Help & Commonly Asked Questions


1. How do I contact the Lankau lab with questions? Please contact with all comments or questions.

2. Can I collect anytime of year? Collections must be done while the trees have green leaves.

3. Does it have to be a forested area? Collections can be done in yards (with owner permission) or in parks (with city permission) only if there is an unmowed lawn.

4. Why do I need to know my exact location? We use the exact GPS coordinates to determine climate and soil conditions.

5. What if I am an unable to identify the tree? We will be able to identify the tree species from DNA obtained from roots. 

6. Can I enter more than one sample from the same tree?  Please combine the samples. We only need a maximum of 1/4 cup of soil for each tree species at each location. 

7. How long after collecting should I send samples (i.e. expiration date?) Yes. There is an expiration date on samples. The lab must receive soils for processing within 7-10 days of collection. Please calculate in shipping to include this time.

9. What if I make a mistake after I have submitted a sample? Please contact

10. How long will it take before I know the results? We are still working on how to give the public back the results for this project. We will be contacting you! 

11. What if I am unable to dig down in the soil? All soils are different and are dependent on region, climate conditions and plant species. Dig as deep as you can and take samples.

12. What are the requirements for the proximity of another tree? Don’t be concerned about being close to other tree species if trees are bunched. We will use DNA barcodes to determine the tree species.

13. Am I allowed to take soil samples from public, state, or national lands?  You are allowed to take soil samples ONLY with permission.

If sampling from a national forest, we must get permission from the National Forest that you would like to sample. We can contact them and ask permission. We will need much advanced notice to allow for time to contact and receive permission.

If sampling from a state forest or park, you can just call the facilities and ask permission. If you would prefer, we are happy to make the call.

If sampling from private property, you must gain permission of the owner. You can either contact the facilities yourself or if you would prefer, we are happy to make the call.