A woman in a sunhat stands in a research plot in a field. The plots are filled with different types of plants- white flowers, purple flowers and yellow flowers mingle with the greenery

Agricultural Soils Lab

The UAF Agricultural Soils Lab is located in Palmer, Alaska, at the Matanuska Experiment Farm and Extension Center.

The research at this lab focuses on understanding the nature of agricultural soils in Alaska and how different management practices influence soil function and plant growth. For example, we are investigating (1) how soil temperature influences biological activity and nutrient cycling in soil, (2) how cover crops and crop rotations affect soil health, and (3) the range of soil properties that exist across our diverse regions and agricultural systems.


Caley Gasch
Research Assistant Professor of Soil Science

Location: 1509 S. Georgeson Drive Palmer, AK 99645
Phone: 907-745-3360 (Main)


In the agricultural soils lab, we can conduct basic soil physical, chemical, and biological analyses. We have space and equipment for drying, grinding, and sieving soil, conducting various chemical tests, and setting up soil experiments (benchtop, growth chamber, and in-field). We have a variety of equipment that we deploy in the field to take in-field measurements (like temperature and water content). We also have equipment to measure plant materials and traits (seed evaluations, aboveground biomass, and root system growth/architecture).
This is not a service lab, and we don't have the capacity to provide soil analysis services to the public.

A blue latexed hand holds a bundle of roots with tweezers

A white motar and pestle sits next to a silver soil sifter filled with soil. These are tools used to process soils

Freshly prepared plot of land with a view of the mountains

Petri dishes full of seedlings only inches tall sit atop a blue tray

A shovel full of dirt exposes many roots