My soil test results are in, please help!

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Threxx, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. Threxx

    Threxx LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

    Well I went to four relatively averaged out locations in my yard... two in the back, two in the front and make sure it was where the grass looked pretty 'normal' for my lawn - not super dead, not super green. I went to a depth of 4 to 5 inches with a trowel and got a nice zip lock baggie filled with the mixture of the 4 sample locations.

    The samples were submitted to AL Labs which has a main office about 5 minutes from my work.:)

    My lawn consists of about 75% hybrid bermuda and about 25% palisades zoysia, spread all over the place with the intention of it taking over my lawn sometime in the next couple of years (it has already started to spread quite a bit!).

    So my intentions are to promote the Zoysia - I could care less about the bermuda's needs since I want it to eventually go away.

    Results: (they gave me a chart that shows if I'm high or low - I'll list those results too - they go Very low/Low/Medium/Optimum/Very High)

    Soil pH: 7.1 (no target given)
    Buffer pH: 7.9 (no target given)
    Phosphorus: 116 LB/Acre (borderline between 'very high'/'optimum')
    Potassium: 244 LB/Acre (medium, almost optimum)
    Calcium: 2212 LB/Acre (on the low side of optimum)
    Magnesium: 338 LB/Acre (just slightly high side of optimum)
    Sulfur: 34 LB/Acre (middle of medium)
    Boron: 0.6 LB/Acre (middle of low)
    Copper: 3.2 LB/Acre (middle of medium)
    Iron: 530 LB/Acre (middle of very high)
    Manganese: 280 LB/Acre (very high side of medium, just short of optimum)
    Zinc: 5.8 LB/Acre (very high side of medium, just short of optimum)
    Sodium: 96 LB/Acre (borderline very low to low)
    Organic Matter: 1.7% ENR 78 (I have no idea what ENR is and it didn't give a 'target')
    Calculated Cation Exchange Capacity: 7.5 meq/100g (no target given)

    Calculated Cation Saturation (%): K-4.2, Ca-73.7, Mg-18.8, H-0.0, Na-2.8 (no targets given)

    K: Mg Ratio 0.22 (no target given)



    OK so here's my problem: While I recognize the name of some of these very well - I still have no idea over what period of time to 'compensate' for deficiencies, what to buy to compensate or should I just mix up a variety of things in dry or liquid form (I have a fertigation system or I can just apply dry pellets) and apply a bit at a time... or what. Furthermore some of these chemicals I haven't heard of since chemistry class and have NO idea why my lawn needs them, IF I can/should even try to find them and/or apply them, etc.

    And then some of the ratios and percentages... scratch that, ALL of the ratios and percentages, I have absolutely no clue what they mean.

    Help!:)
     
  2. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,116

    I will take a stab at this, and only comment on the things that you should work on.

    • Your pH is 7.1 which is not bad, but just slightly above the optimal (depending on who you ask) I like to shoot for 6.5 but there is no real reason to isolate the pH here.
    • Your K:Mg ratio needs correcting. Even though you have a good amount of K right now at 244 lbs/A, it is being tied up.
    • Zero Hydrogen.

    During your next couple of fertilizations, use a good amount of K in the form of SOP (Sulfate of Potash). Why? Because you need more K to increase the ratio to Mg AND the Sulfur will help tune down your pH gradually. Most K in commonly sold fertilizers is in the form of MOP (Muriate of Potash) so this might take some effort to source.

    So you could fertilize now with something like 21-0-21 using SOP. Then in September use a 8-2-34 along with a preemergent. Again make sure the Potassium is SOP.

    Also, there is no Hydrogen in the sample. This means you should aerate while the turf is still actively growing. Now would be a good time to do that.

    You should not add lime to your soil anytime soon.

    If your opinion differs with any of this please chime in because I'm still learning here as well.
     
  3. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,889

    I agree, other than in my neck of the woods I shoot for a 7.0 PH
     
  4. dcgreenspro

    dcgreenspro LawnSite Senior Member
    from PA
    Posts: 688

    did you send the samples out sealed in the zip lock bag?
     
  5. Threxx

    Threxx LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92


    • Interesting... I had a HUGE 'corrective' treatment put down profesionally last fall. I don't think the soil was sampled beforehand but it was native soil and our soil is by default acidic. So I guess the moral of the story is that it was overcorrected a tad bit (possibly) and if for anything, I shouldn't worry about putting any more lime down this fall - maybe resume a bit next fall since the soil tends to become acidic by default over time around here, I think...
    • Your K:Mg ratio needs correcting. Even though you have a good amount of K right now at 244 lbs/A, it is being tied up. During your next couple of fertilizations, use a good amount of K in the form of SOP (Sulfate of Potash). Why? Because you need more K to increase the ratio to Mg AND the Sulfur will help tune down your pH gradually. Most K in commonly sold fertilizers is in the form of MOP (Muriate of Potash) so this might take some effort to source.[/quote]
      Could you explain what this means to me? My potasium and magnesium were both listed at pretty much the high end of 'medium', just short of 'optimum'. You've obviously recognized this fact, but I don't understand how I can 'correct' the ratio by applying a additional potasium, without actually having too much potasium in my soil? Seems like if both were listed at or near optimum then they'd be pretty balanced by default? Just asking since I don't know.

      Also you suggest sulfate of potash - is this only because is has sulfur in it? My analysis says I'm very low on sulfur, yet I thought it was just nothing but a counteractant to lime, so it seems that if my soil is destined to become acidic soon enough - that I should just wait it out in terms of my soil pH becoming a little more normalized. But then again if my sulfur is low and I actually need sulfur for some reason other than to 'balance' then I guess it'd make sense. What else is sulfur for... in other words why is it telling me I'm low? What will raising the sulfur content do besides change the pH in the direction it's already going to be heading to soon enough?

      I've had my lawn profesionally core aerated twice now - once last fall and once this spring and was planning on having it done pretty much twice a year indefinitely. So you're saying according to this test I have seen zero benefit from it (at least in the four locations I sampled)? Why would that be? hmmm.... I saw the cores with my own eyes - my yard looked like a war zone.:D

      But here's what I think you may be getting at - you say I have to get it done when the turf is actively growing... it has definitely been still somewhat green both times I've had it done but not in the super active months. I thought aerating was best done in the spring and fall, not in the summer?

      If I do indeed need SOP even based on my observations above, could you suggest where I might source it? We have a lesco warehouse here - are they a pretty well varied supplier of hard to find fertalizers?:)

      Above all THANKS for the advice. I greatly appreciate it. For some reason I love doing this stuff even though it's probably not worth my time... I wonder if there are really any LCOs in my area that would go to this much trouble (soil tests and such)?
     
  6. Threxx

    Threxx LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

    AL Labs has a branch about 5 minutes from my work, so I put it in a zip lock bag in the evening, it sat in my car overnight, and I brought it to them the next day in the bag.:)
    http://www.allabs.com/

    I can post the actual PDF of my results now that I'm at home. I'll do that right now.:)
     
  7. Threxx

    Threxx LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

  8. Threxx

    Threxx LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

    I also forgot to ask - what about the 'verylow/low' sodium level? How should I correct that or do I not need to bother?
     
  9. hmartin

    hmartin LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 590

    Along with the core aeration, you need to consider top dressing with sand. The sand will work its way into the core areas and the aeration benefits will last longer.
     
  10. hmartin

    hmartin LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 590

    This post has been very beneficial to me. I think that soil test results are largely often misunderstood. Does anyone have a quick list of what nutrient ties up what other nutrient? How do you know at what level the tying up gets to be a problem? I don't have my Soils book anymore. Anyone know what happened to Ric and Timturf?
     

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