Microbial Reports

Just as a healthy gut biome is needed for human health, a complete soil microbiome gives your plants the best chance of being healthy. Soil microbes are responsible for breaking down organic matter, supplying plants with macro-and-micronutrients, aerating plant roots, increasing the water-holding capacity of soil, and fighting off pests and diseases. Unfortunately, many urban or disturbed soils lack a diverse and abundant soil food web. When you know what your soils are missing, it’s more likely that you can address the problems and monitor its recovery.

A soil microbial report looks at the abundance and diversity of microorganisms of your soil, compost, or compost tea/extract. Shady Lane does in-house, Soil Food Web certified testing of microbial diversity and abundance in soil samples. Testing can also be performed on compost and liquid biological amendments (compost extract and teas).

Images of soil microbes at 400X total magnification, Colleen Dempster


Report Packages

All reports include quantification and interpretation of the following organisms:

  • Total bacterial biomass (µg/g)
  • Active fungal biomass (µg/g)
  • Oomycetes (disease-causing fungi) (µg/g)
  • Actinobacterial biomass (ug/g)
  • Total beneficial protozoa: flagellates and amoebae (number/g)
  • Beneficial nematodes: bacterial-feeding, fungal-feeding, predatory, other (number/g)
  • Pathogenic nematodes: root-feeding (number/g)
  • Fungal to bacterial ratio

Example Standard Microbiology Report


Standard Microbial Analysis (you collect)

For this assessment we ask that you read the instructions to collect and ship your samples. Due to not needing Shady Lane staff on-site, the price is lower but you get a bit less information and are responsible for shipping costs.

Read the attached documents for collection and shipping instructions.

You Collect: Sampling and Shipping instructions



Microbial Analysis Plus  (we collect)

Includes all measurement in the Standard Microbial Analysis plus pH and compaction.

Must be taken by Shady Lane Staff upon a site visit. If possible, we combine this site visit with being on site or in the area for other reasons. This is especially useful for current clients.

Contact Shady Lane today to add a microbial analysis to your next site-visit. We will help you develop a plan on what should be sampled and how often.


Standard Microbial Analysis $150 – You collect

Microbial Analysis Plus $185 – We collect


What can I do with my results?

What we hope to see is a complete soil food web, that contains all the main functional groups of organisms including predators, for optimum nutrient cycling, disease reduction and soil-building capacity. We also hope to see fungi and bacteria in the correct ratio for the plants you wish to grow. Trees need a fungal to bacterial ratio greater than one, whereas weeds may thrive in soils that are bacterial-dominated.

You can use your microbial reports to:

  • Understand the biological capacity of your soil, determine if anything is missing from the soil food web
  • Inform the most appropriate follow-up strategies to restore soil microbes and their functions
  • Determine the true quality of a purchased compost
  • Determine the quality and safety of your compost tea/extracts
  • Monitor the effects of soil amendments on your trees/crops over time
  • Study the effect of different soil treatments/programs on soil biology

Read more: Microbial Analysis Fact Sheet


Follow-up with Organic Soil Solutions

At Shady Lane, we put extra focus on identifying and fixing the root of the problem. If soil is lacking in microbial diversity, we have a multi-faceted program to restore the natural beneficial processes of a healthy soil food web. Starting with a soil microbiological analysis, we custom-create a plan to restore your soil. This plan may include compost tea applications with added mycorrhizal inoculants to increase the number of beneficial fungi in the soil, and the addition of high-quality compost and/or mulch around the base of your trees. We work with our clients to develop a program that works for them.

Contact Shady Lane for a consultation to develop your custom Organic Soil Solutions program.

Take me to the Organic Soil Solutions page.