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stackz
10-03-2012, 10:19 AM
ok, I live on james island in south carolina. inherited my property about 6 years ago and when I started I almost had nothing but bare ground. I've been fertilizing/watering/etc ever since.

Finally got decent growth in the back and on the side of the house but cant get anything to grow in the very front...well sporadic weeds and various weed-type grasses...but mainly just desolate land.

I have very sandy soil. Its also very nutrient depleted. I did a soil test and the pH is at 4.5ish, nothing shows up for nitrogen or phosphorus. I get a very very faint reading on the potassium.

my one hydragea plant has deep blue flowers...

I've been reading online and it seems I should use dolomitic lime (for the magnesium which helps binding, etc). My land is a50'x150' lot.

what rate should I add the lime to the yard? I have a scotts handheld spreader and one of the push type. I've always just applied everything with the handheld (since I can control where it flies...not onto my concrete) at the max setting of 5.

also, what would be the best to use for raising nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium? I've read dont use chemical fertilizers as they contain NH4 which will also raise acidity.

I know it will probably take me some time/several applications before anything starts to grow or the soil recovers as well.

what are the pro's thoughts on the REVIVE product as well?

I have sooo many questions but I figure getting the pH to a more neutral state would be my best starting point.

Smallaxe
10-03-2012, 11:39 AM
I can't comment too much about southern lawns, but your problem is soil... acidic sand that holds no nutrients is what you need to deal with... clay holds nutrients so you might add some top soil with a heavy clay base... compost is definately a real plus and you may even have other ammendments common to the area... I wouldn't bother with a soil test until your soil has been thoroughly ammended, first... :)

stackz
10-03-2012, 01:00 PM
ok, so basically nothing I can do at this point with the soil/dirt I have. nice.

I have no mad money for ripping the top couple inches off my yard and tossing down topsoil, the finance' has made sure of that what with the wedding coming up in less than a month lol.

clay would have to be brought in from the north area of the state. after you go down 5' in charleston, you dont hit clay...you hit sand so I cant even get fill dirt from the area.

agrostis
10-03-2012, 09:10 PM
There's a lot you can do. You are in climactic zone 9a,

http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/Default.aspx

Forget about stripping your topsoil off, the top 5-6 inch's is where all the good, organic stuff is. If you stick with plant's (and there is a lot of them) that can handle those condition's you can have something nice to look at. Nice landscaping is a long term thing, you need to get that attitude, it will make thing's a lot easier. Can you describe the property in more detail ? Can you post picture's ? I lived in Savannah for 8 year's, i can help you out if you want to do it right.

avguy
10-04-2012, 04:44 AM
Before I did my renovation I sent a soil sample to my extension office for analysis. My test came back at 4.9 but more importantly they told me exactly what to put down and at what rate.

Smallaxe
10-04-2012, 09:37 AM
ok, so basically nothing I can do at this point with the soil/dirt I have. nice. ...

Note the word 'ammend'... people successfully grow great lawns on sand all over the country... you don't have to haul away sand and haul back in topsoil... but you will have to stop and think about what is necessary to get the grass to survive, then thrive...

Its not a lot of 'ammending', but it has to be done thoughtfully... if you can only do 'squirt&fert', then you are going to need a big investment to get it started... work with what you do have and optimize the environment in which you want your lawn to develop...

I wonder how people grew lawns in the old days??? b4 squirt&fert people had to actually think...

Kiril
10-04-2012, 10:15 AM
ok, so basically nothing I can do at this point with the soil/dirt I have. nice.

Ignore Axe. Do a proper audit of the soil and proceed from there.

stackz
10-05-2012, 08:38 AM
ok, you'll have to forgive me. when you say "ammend", what exactly does that entail?? is that like when you add lime/potash/super phosphate to get the pH and the fertility into spec before planting seed?

or is it something else?

also, as for a proper audit, I guess thats more entailed than my pH/N/phos/NH4 test I've done? where do you get this done and how much does it cost? I'll gladly get it done if I can afford it and post results. no problem with that.

as for pics, here's some of the big trouble spots. sorry they are dark but I didnt remember to take them until before I left for work this morning at dawn.

my front lawn is the worst is why I'm posting it. If I can get this to grow, I can get the back filled in lol.

first pic, is the close left of my house. just bare and scraggly. though up against the house, really nice st. augustine but I cannot for the life of me get it to spread. fiance put the little citrus tree in while I was out of town.
http://honda-tech.com/picture.php?albumid=8064&pictureid=83325

second pic, this is the other side of the sidewalk where I was standing in pic one. again, towards the top left where it is shaded, you can see nice st. augustine. the rest, a barren mindless field of crap. though annual rye grows nicely in the winter?
http://honda-tech.com/picture.php?albumid=8064&pictureid=83328

Here's the other half of the front yard. I didnt take a pic down the side of the house since that grows just fine and is full sunlight like the barren areas. My neighbors each have a live oak on the border of their property that shades the corners of my yard in front where you actually see some growth. no clue if the oaks are just sapping nutrients or not but I dont see that as I have neighbors with trees and great growth...neighbors with no trees and great growth..
http://honda-tech.com/picture.php?albumid=8064&pictureid=83326

this last pic is a close up of a weird area I've never been able to figure out. If you look in pic three, right close to the mulch area by the sidewalk, there's an area that has grass...it never gets thick I think because this stuff looks like mold or fungus of some sort. I've tried several fungus treatments and it never goes away? its hard to tell but its a dark green mossy like texture.
http://honda-tech.com/picture.php?albumid=8064&pictureid=83327

Also, I do have a brand new tiller that I can use if I have to till up the whole yard to get this fixed. Its a nice big one I inherited before it ever got used. I think the total blade width is about 4' wide.

Also, in the backyard...mainly due to the dogs running...ungrown areas are super sandy like beach sand so I know its not compacted back there but it seems the dead areas in the front are compacted. I've got a pole type aerator and aerator shoes and have tried to aerate several times with no luck...

stackz
10-05-2012, 08:56 AM
There's a lot you can do. You are in climactic zone 9a,

http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/Default.aspx



how do I find out what 9a means? I can pull up the map showing charleston as 9a compared to the rest of the state but I cant find where it says what actually will grow good in a 9a zone?

Kiril
10-05-2012, 09:41 AM
ok, you'll have to forgive me. when you say "ammend", what exactly does that entail?? is that like when you add lime/potash/super phosphate to get the pH and the fertility into spec before planting seed?

or is it something else?

also, as for a proper audit, I guess thats more entailed than my pH/N/phos/NH4 test I've done? where do you get this done and how much does it cost? I'll gladly get it done if I can afford it and post results. no problem with that.

Determine current chemical and physical properties of the soil in the areas of interest, then take the appropriate action. That might (and probably will) mean amend with a minimum of lime and compost and till as deep as you can given what you have posted.

Personally I would lose the turf in the front two small areas.

stackz
10-05-2012, 10:58 AM
so when I amend and till, do I toss down lime per the package and then till? and then add more lime to the top now that the lime I put down is tilled in? I have no problem starting over from scratch in those areas. thats actually want I want to do is pick the outer small area, and do the testing/amending/tilling/etc to it so that I can make sure I'm doing it right before I go all crazy on the yard.

I know it will probably take me two years to do it but I figure I'd rather have one small completely ruined area (or hopefully awesomely green) instead of the whole yard.

how long after liming should I wait before I start to retest the soil to see if there was a good/bad change in soil pH?

Kiril
10-05-2012, 11:04 AM
If possible, all amendments should be tilled in. Lime rates can only be determined via a lab test. How long you need to wait to retest depends on the type of lime used, environmental conditions, and if it was incorporated or top dressed. Without knowing these, the safe bet is a year later.

Smallaxe
10-05-2012, 05:31 PM
Ammendments,,, would be things like heavy clay type soil mixed in with compost, and even spagmum is you have certain trouble areas... do NOT let the adobe foolishness through you off, in that reality of mixing different soils together is done by contractors who blend and sell the topnotch mixes...

agrostis
10-05-2012, 08:40 PM
how do I find out what 9a means? I can pull up the map showing charleston as 9a compared to the rest of the state but I cant find where it says what actually will grow good in a 9a zone?

That map just show's you what zone you are in. There is no plant info, sorry, i should have known you would look for that information there. I was going to scan some page's from "garden guide to the lower south" and "Dirr's tree's and shrub's for warm climate's" but apparently, i can get sued for doing that, so instead of typing all those word's, let me do some reading and pick plant's that i like. Your local extension office has some good info on plant's that work well in your location, that will get you started.

http://www.clemson.edu/extension/county/charleston/

I do have a question - How can you stand a 5 month threat of a hurricane ? I thought that was the worst thing about living in Savannah.

stackz
10-09-2012, 08:29 AM
5 month threat? more like 7 months this year lol.

I was here when hugo came through. I figure its just all part of it.

I mean people are constantly worried about earthquakes in california and tornados in the mid-west but people still want to live there..

I just roll with it I guess lol.

I'm definitely going to contact the clemson extension office and see about how they want me to sample my soil :D

agrostis
10-09-2012, 12:02 PM
If you lived in Charleston through Hugo and you still live there, then you are a dedicated lifer. I was 50 mile's to the north of Charlotte NC that night and that storm sounded like freight train coming through. I remember watching transformer's on telephone pole's blowing up, there was no power in my town for 4 day's. How long was your power out, 3-4 week's ?

gunsnroses
10-09-2012, 01:05 PM
If I may suggest. Ditch the St Augustine. The crap should not even be for sale, yes it has a few pros...but the cons, tons of fert needed, chinch bugs, leaf spot, brown patch, take all patch, worms omg the worms, h20 requirements, and on and on. Lets say you could start over, with minimal changes to the soil, look at Empire Zoysia. A local folk to talk to would be the folks at Possum...I have never made a purchase from them, as I buy wholesale in bulk, but I do read the blog "hort hotline" at times to see what is going on up that way. http://www.possumsupply.com/

stackz
10-10-2012, 09:59 AM
If you lived in Charleston through Hugo and you still live there, then you are a dedicated lifer. I was 50 mile's to the north of Charlotte NC that night and that storm sounded like freight train coming through. I remember watching transformer's on telephone pole's blowing up, there was no power in my town for 4 day's. How long was your power out, 3-4 week's ?

well I was 10 in 89 if that matters :p but yeah, it was a wild night that I remember vividly. chinaberry tree in backyard was down on ground at the eye, and standing back up after it was over.

HUGE pine in back (14' trunk I kid you not) fell across property and luckily hit nothing. a company that had been pestering my dad for YEARS for it actually paid to haul it off since he said he was gonna burn it. made beautiful coffee tables/dining room tables all in one piece, one they gave to him.

cant help it, I love this town. I love the salt water, I love the local oyster clusters, the music, downtown, etc....I just hate my lawn lol.

we were out of power for 2 months. we did have generators and army MRE's though.

stackz
10-10-2012, 10:02 AM
If I may suggest. Ditch the St Augustine. The crap should not even be for sale, yes it has a few pros...but the cons, tons of fert needed, chinch bugs, leaf spot, brown patch, take all patch, worms omg the worms, h20 requirements, and on and on. Lets say you could start over, with minimal changes to the soil, look at Empire Zoysia. A local folk to talk to would be the folks at Possum...I have never made a purchase from them, as I buy wholesale in bulk, but I do read the blog "hort hotline" at times to see what is going on up that way. http://www.possumsupply.com/


st. augustine looks very beautiful when done right and is a very charlestonian grass. I've honestly never seen the seed for sale in the stores though. I usually just let the patches I have to go seed for a week or two before I mow them. doesnt seem to help lol.

my backyard is mainly bermuda grass at this point which seems to be handling the heat/dry down here during the summer. the st. augustine does as well but it doesnt spread. I'll take a pic of the backyard, I do believe it is bermuda and not zoysia/fesque though. I'm horrible at identification lol.

I'm gonna be calling the clemson extension here in a couple minutes to find out what I need to do for testing.

stackz
10-10-2012, 12:46 PM
ok, called them up and they only charge $6/sample and each sample needs 2cups of dirt. I think I'm gonna do all three separate areas in my front yard.

I asked them what they test for and they said it depends on what I want to plant exactly so I guess I'll see what they say for bermuda and/or st. augustine. will get them to do insect tests (if possible) and disease tests (mold, fungus) if possible.

great part is they are not to far out of the way on my way to/from work yay! they said it takes about 2 weeks for results though so it probably wont be until mid november that I post since I'll just be heading out for my honeymoon when the results come out mostly likely.

gunsnroses
10-10-2012, 04:16 PM
No need to test for fungus or insects, because you have them....you will have them, and they will come back. No seed for St Augustine is available, so dont look for it. If you cannot spend 500 to 1000.00 for a newly sodded yard, your options are limited. If you have a truck I have an idea....if you know someone who works at a golf course that is better. What you should do is find a local course (with nice turf) and see what you can do to get a few truck loads of plugs after aerification of tees or greens or whatever. Work out a trade if you need to. Get the "fresh" like as fresh as possible...plugs back home and rake out even. Water in good for days. Next thing ya know, nice lawn. If you can pay, my remark about empire zoysia stays.

stackz
11-26-2012, 01:35 PM
ok, finally got my test results back from my random sample. I guess they were really backlogged or something. anyway, I really have no idea what I'm looking at?

it seems like they want me to spread some 400+ lb of phosphorus or something but then in the chart is says its excessive? no clue lol.

http://honda-tech.com/picture.php?albumid=8064&pictureid=86282
http://honda-tech.com/picture.php?albumid=8064&pictureid=86280
http://honda-tech.com/picture.php?albumid=8064&pictureid=86281

Smallaxe
11-27-2012, 09:16 AM
Your pH is pretty low so they are calling for lots of lime... otherwise it looks good... I'm not sure what pH buffer means and whether a CEC of 6.1 is good or not, perhaps someone else can fill that in... :)

Kiril
11-27-2012, 10:40 AM
Lime (dolomite) + compost + SOP ...... till it in.

agrostis
11-27-2012, 01:19 PM
They are not calling for you apply 400 Lbs. of P. That bar graph section is the analysis of what's in your soil now. The Ph is what you need to be concerned with. You need to look at the bottom of the page for the recommendation's. Your soil need's lime, organic matter and IMO, some minor element's. (the thing's at the bottom of the graph)

So what's your plan ? Do you want to have grass ? I gotta agree that zoysia is a much better choice. You said you were partial to St. Augustine but you will have to buy sod, and sod cost's big buck's. If your going to spend that kind of money then zoysia is a much better value, but first you have to know how many sq. ft. you need, no matter what kind of grass you choose. And are you going to be able to water this sod, you have to be able to water, you need to consider this question. Remember that warm season (St. Aug. and zoysia) sod doesn't need to go down until late spring, (for you - late March) so time is on your side. Here's a website for you. http://www.lawn-care-academy.com/soil-analysis.html

stackz
11-27-2012, 03:40 PM
so I really do need 145lb of lime like they are showing on the bottom right of the last graph? ok.

as for those recommendation numbers, they are just reference numbers for how to do conversions...118 was a conversion from cups/lbs in a spreader as an example. I guess just teaching me how to figure out how to spread the stuff.

can I get this stuff from lowes? I've seen lime there before but no clue if its dolomitic. also, what is SOP?

should I apply the lime all at once? also, how do I get the trace elements like its saying I need? I assume thats supposed to come from the compost?

would it be ok for me to apply all the stuff, till it in...wait a week or two and then toss down a bunch of rye grass to get something growing at least? or would that just suck up whatever I put down and I'm back at square one?

I'm working on repairing my busted well over the winter (one of thousands of home projects it seems) as trying to water during the summer is killing me with my waste water and water bill.

personally, I'd like to just go with bermuda grass as the seed is available easy and cheap and it grows nicely in my backyard.

what do I do about the stupid amount of phosphorus in my yard according to the sample? just leave it be and let it get used up over time?

agrostis
11-27-2012, 06:46 PM
Yes you do need 145 Lbs. of lime per 1000 sq. ft. Split that application into two 72 Lb. apps. a year apart. If you put down more than that at once you will cause problem's. Dolomitic lime is what you see at lowe's or HD. Dolomite is the kind of rock it came from. $4.50 for a 40 lb. bag.

I don't know what SOP stand's for - Standard Operating Procedure ?

I don't think you'll get trace element's from compost, i use scott's STEP
http://www.kbadamsturf.com.au/scotts_step_hi_mag_(scotts_trace_element_package)_22.7kg
Measurment's are for 1000 sq. ft. Shop around for best price.

You don't have to put anything down to get rye to grow, that stuff grow's on concrete, it just need's water. It will improve your soil and won't deplete anything. Use a quality seed.

If your going to seed bermuda, DO NOT use common. Seed Princess 77 http://www.bermudagrass.com/info/princess.html at 2 1/2 Lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. in late march. Shop around for best price. Bermuda germinate's slowly, don't let that worry you. Keep the seedling's moist for 4-6 week's (a must) Try not to drag hose's to do this, after a week your yard will be a quagmire from trying to grow seed.

Don't worry about the P in the soil, it's excessive everywhere.

Invest in a good rotary spreader, http://www.rittenhouse.ca/asp/Product.asp?PG=1328 , it will be the best $350, (you can get this spreader on sale from john deere landscape's in the spring) you ever spent and you will use this the rest of your life.

stackz
11-28-2012, 08:10 AM
great thanks!

I'll get on it and report back in the spring time I guess lol.

um, as for the rye grass, reason I asked is because I've planted it in the past (each winter) and it will sorta spring up and grow real quick but then after about 2~3 weeks even it will die.

I'm just using the seed I can get at lowes and I water once/week for 30 minutes in the morning.

agrostis
11-28-2012, 08:29 PM
30 minute's a week is not nearly enough water, it's no surprise that the rye didn't make it. Don't forget, you are in very warm area, rye is a cool season grass, it does't grow naturally there. If you are going to grow bermuda this spring then don't put down any rye now, it will create unhealthy competition and make it a lot harder for the bermuda to get going. You really need to baby that stuff for the first 6 month's or so. I repeat - do NOT let those bermuda seedling's dry out, they will die on you, fast. Also, when you lime, use pelletized lime, not powdered, it's much easier to apply and a whole lot less messy.

stackz
01-29-2013, 09:28 AM
hi guys. ok, back in november I went and got the single 40lb bag of the pelletized dolomitic lime from lowes and put it down in my front yard. I believe (if my horrible math is correct) that my front yard consists of approximately 750' or around that. I havent done anything else to it since then. no planting or anything, just letting it sit. I was going to go get another bag of lime and spread it out this afternoon as its supposed to rain tomorrow but wondering if that is ok or not?

there hasnt been any type of change in the yard growth mainly because I've just let it sit. I was going to wait until around march to get seed and then till the areas of the yard I want to reseed at the same time.

what should I get for all the trace elements that need added? Its been steady 60's/70's here in charleston past month or two with the occasional couple of nights in the 30's.

when should I start adding the trace elements and is there any type of easily available compost or fertilizer I should spread when I go to till? should I beat the ground to bareness with my weedwhacker before I till? should I rake up any old plant matter after tilling so nothing is left to grow in the tilled soil but the new seed?

I'm really wanting to do this right this year and understand how I did it so it works out good.

I will say my daffodils are already coming up on the property line. makes me wonder if they'll die if we have another cold snap.

Smallaxe
01-29-2013, 11:03 AM
If you are going to till,,, then that is the best time to add your micro-nutrients, lime and compost... Unless there is a chance of transferring disease organisms into your soil from the current lawn debris into your soil, it is generally best to incorporate ALL available OM into your soil...

Eventually, lawn debris enhances SOM(Soil Organic Matter) and CEC(Cation Exchange Capacity)...

stackz
01-29-2013, 01:22 PM
ok so just leave whatever is there, there.

should I weed whack to soil level first so that whatever is currently growing will be severely damaged and help it get outcompeted by the new grass seed?

also, where do I get the micronutrients that the test results posted on page 3 say I need? I just dont see bags of manganese and copper at the store...or even at the nurseries that have store fronts.

Smallaxe
01-29-2013, 04:04 PM
I'm not sure what material you are trying to severely hinder, by weed whacking, but any lawns that are tilled up around here, the biggest problem is always the clumps of roots... they make for bumpy seed beds that get bumpier when they 'settle' and if they are undesirable they will grow back and create competition that way... busting up the tops may very well solve some of that problem so it doesn't hurt to do so,,, IMO..

I don't worry about micros so much for cool-season grasses as it has never been an issue for anyone in the business, to my knowledge... a decent soil with adequate SOM and water/air ratio will allow for the root hairs and their symbiotic microbes to get most of the nutrients the plant needs from the soil, if not all of it...

Keeping the nutrients on your turf is best done by mulching the clippings back onto the lawn... I'm not sure how you think about that, but it is a good idea to recycle nutrients that way... :)

agrostis
02-01-2013, 02:11 PM
In your sandy soil it won't hurt to add the micro's.

http://www.kbadamsturf.com.au/scotts_step_hi_mag_(scotts_trace_element_package)_22.7kg

$60 for a 55 Lb. bag. This is something you only have to think about every 5 year's or so. But if you don't do it at all, you probably won't notice it.

Don't worry about those daffodil's, the foliage and flower's are frost-proof, just don't cut the old foliage off, let it rot away naturally or you won't have flower's next year.

I would spray everything with a 2% roundup solution one week prior to planting.