Lab Testing and Identification

Soil Sampling and Lab Tests

UW – Soil and Plant Analysis Laboratory

The Polk County Extension Office has soil sample bags that are available free to the public, which contain directions and bags that are used to send in your soil to be tested. Please come to the Extension Office at the Government Center in Balsam Lake to get your soil testing kit.

Tests are available to home gardeners and commercial horticulture businesses. Using a soil test can:

  • Save you money on fertilizer by customizing your fertilizer applications to your specific soil and the plants or crops you will be growing
  • Help you optimize the growth of your plants by identifying any nutrient deficiencies
  • Minimize the effects of fertilizing on the natural environment by helping you avoid fertilizer application in excess of what is needed. Excess fertilizer can pollute your groundwater and our community lakes and streams.

If you need help understanding the soil test results, you may call or email the UW Madison- Extension Horticulture Educator in Polk County.

Insect Pest Identification

UW – Department of Entomology Insect Diagnostic Lab

This website has great pictures and recommendations that can help you identify the insect of concern in your home.  If you cannot identify your insect, please bring it to the Polk County Extension Office for identification. Using an old film container or small jar is the best so that the insect stays intact.

Plant Disease Lab Testing

UW – Plant Disease and Diagnostic Clinic

This web site has great pictures and recommendations that can help you identify the plant diseases of concern. Tree and plant samples can be sent into the  Extension Plant Clinic to confirm with a laboratory analysis what specific disease the plants may have. A fee is charged for this service. If there are still questions regarding the plant disease, please contact the Polk County UW Extension Office, 715-485-8600.

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