Recommendations please – soil sample results >>

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by platinum, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. platinum

    platinum LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170

    Newbie to real lawn care so here is the scoop. I am looking for an overall healthier looking lawn and color.

    Columbus, Ohio (zone 6, I believe) New home, lawn was installed July of 07’. Watered to death the first couple of months, lots of weeds, crabgrass etc.. not much real grass. Called True-Green September of 07’, they came out and treated and “winterized”.

    This spring 08’, grass came back fairly well. No weeds, etc.. 100% better than last season. True-Green has completed 4 or 5 treatments already this year with the latest being a post emergent weed control. Don’t know the application rates of NPK

    I have been watering fairly deep at the rate of 3 times per week. I am using a cheap soil moister meter to determine when to water and how much. Even though grass has been fairly healthy at least compared to last year it always has a yellowish tint to it. Added some Lesco 0.0.0 20%fe granular iron which seemed to help and the lawn is at least on par with others in the neiboorhood. This lasted 4-6 weeks and I the yellowing started to come back.

    I decided to get a soil sample. I have not picked up the datasheet yet, but here is what I was told.
    • Ph of 7.8 (very high I believe)
    • (n)Nitrogen and (k)Potassium were normal
    • (p) phosphorus was extremely low
    • Recommendations (n, 3.5-4.5lb per 1000, p, 3.0lb per 1000, k .075lb per 1000)
    see attachments belowfor pictures of grass today.

    1. Drop True-Green. I am learning too much not to try it myself.
    2. Finish off year with some starter fertilizer since it’s higher in phosphorus.
    3. Aerate and over-seed and fertilize again in mid November/December
    4. 09’ follow lescos 5-step recommended turf program

    Let me know what your thoughts are and anything else I should try.

    Appreciate the help...




  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,457

    Amazing for a new lawn. I suspect you have a little dollarspot. Also look carefully at the lawn--is it greener in the shade? Then it is sunburn--needs more water in sunny areas.

    At what level are you setting the moisture according to your meter? Low--medium--high?

    I would not go overboard on the Phosphorus--grass doesn't need much (soil tests are sometimes designed for corn). 20 lbs per acre is probably adequate. The iron may be helpful when soil pH is high. Keep it up.

    Remember you hired a professional company for their knowledge and their program and equipment. Don't be surprised if you have a few problems doing it yourself. Educate yourself-learn from your mistakes. Plan on crabgrass control in April and weed control about June and September.
  3. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    The first picture looks like drought stress. It's hard to tell from the pictures. Get yourself a soil probe instead of using a soil moisture meter, they're not reliable. Pulling a 4-6" soil core is the best way to check for moisture in the root zone; that's how a golf course superintendent determines if the turf needs to be watered.

    New lawns usually take close to 2 years to mature. Many problems with new lawns have to do with the root system. There is usually a lot of compacted soil around a new house. Aerifying in spring and fall will definitely help grow more roots. Aerify after a significant rainfall or irrigation event so that the tines can penetrate to their maximum depth. Make at least 2 or 3 passes over the lawn with the aerifier; it won't hurt the grass to go over it multiple times.

    If you are going to do the fertilizing yourself use slow release fertilizer. Polymer sulfur coated urea and Novex are the slowest release products that Lesco carries. They are probably the most expensive but are the best for the lawn. These slow release products release fertilizer uniformly over a relatively long period of time. Always try to avoid periods of feast or famine for the turf which occur when using cheap fertilizer or Trugreen. Ringer Lawn Restore is another good slow release fertilizer. It also contains beneficial micro organisms which have been shown to reduce the severity of certain turf diseases.
  4. platinum

    platinum LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170

    Thanks for the feedback so far. The grass does look better in shaded areas but I feel like I water the heck out of it. The meter I use is a scale of 1 -10, 10 being wet. I wait until the grass is at a 3-4 which normally takes a couple days after watering. I water until its at a 8-9 but it very well could be the watering. I will look into a soil probe and hit the sunny areas more.

    Any issues with the PH level? Im worried about the uptake of what True-Green has put down so far. My understanding is higher the PH the harder it is for the lawn to get the nutrients it needs.

    thanks again!
  5. CBramble

    CBramble LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    "Any issues with the PH level? Im worried about the uptake of what True-Green has put down so far. My understanding is higher the PH the harder it is for the lawn to get the nutrients it needs."

    Correct. Not necessarily higher though. Lower is just as bad. Optimum pH is roughly 6.8. Proper pH plays a vital part of nutrient uptake in plants. With a pH of 7.8 Iron is not readily available. Get the pH in the proper range and see what it looks like from there.
  6. mngrassguy

    mngrassguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,167

    All above is good advise.

    You say "deep" watering and using a meter tells me you don't know how much water it's getting. Measure each zone with a rain gage or a tuna can. Lawn should get 1/2-1" per week. Water in the early morning, NEVER in the evening. Grass should be dry before it gets dark.

    How tall are you mowing? How often? Never cut shorter than 3.5" except spring and fall. Mow often enough so you never cut off more than 1/3 of the blade. Only bag first cut in the spring, last in the fall.

    Seed between Aug 15 and Sept 15. Only use starter fert when seeding and first app after seeding.

    Good Luck
  7. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,349

    All great advice here.

    Also you need to know what is "Driving" your P.H. up???

    I use Logan Labs LLC. and their methods show "Base Saturation Percentage" and tells you what element is driving the PH up.

    They can help you read the result too and get the Cations in their proper % Balance.

    This will help you a lot. They charge 20 bucks for a sample, and results available online in 2-3 days after they recieve the sample, so long as the dirt's not too wet.

    Definatly mow higher....Measure "Actual" height of cut after mowing....3-3.5 June-Sept is what you want to see.

    Don't trust mower Bench settings, as depending on mower weight and other factors, often wrong and run on the Short Side.

  8. platinum

    platinum LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170

    good stuff guys...

    What is the best way to lower ph correctly? I’m not sure if the soil sample i got will explain what is driving the PH up, but I will look once I receive the datasheet later this week. Since iron is not readily available at my ph level should i supplement with iron regularly. If so how much? can/will this interfer with what True-Green is putting down.

    I mow at the highest mower setting I have (Honda HRX series) which I believe is 3.5”. If it’s not how would I get it higher since I am at the highest setting? I mow at least twice a week trying to only 1/3 of blade. I am sure it’s more or less sometimes though. I also do not bag the clippings.

    I will try a rain gauge when water to ensure I am getting at least a 1” per week in various zones. If I am not already im going to need a deduct water meter. My water bill is already expensive. :rolleyes:
  9. Frank Fescue

    Frank Fescue LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 713

    Dont think too hard. Focus on the dollar spot first you have a ton of it. Read up on it. I think if you quell that you're going to be pretty happy with what you have.
  10. platinum

    platinum LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170

    will do. are we sure its dollar spot though? I dont have any lesions and the whole blade is the yellow color not just portions. i have also checked the blades for fungus or cobweb looking blades in the early morning when dew is present.

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