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Soil renovation basics.

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by General Landscaping, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. General Landscaping

    General Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 802

    We have a lot of new developments around here that do not grow turf well.
    The yards are all built up with who knows what. I'm sure the developer didn't give two shiznits about turf quality down the road.

    I'm learing about soil quality.
    As I see it; there are only two basic categories...... chemical & physical makeup.
    Correct so far?

    Chemical qualities can be discovered by testing fromspectrumanalytic
    I'm assuming one could follow the recommendations with the report and be OK? I don't remember exactly what the extension office offered...... What tests do I really need?

    Physical makeup can be observed on site....water, jar, shake method.
    What makeup should I be shooting for?
    What is a good field test for compaction?


    Is there a good "soil 101" publication geared toward residential turf? Something that doesn't get too involved with all the stuff that it takes to go from a 90% job to a 99.9% job. I'm interested in getting good results without becoming a "dirt nerd"
  2. General Landscaping

    General Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 802

    Well..... at least the people that don't have a clue aren't giving advice;)
  3. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    Not everybody reads this forum everyday, sarcasim usually doesnt yeild verygood results.

    Soil is more than chemical and physical, its also biology. The soils ability to hold and store nutrients depends greatly on the chemical structure of the soil. You cant change what you have to work with simply because of the amount of soil under each sqft you are standing on. You can amend that soil to a more fertile state. The soil sample from Spectrum will contain the base saturation of specific nutrients as well as parts per million of several other nutrients. The test report will also give you how many lbs of each available nutrient is already in the soil. It will also list the optium levels for each nutrient. Basicly, and this is a very general statement, you substract what your soil already contains from what would be considered the optium levels, and you apply those values to your soil. The testing results are usually based on a 6in or greater slice of one acre of soil. That slice of soil is assumed to weigh approx 2 million lbs. A soil that contains 12ppm of a nutrient will actually contain 24lbs in that 6 inch slice. To raise your nutrient level by 1ppm you will need to apply 2 lbs of the nutrient. Depending on whether you are tilling this nutrient into your soil or simply broadcasting the amendment onto of the soil, the amounts actually used will need to be adjusted. You dont want to apply 6inches worth of soil amendments to a 2 inch slice of the soil. Apply 15% for every inch of depth of soil you are treating of the recommended rates by broadcasting, or apply the entire amount if you are tilling the amendments in to a depth of at least 6 inches. If you till deeper than 6 inches, increase the amendment rates by 15% for every inch you go deeper than 6 inches.

    to correct the fertility levels it is usually best to get the soil test that also includes the micronutrients, but it isnt always best to apply all fo the micronutrients at the start of the renovation project. Correcting the limiting factors first and then followup with the micronutrients as you build the major nutrient levels in your soil. In a sandy soil such as florida, you might find that building the fertility levels is going to be pretty hard simply because as the water moves thru the soil, so does the nutrients. This might mean taking 3 or 4 years to get you soil to optium levels and followup fertilizations to maintain those levels. Some soils have such poor nutrient holding abilities, it might be easier to just feed the plant instead of feeding the soil.

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