Soil test results, what should I do?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by zanemoseley, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. zanemoseley

    zanemoseley LawnSite Member
    Posts: 173

    So I got my soil tested, once for the front yard and once for the rear. I have mainly TN red clay with an inch or so of decent top soil above that. I only tested the top 3" or so as that's what I'm worried about for now to get a stand of grass. So do you guys see anything I should do this Fall besides aerating, overseeding and fertilizing?

    Ratings are in Pounds Per Acre.

    Front Yard:
    PH: 6.7
    P: 17 (Low)
    K: 120 (Medium)
    Ca: 3371 (Sufficient)
    Mg: 271 (Sufficient)

    Back Yard:
    PH: 6.5
    P: 24 (Medium)
    K: 164 (High)
    Ca: 2081 (Sufficient)
    Mg: 214 (Sufficient)

    They recommend not liming at this time for Tall Fescue, do you guys agree? They also give some fertilizer recommendations. Since my P/K values are fairly good should I stay away from a starter fertilizer (15-20-10) when I overseed?
     
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    You should test the top 6-8 inches unless you have a really good reason not to (the one you gave is not a good reason).

    You certainly don't need lime, nor do you need anything else with the possible exception of N. You still need to get a more complete test done as these results do not give you enough information to make an informed management decision.
     
  3. WirelessG

    WirelessG LawnSite Member
    from MS
    Posts: 59

    You should be able to find a test kit that measures N, which is a pretty important component. I tested mine earlier this year and there was no N whatsoever. I held off on fertilizing my lawn for the last year and a half because of fungus problems. I still have the fungus problems (leaf spot on St Aug), but I went ahead with the fertilizer since the grass was struggling so much. I also followed with a fungicide.
     
  4. Specop_007

    Specop_007 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    I'm curious how did you get your soil tested? Did you have someone do it or did you buy on of those "at home" kits?
     
  5. WirelessG

    WirelessG LawnSite Member
    from MS
    Posts: 59

    I bought an test kit from the local nursery. It cost $25 and tested pH, N, P, and K. There's enough chemical to run 10 sets of tests. I read in a review that the kit HD sells is not very reliable. If you run your own test you need to (or should) use distilled water. I ran a pH on the distilled and my tap water and found them both to be at 8. I would also suggest you run the other tests one time on straight water just to make sure the water doesn't have a high N/P/K concentrations that will skew your results.
     
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Those home kits are essentially worthless, nor will they even begin to give you a complete picture of your soils N status.
     
  7. Specop_007

    Specop_007 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    What would you recommend then? Take a soil sample into your local ag office?
     
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Learn how to adequately sample an area and send sample(s) into a reputable lab. There are labs all over the country, which include most major universities.
     
  9. Specop_007

    Specop_007 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    Wow, so after a bit of searching going that route is much more cost effective than I had thought it would be. I can get a good test done for less than a decent meal out!
     
  10. zanemoseley

    zanemoseley LawnSite Member
    Posts: 173

    I got the soil tested from the UT extension office.

    Kiril, what additional test should I go with next time? I didn't go deeper because I didn't have a probe and didn't want to dig a hole in my yard for the sample. I understand you need to go deeper long term but am currently more worried about getting the soil established in the upper levels.

    What will a N test tell me beside I have crappy soil? I have a limited number of #'s of N per 1,000 ft I can put down a year on Fescue, I figure roughly 3lb without irrigation. Its not as if I can dump out a ton of ammonium nitrate to boost the N in the soil.

    So as long as my Cal/mg number are sufficient should my grass have access the the P/K in the soil?
     

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