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Understanding my 1st soil test.

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by StBalor, Apr 15, 2011.

  1. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 798

    I recieved my soil sample report back from AL eastern labs today. Was wondering if you guys could give me some input on it.

    Soil pH - 5.9
    Buffer pH - 6.84
    Phosphhorus - Low
    Potassium - Very Low
    Calcium - Medium
    Magnesium - Optimum
    Organic Matter - 2.7% - optimium range is 3 - 5%

    There recomendations:

    Apply 20 lbs of lime per 1000 sq. Ft. - to bring soil ph to 6.2

    fertilizer recomendations - they are saying 3 applications in the fall - if i am reading this right.

    1st application - 12 lbs of 10-25-15 per 1000 sq. ft.

    2nd Application - 12 lbs of 10-0-20 per 1000 sq. ft.

    3rd application - 8 lbs of 6-4-8 per 1000 sq. ft.

    telling me best time to apply is in the fall, starting in august and other 2 applications in 1 month intervals. this is where i am confused, this soil sample was for a client wanting a new lawn. So shouldn't fertilizer be applied when installing the new lawn or am i wrong.

    Please guys any input will get me on the right path so don't hesitate to give me your opinions.
  2. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,440

    You asked last night and you didn't get any replies yet? Wow.

    You probably know alot of this already, but for others...

    Rake and prep the lawn area. Lime per their test recommendations...or lime regularly any-ways, as your pH is kinda low.
    You need a quality lawn starter fertilizer and grade one lawn seed.

    Your test does not show the nitrogen level. This is the second test I have seen here this week that does not show the nitrogen. Why?

    If you put down lime, the rule of thumb is to wait a week to ten days before putting down a fertilizer containing nitrogen, or if you need to green up a lawn. The reason is that the lime depletes the nitgrogen. So, fix your pH with the lime first.

    Because you are focusing on germination and root growth, the nitrogen level is lower on a starter fertilizer. If you can wait a few days, great. If not, I have put it down in these situations after I raked the lime into the prepared soil. It will still work on the seed. Others may not agree here.

    I would fertilize according to the fertilizer manufacturers directions. You can put down a regular NPK top growth fertilizer once or twice,after the lawn starts growing in the spring. Also, if you are seeding you will need to spot seed bare spots later on.

    I don't suggest fertilizing in the summer. Do so in the early fall and then again in the late fall with the proper fertilizers for the season.
  3. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 798

    I did not put nitrogen in my post because the spot marked Nitrogen on the soil test was blank.

    I was a little confused on the part where it said to wait till fall to apply fert. I thought the whole point of having the test done was to see what the lawn needed for the grass before starting the renovation.
  4. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,440

    O.K. I don't understand why they left the Nitrogen blank? Also, it seems like they did not give you information that was totally relevant to your planting requirements.

    So, let's overlook that and focus on establishing your lawn.

    You may get to the point in your career where you can eyeball a lawn and know what it needs.

    You can also get a cheap test kit and a pH test from the H.D.
    (watch me get flamed for saying that)
  5. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 798

    Ok, so let me see if i got this right.

    Step 1: Remove exsisting lawn
    Step 2: Apply lime at 20lbs per 1000 sp. ft.
    Step 3: Apply 1/2 compost over entire lawn
    Step 4: apply starter fert
    Step 5: Mix this into soil ( with tiller )
    Step 6: level lawn
    Step 7: Lay seed or sod
    Step 8: water
    Step 9: fertilize according to recomendations in the fall
    Step 10: Advize clients to have another test next year?

    how does this sound?
  6. ok4me2xlr8

    ok4me2xlr8 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 188

    Personally, I would not till after applying the fert. and lime I think that moves it to deep in the soil profile. I would probably not till at all unless the existing area is just total crap. Lastly the if your soil is anything like ours I would bump the lime app. up to about 30-40 lb per k.
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    No numbers (ppm) on the test?

    IMO, there is nothing wrong with the pH and there is no need to lime here nor is there a need to buy a cheap ass inaccurate worthless test kit from HD.

    The lime "recommendation" is there merely to show you what it would take to raise your pH to 6.2. I would not consider it a "must do" course of action, especially without looking at the Ca numbers. Without the numbers, you (or anyone else) can't really judge for yourself what is the best course of action. Lab recommendations are VERY general and should only serve as a guide at best.
  8. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 798

    wow, after all the hype on taking soil sample tests before renovating a new lawn i feel like i have still learned nothing from this test. so what was the point of the test?
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    What is the idea of buffer pH? What is that supposed to tell ya?
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    My guess about N is that it changes all the time in availability and being lost that trying to say what is there today will not be there next week...

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