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View Full Version : Soil test results, what should I do?


zanemoseley
06-13-2010, 10:42 PM
So I got my soil tested, once for the front yard and once for the rear. I have mainly TN red clay with an inch or so of decent top soil above that. I only tested the top 3" or so as that's what I'm worried about for now to get a stand of grass. So do you guys see anything I should do this Fall besides aerating, overseeding and fertilizing?

Ratings are in Pounds Per Acre.

Front Yard:
PH: 6.7
P: 17 (Low)
K: 120 (Medium)
Ca: 3371 (Sufficient)
Mg: 271 (Sufficient)

Back Yard:
PH: 6.5
P: 24 (Medium)
K: 164 (High)
Ca: 2081 (Sufficient)
Mg: 214 (Sufficient)

They recommend not liming at this time for Tall Fescue, do you guys agree? They also give some fertilizer recommendations. Since my P/K values are fairly good should I stay away from a starter fertilizer (15-20-10) when I overseed?

Kiril
06-14-2010, 09:08 AM
You should test the top 6-8 inches unless you have a really good reason not to (the one you gave is not a good reason).

You certainly don't need lime, nor do you need anything else with the possible exception of N. You still need to get a more complete test done as these results do not give you enough information to make an informed management decision.

WirelessG
06-14-2010, 03:47 PM
You should be able to find a test kit that measures N, which is a pretty important component. I tested mine earlier this year and there was no N whatsoever. I held off on fertilizing my lawn for the last year and a half because of fungus problems. I still have the fungus problems (leaf spot on St Aug), but I went ahead with the fertilizer since the grass was struggling so much. I also followed with a fungicide.

Specop_007
06-14-2010, 04:43 PM
I'm curious how did you get your soil tested? Did you have someone do it or did you buy on of those "at home" kits?

WirelessG
06-14-2010, 05:32 PM
I bought an test kit from the local nursery. It cost $25 and tested pH, N, P, and K. There's enough chemical to run 10 sets of tests. I read in a review that the kit HD sells is not very reliable. If you run your own test you need to (or should) use distilled water. I ran a pH on the distilled and my tap water and found them both to be at 8. I would also suggest you run the other tests one time on straight water just to make sure the water doesn't have a high N/P/K concentrations that will skew your results.

Kiril
06-14-2010, 07:11 PM
Those home kits are essentially worthless, nor will they even begin to give you a complete picture of your soils N status.

Specop_007
06-14-2010, 07:17 PM
Those home kits are essentially worthless, nor will they even begin to give you a complete picture of your soils N status.

What would you recommend then? Take a soil sample into your local ag office?

Kiril
06-14-2010, 07:19 PM
What would you recommend then? Take a soil sample into your local ag office?

Learn how to adequately sample an area and send sample(s) into a reputable lab. There are labs all over the country, which include most major universities.

Specop_007
06-14-2010, 08:01 PM
Learn how to adequately sample an area and send sample(s) into a reputable lab. There are labs all over the country, which include most major universities.

Wow, so after a bit of searching going that route is much more cost effective than I had thought it would be. I can get a good test done for less than a decent meal out!

zanemoseley
06-14-2010, 09:32 PM
I got the soil tested from the UT extension office.

Kiril, what additional test should I go with next time? I didn't go deeper because I didn't have a probe and didn't want to dig a hole in my yard for the sample. I understand you need to go deeper long term but am currently more worried about getting the soil established in the upper levels.

What will a N test tell me beside I have crappy soil? I have a limited number of #'s of N per 1,000 ft I can put down a year on Fescue, I figure roughly 3lb without irrigation. Its not as if I can dump out a ton of ammonium nitrate to boost the N in the soil.

So as long as my Cal/mg number are sufficient should my grass have access the the P/K in the soil?

Kiril
06-15-2010, 09:36 AM
I got the soil tested from the UT extension office.

Kiril, what additional test should I go with next time? I didn't go deeper because I didn't have a probe and didn't want to dig a hole in my yard for the sample. I understand you need to go deeper long term but am currently more worried about getting the soil established in the upper levels.

What will a N test tell me beside I have crappy soil? I have a limited number of #'s of N per 1,000 ft I can put down a year on Fescue, I figure roughly 3lb without irrigation. Its not as if I can dump out a ton of ammonium nitrate to boost the N in the soil.

So as long as my Cal/mg number are sufficient should my grass have access the the P/K in the soil?

If you are using USUAL then I would start with tests #5 or #6 .... then based on the results and what needs to be managed/adjusted, determine what future testing may be needed. For example, you might only need test #1 or #2 for follow-up monitoring, and occasionally a test 5 to check overall status of the soil.

zanemoseley
06-16-2010, 01:35 PM
Kiril, are these the tests from USUAL you are refering to? So you would recommend the pH + ECe + SAR (Test #6)? What does ECe and SAR tell you?


http://www.usual.usu.edu/prices/SOILPRICES.pdf

Kiril
06-16-2010, 02:53 PM
Kiril, are these the tests from USUAL you are refering to? So you would recommend the pH + ECe + SAR (Test #6)? What does ECe and SAR tell you?


http://www.usual.usu.edu/prices/SOILPRICES.pdf

Yes, from USUAL. EC = electrical conductivity which tells you about over all salt content (salinity) ... SAR = sodium adsorption ratio which will tell you about potential problems with sodium (sodicity). You don't necessarily need the SAR test, but it wouldn't hurt to know it.
In short, either #5 or #6 will be adequate to establish a baseline.