Tips on Shipping Soil



During the busy time of year, it gets very hectic in the receiving end of the laboratory opening the mail to prepare soil for testing.  Our efficiency in receiving and processing the samples is greatly improved when the samples are submitted in the proper manner.  Some DO and DO NOT tips on sending samples are shown below.



a.  use the 6 and 18 unit shipping boxes* we provide.

b.  use a minimum amount of tape to secure the outside of the shipping boxes.

c.  make sure each box contains the forms or the packing slip for only the samples in the box.  If you send more than one shipping box, we may not open the boxes in succession.

d.  verify the County Code and County Sample number are on the sample bag or box and the form or packing slip.

e.  place packing material in or around any vacant spaces in the shipping box to prevent accidental opening and contamination of soil samples.

*Preferred because they only allow shipping samples that are one layer deep.  If you have shipping boxes that handle samples that are just one layer, that is okay.  What we don’t want are large boxes with samples stacked more than one layer deep.  This causes the box to be very heavy and samples have a tendency to break open.



a.  use large boxes for shipping soil samples.  Disadvantages with use of the large boxes include 1) potential loss of sample with jostling that occurs upon shipping, 2) inefficiency in organizing the samples to get logged in, and 3) weight of box can be over the limit our technicians are allowed to carry.

b.  use large amounts of tape to wrap around the shipping box or sample bag or box.  Several layers of tape takes valuable time in opening and it reduces our ability to reuse the shipping boxes.

c.  staple, tape, or rubber band sample forms to the individual samples.  This is a time killer since we have to remove each individual form from its sample bag.

d.  place Ziploc or plastic bags with soil inside the soil sample boxes.

e.  send samples for Nematode analysis or the Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory to the Soil Testing Laboratory.