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How much compost? Soil Report

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by jca57jd, May 3, 2011.

  1. jca57jd

    jca57jd LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Hey Guys,

    I have just read old threads for 2 hours about soil reports and compost. I am bidding on grading, preping, and hydroseeding a 30,000 sq ft yard. I didnt start taking soil reports until this year. I want my customers to have the best looking grass in the neighborhood! I have attached my soil report and want your opinion on what I need to do to make this soil perfect for the bermuda I hope to be planting. The main problem I have run into is compost. From what I have read so far I would need to till in 2'' of compost. 1 PROBLEM! That would be 185 yards of compost. That would cost me $4300 :eek: Thats closs to my price for everything (grading, preping and hydroseeding) except compost $5k. What am I doing wrong? Sorry Guys, Im just finishing college and its hard to bid jobs, do jobs, and do college!


    Attached Files:

  2. dose0018

    dose0018 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    I am interested in seeing some of the replies from other people (more experienced) on this topic. Looking at what you have written and the soil report, my question is why only compost. I do understand the advantages but what about other soil amendments which should be much less volume and cost.

    Also, getting 185 yards of compost to the site and spread seems like a giant PTA. Well, consider me subscribed to this thread.
  3. jca57jd

    jca57jd LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Thanks Dose0018,
    Hopefully some one will come in and give me some of there good knowledge on this!
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The issue is raising SOM and CE sites, along with perculation/retention by improving general soil structure...
    30K is a large area to waste compost on IMO...
  5. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    I am unsure where you got the idea you need 2" of compost. How much compost you need will depend on what SOM you already have available in the soil, what your target SOM level is, at a given target depth. Since the soil test does not provide OM% or other physical characteristics required, you do not have the necessary information to make a definitive determination. Two inches is a good starting point for a soil that is low in organic matter when you don't have the necessary information to make a more informed decision.

    That said, you need some compost, that much is readily apparent given the CEC. In addition to increasing your soils CEC, the additional organic matter will serve to keep your soils pH more stable and less acidic, assuming you keep the SOM relatively constant (i.e. proper soil management). These are a couple of factors that compost will bring to the site (certainly not all) with respect to the long term fertility of the soil and turf health, which is what you are striving for here.

    in addition to the compost, you will need to lime (dolomite) and you might need some P depending on the P content of the compost. I'd probably throw a natural stable source of K in there as well, also depending on how much K your compost is providing. Till it all in as deep as you can.

    So the question you need to ask your clients is are they willing to spend the money to do it right now ..... or spend even more money over the years trying to compensate for not prepping the soil correctly to begin with.
  6. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    Kiril, why dolomitic?
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Look at the Mg on the soil report. A calcitic lime can potentially push those numbers even lower, and offset what is now an almost ideal Ca:Mg.
  8. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    Gotcha...thanks as always!

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