PH level high

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by terrapro, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. terrapro

    terrapro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,234

    So I just got my first high PH soil test back. PH is 7.7, what to do now? Calcium and magnesium are also high at Ca 1927 ppm and Mg 248 ppm so gypsum is out of the question right. Should I try some sulfur? Even with 250lbs per acre over the next year I could probably knock the PH down .25. The property is almost an acre 38M.

    I am going to try to sell the customer on a compost topdress, overseed with shade grass(lots of tall oaks), molasses app, and maybe I will make some compost tea this week for her.

    Typical sandy loam with bad drainage and spotty moss growth. OM also was alittle low at 3.4 so I am hoping she will go for the compost and molasses atleast and Ill probably throw the tea in for free and just put it in with the molasses tank. The price tag will be high though, even on the low end it is looking to be more than a grand to do things properly.

    Any outside thoughts would be appreciated!
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    Don't do anything with the pH. Do your compost and CT or molasses apps and monitor the pH over the next couple of years.
  3. growingdeeprootsorganicly

    growingdeeprootsorganicly LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    your pH,OM,Ca,Mg seem pretty good to me. don't get worked up trying to have a "considered perfect pH" as long as your with in range your good.

    like kiril said run the compost
  4. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    Really? What is your saturation levels of these two nutrients. CEC and saturation levels determine if these nutrients are to high, Lbs just tells you what it takes to get there. 1927ppm =3854lbs of ca. 248ppm = 496lbs of Mg.
    Ph is effected by both of these elements, but it is also effected by a bunch of other nutrients. Sodium can really get your Ph up there and calcium (lime)could be used to bring it back down. You need to look at what is driving your ph first before deviseing a treatment. It could be the ca and mg, but you couldnt tell it from the info you posted.

    With that said, compost does a soil good.
  5. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    I am not a big fan of chasing PH, the underlying issues are whats important

    Lots of big Oak trees? are the leaves chopped up and left on the soil, oak leave typically are acidic which would be counterintuitive if your soil is headed alkaline. moss also likes acidic soil, but not always

    What are the typical readings in your area, is the PH unusually high in this test or average

    How much rain/snow did you get this year? I would guess less than usual
  6. terrapro

    terrapro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,234

    I agree about the pH and underlining problems. I am hoping she will go with the compost topdressing.

    I just did a cleanup at this customers house, she says normally the leaves are all cleaned up. I knew oaks make the soil acidic and told her that.

    This was my first higher pH reading and I normally do a handful per year. I am going to start offering it as a normal service to my customers. Normally the tests are lower than 7.

    Actually we were record breaking snowfall. I think I was out 20 or so times plowing.

    I think I will have to talk with her about the cause and cure not the quick short cure being spread and squirt. I want more organic matter and microbial activity. Plus the canopy needs to be opened up.

    Thanks for the response ICT Bill
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    So what I am hearing here is that the soil test says the pH is off. Could be from this or that, but it could also be from other things. Don't chase it around - add compost and build the SOM.

    What did the soil test say, that changed the direction of the cultural practices you were going to do anyway?
  8. terrapro

    terrapro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,234

    Nothing really. She called asking if I could spread lime because she has some moss, I told her I wanted to do a test first and ended up with this. I suppose I just needed some reassurance that I should just add more organic matter :laugh:
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The soiltest saved your rep. then - Imagine how foolish you would look spreading Lime on a 7.7 pH soil. Good thing you didn't what she asked. :)
  10. terrapro

    terrapro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,234

    No kidding, ha! It is a new customer this year so she needed a test established anyway.

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