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Sample Collection for Trees & Shrubs

Materials required:

  • Paper to draw a map

  • An apple corer or pipe that is about 0.5 to 1.5" interior diameter

  • One resealable plastic bag per sample to be analyzed

  • Permanent marker to label bags

1. Draw a map of the area and number each tree or shrub being sampled

2. Go to the first tree or shrub. Take atleast 3 soil cores halfway between the stem/trunk and dripline (the larger the plant, the more soil cores needed for a representative sample - maybe even up to 10). To take a soil core, move aside the top layer of dead or living plant material if present and then collect only the top 3 inches of the soil with your apple corer or pipe. place these soil cores into the bag. Be sure to fill the plastic bag 1/3 to 1/2 of the way full and then it. It is very important not expel the air from the bag as this will limit the oxygen available to the biology in the sample which may result in anaerobic conditions being formed.

3. Repeat step 2 for the remainder of shrubs/trees to be sampled -- each one getting their own bag to be assessed independently.


4. All sample bags should be labeled with the name of the sample, date, and time collected on the *outside* using a permanent marker or an affixed label. Please do not put any identifying information about your sample on a piece of paper and place it inside the bag. The paper will disintegrate, become food

for microbes, and potentially change the biology of your sample. 

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