1.6 Probe Depth

A simple way to assess soil compaction and depth of top soil (a DIY penetrometer). Soils become more open/easier to penetrate as health improves. Lower compaction (tightness) is associated with well structured soil, as soil structure in the long term is a product of biological activity. Where lots of stones are present this method is less effective.

What to record

  • Depth of soil probe in cm.
  • Photo


  • Soil Probe or Soil Sampler
  • Ruler/tape measure

How to do the test

1. Locate your chosen sample site – you can use the GPS mapping feature on the app to do this if you’ve recorded the sample locations previously.

2. Insert probe/sampler to full depth, with a standard amount of force (typically full body weight).

3. Withdraw probe from soil, while marking the insertion depth.

4. Hold tape or ruler against your mark and record value in the app.

5. Take a photo using app