Nutrient Levels in Soil

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by crazygrassman, Jul 28, 2003.

  1. crazygrassman

    crazygrassman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    I just received my soil samples back from Rutgers Cooperative Extension and test results so very high levels of Magnesium & Calcium in my lawn soils. Phosphorus & Postassium counts was very low with all other microcnutrients Zinc, Copper, Manganese ,Boron and PH all at adequate levels. Grass is a yellowish, pale green tone and I want to get this full sun lawn looking golf course green!

    Any recommendations to balance out these levels.

    Wanted to ask the experts instead of Homeowner forum.
     
  2. kickin sum grass

    kickin sum grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 628

    sounds like you need a high n,p,k fert to start with. What were the recommendations for the p and k. This will tell you how much you need.
    I would say start with a fert that has all three in moderate levels. without seeing results this is a fair guess. Maybe a triple 19. Adjust rate to reflect recommendations. If my math is right 5.2 lbs per 1000 will give you 1 lb of all three. Then keep feeding your lawn all year with a good turf fert like a 18-5-9 or 32-5-7 and so forth. Get another soil test in spring to see if the p and k levels are where they need to be. If they are still low then repeat, if they are on the mark then an all round lawn fert will maintain these levels.

    The soil test should tell you how much to put down of p an k. Your N is not tested cuz it changes so quick. about 4-6 lbs of actual n per year on most cool seaon turf. Maybe a little more the first year to pump it up if it has not been fertilized before.
     
  3. Enviro Green

    Enviro Green LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 324

    I think the pH would also be an important part. Use starter fert (high phosphorous fert, this is because phosphorous is required for seedling germination and root growth, and thus, although it is called a starter fert, it is really a high phosphorous and low N fert) at a rate of 1# per K of phosphorous for two treatments this fall to begin to build P and K levels. It will take TIME beuase P is so immobile. I do this on many of my lawns, by subbing in a starter fert app in the fall once or twice to start buildling the P levels and improving root growth.

    What was your pH?


    EG
     
  4. kickin sum grass

    kickin sum grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 628

    be cautious of using to much p in your mix. In some counties in some states the use of p is being banned unless for new seeding. It is getting into the streams and causing moss and algea to grow rapid as to my understandings. Just keep it up to the recommended levels by testing the soil on a regular basis. If p was ment to be used in high amounts on a regular basis it would be that way in the mix. Over applying nutrients can have almost the same effect as not having enough.

    Read soil test, amend as needed
     
  5. kickin sum grass

    kickin sum grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 628

    reading my last post is making me have to go apply a "p".
     
  6. Enviro Green

    Enviro Green LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 324

    KSG,

    You are concerned about P in the environment but you are suggesting 6 lbs of N per year on cool season turf?

    P is immobile in the soil profile, unless the actual fertilzier prill or soil partile moves into the water. However, N is highly mobile, and is continually moving through differnt phases and can quicly end up in the water table or other places. I do agree, fert to soil tests, but adequate P can take time to build and it is necessary for root growth, and hence drought tolerance.

    Perhaps the low amount of P in the mix have something to do with the cost of the P versus the cost of the N...?

    EG
     
  7. kickin sum grass

    kickin sum grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 628

    EG,

    I don't think we are that far apart in thinking about this.
    P is not immobile just moves very slowly, but also is used very little by plants compared to N. And yes 4-6 lbs of actual n per year per 1000 on cool season is correct. We run around 4 lbs for regular lawns and 6 lbs for 1st year for new lawns that has not been fertilized before.
    Although p moves very slowly thru the soil, if you have to much p in the soil (above recommended rates) then it will pass thru the soil profile before plant can use it and get into water table etc.
    If you think I am crazy then check out some epa news on P and see how it is going to be more commonly banned as time goes on.
    He needs to apply p in moderate amounts to get it up to proper levels and then back off to a maintenance amount. This will supply all the p needed to maintan the level for proper root growth.
    It does take time to build p and that is why i suggested another soil test next spring to see if it is where it needs to be or more needs added.
    From his soil test and low p and k levels that probably indicates a no maintanence property and thats why I suggested a fert with higher n then starter fert. This will get all levels in check.
    They don't mix low p in the fert cuz of price. They mix it cuz p is used much less then n in turf with exception of new seeding. There is a ratio when buying fert and it is something like 3-1-2 or something similar to that.
     
  8. crazygrassman

    crazygrassman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    thanks for all your suggestions. PH was neutral on the testing. Here is what the recommendation stated on the back of my results

    Use fertilizers contaings 30-60% of the nitrogen in slow release form(Water Insoluble Nitrogen).

    Grades: 8 pounds 12-4-8 plus 3.5 pounds 0-20-0 or 1.5 pounds 0-40-0, or 5.5 pounds 18-6-12 plus 3 pounds 0-20-0 or 1.5 pounds 0-40-0.

    Spread the indicated amount of pounds /1000 sq ft per application of one of these fertilizers in 4 applications evenly over the soil in Sept, Oct, April & June each year.

    Clippings should not be removed so nutrients can be recycled.

    Thanks again for all your answers!!!!!!!
     
  9. FoLLOW the recommendations!!!!!!!!!

    You will get 3.86;lbs of n, that's plenty

    I apply @ 3lbs/1000 if clipping returned!

    Still think when you retest next sept 04, the k levels will be low!
    What where the base saturations for na, p, k, mag, ca, and h?

    tim
     
  10. crazygrassman

    crazygrassman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Timturf Thanks,

    Here are the numbers you asked for:

    PH = 7.10
    Lime Requirement Index = 7.65

    Macronutrients (pounds/acre)
    Phosphorus = 7 ( below Optimum)
    Potassium = 86 (below Optimum)
    Magnesium = 568 (Above Optimum)
    Calcium = 2376 ( above Optimum)

    Micronutrients (parts per million)
    Zinc = 2.1 (adequate)
    Copper = 2.4 (adequate)
    Manganese = 15. (adequate)
    Boron = 0.6 (adequate)
     

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