is a well-combined representation of each original core sample.

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Download the appropriate soil submission form here. 

You can also download a PDF version of this page. 

Soil Submission Form - GOLF

Soil Submission Form - TURFGRASS

Soil Submission Form - FARM & GARDEN

Online Nutritional Recommendation Program PDF