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Penn State Soil Results

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Chuck Kern, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. Chuck Kern

    Chuck Kern LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I just got back my soil test from Penn State today. Here's the bad news.

    Phosphorous-291ppm (Extremely High)
    Potassium-85ppm (Below optimium)

    They recommend liming at 70lbs/1000. They also recommend a fertilization program of 33-3-10 in May, September, and November.

    I just put down 920 pounds of lime last year so I'm baffled at the PH. What could cause such a high phosphorous number??????? Anybody have any ideas why I got creamed with red thread when my phosphorous numbers were out the roof?? Thanks.
  2. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,351


    Potassium also plays a HUGE role with Disease resistance in Turf, and unlike Phos. it will readly leach from the soil with rainfall/irrigation, so it needs to be applied every time you apply fert, ESPECIALLY with Sandy (Low CEC) soils.

    What Type of Lime did you use last season AND what did PS recommend this time?

    What is your CEC? OR OM (Organic Matter %) Percentage.

  3. Chuck Kern

    Chuck Kern LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    My CEC number is 15.4. As far as the lime goes, I bought the granular form at Lowes. I aerated and dethatched in October, then put down the lime. Thanks for the help.
  4. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,351

    15 cec is an ok #.....Loam soil likely.

    There is Calcitic and Dolomitic Limestone. The Calcitic is used when Magniesum levels are ok, but you want to raise the % of Calcium.

    The Dolomitic is used when you want to raise the Ca and Mg %.

    Both will raise soil P.H.

    If you look to your soil test for Base Sat % numbers of Ca and Mg and post them here, I can suggest which to use.

    There is a ratio of Ca/Mg that is considered correct AND if that ratio becomed too imbalanced (high Mg and Low Ca) your soils will become "Hardpan" .

  5. Chuck Kern

    Chuck Kern LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Pete, here are my numbers for % saturation of the CEC:

    Thanks again for the help. I wish I would have taken some turf management classes as electives when I was at PSU. Little did I know that at 37 years old I would be playing with my yard on a Friday and Saturday night. HAHA.
  6. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,351

    OK Chuck,

    Use Pelletized Dolomitic Lime @the 70 Lb per 1,000 in September when things cool off. Re-Test soil in 2 Years.

    Also Your K is Very Low when talking in terms of HIGH QUALITY TURF (Sports Turf K upwards of 400PPM).

    Follow the Lab's Recommendations and 33-5-10 for Maintenance OR use a 4-1-2 Ratio Fert as I would insted. Example is Lebanon 20-4-10 SOP. or Lesco 24-5-11 SOP (Sulfate Of Potash)

    I would use a 1-0-1 Ratio Fert the next 2 apps to get the K up......Use a 1-0-1 ratio that uses Sulfate Of Potash. It will cost more short term, but in the long run, you will have healthier Greener Turf AND less Disease issues.

    Your soil P.H. should rise above 6, by Fall.


  7. Chuck Kern

    Chuck Kern LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Pete, I appreciate the help. Thanks for your time. CHUCK
  8. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,351

    Anytime Chuck,

    You can PM me if you have any other questions.

  9. Turfdoctor1

    Turfdoctor1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 707

    To explain a little about your pH. Liming is the most overrated aspect of our lawn industry, in my opinion. Not because it is not beneficial to raise the pH, because it most certainly is. But, liming without incorporating into the soil is simply not very effective. It may help raise your pH, temporarily, but I believe that most would find that after applying 900 lbs in the fall, that the next fall, they still have pH problems, just as you did. It is next to impossible to effectively raise pH without incorporation of the lime.

    The guys above have given very good advice. Unfortunately, you might just be in a bad situation that you have to lime every year, just to buffer your pH for the year.
  10. Athletic field

    Athletic field LawnSite Member
    Messages: 152

    I just read that the mg to ca ratios isn't all that improtant. University of Iowa did a study to show, no matter the ratios, as long as there is enough mg and ca to meet plant requirements you should be fine. You could have the "ideal" ratio, but if there's hardly anything in the soil, you'll still have problems. But, if your off the "ideal ratio" and have adequate amounts of both mg and ca, you'll be fine. Use Dolomitic lime if you are concerned. I wouldn't worry too much about a hard pan being formed. Low amounts of ca can cause physical problems, but it ususally occurs out west where there are high concentrations of salts in soil.

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