Raising OM levels

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by turf hokie, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    I have a sports complex that we are going to use an organic bridge program on.

    Soil test came back with the following (let me know if you need more info)
    pH 7.1
    OM% 3.5
    CEC 10.2

    Now I now the OM is on the low side but I am not sure what the optimum goal is.

    We will be applying 10/bs of OM per 1,000 thru the fertilility program.
    Is this enough to raise the OM? or should I begin looking into compost and if so what are you thoughts on a pelletized compost worked in with an aerevator so that I dont effect the playability.

    Thanks for the help as I am sure I could find this info if I looked long enough but I am short on time today.

  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Do you have a more extensive soil test report, or an specific address?
  3. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    No specific address. It is a brand new sports complex. 50/50 rye blue sod installed in August or so with no treatments since.

    I only had a standard soil test done with a check on OM.
    Here are the results that I got back.

    Lbs per acre available
    P = 150
    K = 203
    Ca = 3476
    Mg = 294
    CEC = 10.2

    % base saturation
    K = 2.6
    Ca = 85
    Mg = 12
    OM3% = 3.5

    If there is more needed then I will get a more specific test done. I am still at the infancy stages of using/learning organics so I am not sure if this is the info that I need to get to the answer I want.
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    General location then? I need the information to pull a soil report. The type of program you settle on will depend on the type of soil you are dealing with. Based on what you have posted, I would say a loamy sand, but would rather have the report so you can have the proper tools to make an informed decision.

    Also, units for the results, or the lab you used would be helpful.

    They already installed the sod heh. Did they amend the soil before doing it?
  5. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    I dont think the map will help. The soil was amended. Unfortunately I was not onsite for any of the construction so I cannot tell you to what extent and with what. I can tell you that from what we pulled doing the soil test your are right with loamy sand. Old Orangeburg Rd, Orangeburg NY if that helps

    We used CLC labs.

    Unfortunately, they used 3/8 gravel in their drainage system and they seemd to be sloppy with it as we pulled some up when we took our plugs. Probably not a big deal in the grand scheme of things but not my choice of gravel.:hammerhead:

    Just like I would have preferred a TTTF w/ KBG and not Rye. But this is what I have.
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Soil report attached. Verify?

    Attached Files:

  7. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,159

    Turf Hokie,

    It takes alot material and time to increase OM!

    Hope this helps!


    How long does it take?
    Building organic matter is a slow process. First, the amount of residue and active organic matter will increase. Gradually, the species and diversity of organisms in the soil will change, and amounts of stabilized organic matter will rise. It may take a decade or more for total organic matter levels to significantly increase after a management change. Fortunately, the beneficial effects of the changes appear long before organic matter levels rise. These improvements, however, can be reversed in a year or two by returning to previous practices.

    Why does it take so long for organic matter levels to increase? An acre of soil six inches deep weighs about 1000 tons, so increasing the proportion of organic matter from two to three percent is actually a 10 ton change. However, you cannot simply add 10 tons of manure or residue and expect to measure a one percent increase in soil organic matter. Only ten to twenty percent of the original material becomes part of the soil organic matter. Much of the rest is converted over several years into carbon dioxide.
  8. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    According to the map we would be in the weathersfield (WeB) gravelly silt loam 3-8% slope prior to the leveling, amending and grading of the area.

    Is this what we are looking for? What would be the goal for % OM in the soil if we could change it tomorrow. Just so I know what we a striving for.

    Thanks for the article Rodney, just dont you and Kiril hijack this thread:laugh:

    I know it will take time to change the OM levels I just dont know if we can do it quicker or better or more efficiently by adding a pelletized compost or if the program alone will suffice.

    I just want to make sure that I am putting the right foot forward with the program being that nobody has messed with the turf since it left the farm. They have my program already, I just want to finalize any changes that need to be made now that I have the soil test and hopefully some more information. This way they know if there is any additional budgetary concerns.
  9. Mr. Nice

    Mr. Nice LawnSite Member
    from zone 7
    Messages: 155

    Your looking for a OM at or above 5%

    Best way to quickly add/rise OM levels is first with out a doubt adding good finished compost, then feeding/farming microbes

    If your just adding synthetic nutrients and a total of 10 lbs? of composted manure per 1000 per year it will take a very long time to increase OM?

    What is OM? to me it's decomposing carbon based organic compounds and microbe biomass.
  10. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    I have put them on the nutrients plus program which has thier organics based on biosolids and poultry manure at about 20% of each of the total product the other 60% is basically urea and SCU. Barry may be able to qualify this a little more. But this is where I get the 10lbs of OM per season.

    I did not think this would be enough to get the OM up to where it should be any time soon so I was asking if pelletized compost would help. I dont want to go with top dressing as these fields will be under almost daily use and I cannot shut more than one down at a time never mind for multiple days. I have the ability to work the pelletized compost in with an aerevator(sp?) and I can get it customized with humates and seaweed extract etc if I desire or if that is the route that I should take.


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