PDA

View Full Version : Understanding my 1st soil test.


StBalor
04-15-2011, 10:07 PM
I recieved my soil sample report back from AL eastern labs today. Was wondering if you guys could give me some input on it.

Soil pH - 5.9
Buffer pH - 6.84
Phosphhorus - Low
Potassium - Very Low
Calcium - Medium
Magnesium - Optimum
Organic Matter - 2.7% - optimium range is 3 - 5%

There recomendations:

Apply 20 lbs of lime per 1000 sq. Ft. - to bring soil ph to 6.2

fertilizer recomendations - they are saying 3 applications in the fall - if i am reading this right.

1st application - 12 lbs of 10-25-15 per 1000 sq. ft.

2nd Application - 12 lbs of 10-0-20 per 1000 sq. ft.

3rd application - 8 lbs of 6-4-8 per 1000 sq. ft.

telling me best time to apply is in the fall, starting in august and other 2 applications in 1 month intervals. this is where i am confused, this soil sample was for a client wanting a new lawn. So shouldn't fertilizer be applied when installing the new lawn or am i wrong.

Please guys any input will get me on the right path so don't hesitate to give me your opinions.

Dr.NewEarth
04-16-2011, 03:51 PM
You asked last night and you didn't get any replies yet? Wow.

You probably know alot of this already, but for others...

Rake and prep the lawn area. Lime per their test recommendations...or lime regularly any-ways, as your pH is kinda low.
You need a quality lawn starter fertilizer and grade one lawn seed.

Your test does not show the nitrogen level. This is the second test I have seen here this week that does not show the nitrogen. Why?

If you put down lime, the rule of thumb is to wait a week to ten days before putting down a fertilizer containing nitrogen, or if you need to green up a lawn. The reason is that the lime depletes the nitgrogen. So, fix your pH with the lime first.

Because you are focusing on germination and root growth, the nitrogen level is lower on a starter fertilizer. If you can wait a few days, great. If not, I have put it down in these situations after I raked the lime into the prepared soil. It will still work on the seed. Others may not agree here.

I would fertilize according to the fertilizer manufacturers directions. You can put down a regular NPK top growth fertilizer once or twice,after the lawn starts growing in the spring. Also, if you are seeding you will need to spot seed bare spots later on.

I don't suggest fertilizing in the summer. Do so in the early fall and then again in the late fall with the proper fertilizers for the season.

StBalor
04-16-2011, 04:31 PM
I did not put nitrogen in my post because the spot marked Nitrogen on the soil test was blank.

I was a little confused on the part where it said to wait till fall to apply fert. I thought the whole point of having the test done was to see what the lawn needed for the grass before starting the renovation.

Dr.NewEarth
04-16-2011, 04:42 PM
O.K. I don't understand why they left the Nitrogen blank? Also, it seems like they did not give you information that was totally relevant to your planting requirements.

So, let's overlook that and focus on establishing your lawn.

You may get to the point in your career where you can eyeball a lawn and know what it needs.

You can also get a cheap test kit and a pH test from the H.D.
(watch me get flamed for saying that)

StBalor
04-16-2011, 09:20 PM
Ok, so let me see if i got this right.

Step 1: Remove exsisting lawn
Step 2: Apply lime at 20lbs per 1000 sp. ft.
Step 3: Apply 1/2 compost over entire lawn
Step 4: apply starter fert
Step 5: Mix this into soil ( with tiller )
Step 6: level lawn
Step 7: Lay seed or sod
Step 8: water
Step 9: fertilize according to recomendations in the fall
Step 10: Advize clients to have another test next year?

how does this sound?

ok4me2xlr8
04-16-2011, 10:02 PM
Ok, so let me see if i got this right.

Step 1: Remove exsisting lawn
Step 2: Apply lime at 20lbs per 1000 sp. ft.
Step 3: Apply 1/2 compost over entire lawn
Step 4: apply starter fert
Step 5: Mix this into soil ( with tiller )
Step 6: level lawn
Step 7: Lay seed or sod
Step 8: water
Step 9: fertilize according to recomendations in the fall
Step 10: Advize clients to have another test next year?

how does this sound?

Personally, I would not till after applying the fert. and lime I think that moves it to deep in the soil profile. I would probably not till at all unless the existing area is just total crap. Lastly the if your soil is anything like ours I would bump the lime app. up to about 30-40 lb per k.

Kiril
04-16-2011, 10:57 PM
No numbers (ppm) on the test?

IMO, there is nothing wrong with the pH and there is no need to lime here nor is there a need to buy a cheap ass inaccurate worthless test kit from HD.

The lime "recommendation" is there merely to show you what it would take to raise your pH to 6.2. I would not consider it a "must do" course of action, especially without looking at the Ca numbers. Without the numbers, you (or anyone else) can't really judge for yourself what is the best course of action. Lab recommendations are VERY general and should only serve as a guide at best.

StBalor
04-17-2011, 09:35 AM
wow, after all the hype on taking soil sample tests before renovating a new lawn i feel like i have still learned nothing from this test. so what was the point of the test?

Smallaxe
04-17-2011, 09:36 AM
What is the idea of buffer pH? What is that supposed to tell ya?

Smallaxe
04-17-2011, 09:37 AM
My guess about N is that it changes all the time in availability and being lost that trying to say what is there today will not be there next week...

Kiril
04-17-2011, 09:49 AM
wow, after all the hype on taking soil sample tests before renovating a new lawn i feel like i have still learned nothing from this test. so what was the point of the test?

Do you have the actual numbers for the test? Typically they are reported in ppm ... sometimes the lab will convert to lbs/acre.

Without the test, you do not know what your soil may need with respect to plant nutrients, nor how much, and you won't know what your soil is capable of.

The SOM test is one of the most important tests here, and I will typically recommend shooting for 5-10% SOM.

If you are going to till, as you have indicated, the best time to amend your soil is right before you till. Topical applications are generally far less effective with respect to soil fertility than incorporation. Your soil test shows you that P and K are low ..... now the question you need to answer is how much do you need to add? How much of those nutrients will be supplied with the compost? The numbers on the soil test, the turf type you are working with and site conditions & management practices will give you that information.

Kiril
04-17-2011, 09:50 AM
What is the idea of buffer pH? What is that supposed to tell ya?

It relates to determining your liming requirement.

StBalor
04-17-2011, 09:59 AM
ok, seems i did forget to post the numbers. let me know if this makes a difference.

I recieved my soil sample report back from AL eastern labs today. Was wondering if you guys could give me some input on it.

Soil pH - 5.9
Buffer pH - 6.84
Phosphhorus 21ppm - Low
Potassium 34ppm - Very Low
Calcium 706ppm - Medium
Magnesium 103ppm - Optimum
Organic Matter - 2.7% - optimium range is 3 - 5%

Calculated Cation exchange capacity - 5.4 meg/100g

Calculated Cation Saturation:
%k - 1.6
%Ca - 65.4
%Mg - 15.9
%H - 17.2
Hmeq - 0.9

Lime
20lbs per 1000 sq. ft.

N P2O5 K2O
3.5 3.0 6.0

Kiril
04-17-2011, 10:29 AM
ok, seems i did forget to post the numbers. let me know if this makes a difference.

I recieved my soil sample report back from AL eastern labs today. Was wondering if you guys could give me some input on it.

Soil pH - 5.9
Buffer pH - 6.84
Phosphhorus 21ppm - Low
Potassium 34ppm - Very Low
Calcium 706ppm - Medium
Magnesium 103ppm - Optimum
Organic Matter - 2.7% - optimium range is 3 - 5%

Calculated Cation exchange capacity - 5.4 meg/100g

Calculated Cation Saturation:
%k - 1.6
%Ca - 65.4
%Mg - 15.9
%H - 17.2
Hmeq - 0.9

Lime
20lbs per 1000 sq. ft.

N P2O5 K2O
3.5 3.0 6.0

With respect to general nutrient requirements for turf, the only thing you need to add is potassium (muriate of potash probably being your best choice). Your Ca saturation is a little low, but the amounts available are more than adequate for turf needs. If you do add lime, it will need to be a calcitic lime, and I would add it more for soil structure reasons rather than for pH. Obviously you will want to stay away from acidifying fertilizers and I would add more compost than you are planning.

StBalor
04-17-2011, 07:01 PM
I don't know if my post about the compost was clear but i was planning on adding 1/2" over entire yard.
I have not figured out exact amount yet but i will let you know in a little bit how many yards i plan on adding.

I already knew about the calcitic lime and thanks for the potassium tip.

As for the compost i already knew i would need that also, our soils around here are very sandy.

I hate to ask but can you tell me how you came up with your suggestions. I would like to be able to figure it out on my own and not have to ask everytime.

And thanks for all the help, sorry i was getting a little frustrated earlier. it's just i am trying to learn this but i have no idea what the soil test even means yet.

StBalor
04-17-2011, 08:04 PM
Just so you know, the area i am working with is 9000 sq. ft.

Kiril
04-17-2011, 10:59 PM
I don't know if my post about the compost was clear but i was planning on adding 1/2" over entire yard.
I have not figured out exact amount yet but i will let you know in a little bit how many yards i plan on adding.

Need more. With the proper information you can figure out how much it will take to raise the SOM to a given % at the target till depth.

http://www.virginiadot.org/business/bu-compost.asp

I hate to ask but can you tell me how you came up with your suggestions. I would like to be able to figure it out on my own and not have to ask everytime.

Nearly 20 years of professional field experience + B.S degree in Soil & Hydrological Science, and another B.S. in Plant Biology.

There are credible sources for information on the general nutrient needs of turf. I posted a link to one not to long ago, however that is only one piece of the picture.

And thanks for all the help, sorry i was getting a little frustrated earlier. it's just i am trying to learn this but i have no idea what the soil test even means yet.

I am happy to help when I see people who are willing to take the initiative to learn and do things right.

StBalor
04-18-2011, 08:26 AM
Still not really understanding this soil test. or i should say how to correct the problems.
I get that it is telling me the amounts that are there and the optimum amounts needed, but i am still unsure how to figure out what is needed before starting the lawn renovation.

Let me take another stab at it.

this test is saying to add

3.5 lbs of nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft
3 lbs of phosphurous per 1000 sq. ft.
6 lbs of potassium per 1000 sq. ft

Organic matter how much to add, still have no idea. but i did read organic matter should make up 30% of lawn soil. so if i add 2" over entire lawn and till 6" into the ground that would be right?

Kiril
04-18-2011, 10:33 AM
The test is telling you nothing about nitrogen requirements. I assume you indicated what was growing in the area you soil tested, some type of turf, right? The nitrogen recommendation is based on that, not the soil test. Ignore the P recommendation, you have adequate P already and you will be bringing in more P with the compost as well as other nutrients.

You want you SOM to be in the range of 5-10% optimal in order to dramatically reduce your need for synthetics ferts/pesticides, and for soil structure and fertility reasons. How much it will take depends on what you have in the soil to start with, the properties of the soil you are dealing with, and the compost. Two inches of compost is better than 1/2" .... how did you figure that amount? Personally I would shoot for as deep a till depth as you can possibly get (8" minimum, 12" better).

Here is a paper for you to read.

http://www.seattle.gov/util/lawncare/LawnReport.htm

StBalor
04-18-2011, 02:42 PM
I assume you indicated what was growing in the area you soil tested, some type of turf, right?

Yes the test had codes you either had to circle or fill in. I chose the code for lawn, all cool season grasses.

Two inches of compost is better than 1/2" .... how did you figure that amount?

I have been googleing alot about understanding soil sample tests. All the articles are explaing how to read the results on the test but none are actually telling you how to apply those results to my lawn.

I did read an article saying organic matter should make up 30% of the soil. so i figured if i tilled to a depth of 6" , 1/3 of that is 2" and roughly 30%. This was more of a question just to see if i was on the right track to figureing this out.

i took a break in my work day to take my son to his quitar class. Then i have to go back to work. But i will read the article you posted tonight when i have more time.