Soil test and my recommendations.

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by grassmasterswilson, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Fanatic
    from nc
    Messages: 5,133

    Took a random 14-15 samples in 2016 and 2017. Some I did “corrections” in 2017. Most multiple year clients.

    1-Seems a common theme is low pH in fescue and Bermuda. Which also shows low calcium. I’m guessing working hard to upsell and get lime down will correct both. Need to add a round of like a possibility.

    2- I’m also seeing low K still. Centipede seems fine since it’s had 1:1 Fert for years. All other Turf many recommendations are 5 lbs per year. I increased k last season to help adjust and probably need to increase this year as well. I have used a Foliar k product as well. So I’m probably getting more k down than I think.

    3 - micros look low on some but think the micro mix I add in will be fine although might not show up in soil.

    Would really like to improve soil without going broke and trying to decipher most important nutrients in the soil test. I will use humic in multiple rounds to help and may need to run a more 1:1 type fertilizer if possible.
  2. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,394

    My first suggestion is to take a soil test for every property you service. Especially if new to you. We soil test every lawn. We have lawns side by side that can vary in ph greatly. One may be 5.8 and next door is 7.2. You have no way of knowing that one lawn has had 1000 pounds of lime applied over the last 5 years and the other has not.Treating them the same may make one better and one worse, you will have no idea why.
  3. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Fanatic
    from nc
    Messages: 5,133

    I understand and agree that no lawn is exactly the same and you could keep yourself busy doing customized lawn apps for each client.

    However what I’m finding in my Bermuda and zoysia lawns is that the pH is below 6 in say 75-80% or more. I have never seen a sample higher than 6.5 here.

    So I’m either at a place to share the data I have gathered in hopes that a client will sign up for a soil test/like up sell. The other option is to make lime standard. I just don’t see a place to add it in my current program so that means adding an extra round.
  4. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,394

    Add an extra round.
    It is easier to do then you may think.
  5. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Fanatic
    from nc
    Messages: 5,133

    Would you guys assume. The most important or first things to start with in general soil samples are ...

    Ph/ca base saturation
    Mg % base saturation

    Is there a good chart or something to tell you where Turf likes to be?
  6. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,394

    When we get our soil tests back if the ph is way off we start to correct that immediately.
  7. Marine03112

    Marine03112 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,863

    Brother they make fert with calcium mixed in. Starting to put it down round 6 winterizer for clients in PA. Most of my Lawns need some ph adjustments.
  8. heritage

    heritage Inactive
    Messages: 1,358

    Here is a chart from Logan Labs LLC I use :

    Assume nothing.

    In lighter CEC soils, it's harder to keep the K in the soil, especially as pH drops below mid 5's and your CEC drops along with it.

    On the Mineral approach with K you can opt to:

    Use the 19-0-19 Lebanon/Mesa product. It's expensive BUT can fit well in this situation for lasting Turf color results.

    Another option could be a "Nursery Blend" 19-3-10 w micros/ Osmocote or a Polyon coated product with a 4-6 month coating, to slowly release the K over a season. This is more costly that the Lebanon/Mesa product, but can produce even better results on high value turfgrass.

    Keep in mind that In heavier CEC soils, K can get locked up, even if your Base Sat. K is 5-6%.

    Organics added into play would be a game changer in this situation.......

    You can work on getting the pH up into the proper range short term, AND using a fert that has Bio-Solids/Poultry Litter mixed in with your N/K fertilizer, as the Organic Matter will help you stabilize your pH as a buffer with longer term pH results.

    Really.... think about trying the Screamin Green product...........

    Also getting the biology going in your Turf's soils with the Biosolids/Poultry litter, will help to unlock some fixed K in your heavier clay soils that already have a good Base Sat. %.

    IF you are doing Liquid applications, you could ADD 1 gallon of food grade blackstrap molasses to 100 gallons of water, then your N/K and Micros. Biology boosting really helps the Mineral ferts work better.

    5 Gallon pails of this Molasses is available online and low cost. It will make a difference getting your lawns looking better if you only choose a liquid application option.

    Remember and it's been said here before. You can get results with Base Sat Methods. You can get Results using the SLAN approach just as well. Don't forget the Soil Biology!!! Those little critters in the soil can really make YOU look good.....feed em' too.

    Try the Scremin' Green. and Check out Logan Labs LLC.
  9. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,094

    I would be a bit suspect of that Logan Labs interpretation table. First, saturated paste analysis is useless. Second, it doesn't say what extractant method was used for the "standard soil." The extractant is VERY important, since the different extractants will give different values for the same soil sample. Third, ignore base saturation. It's not based in science or research and is meaningless for turf.

    Read this guide from Dr. Bill Kreuser at University of Nebraska. It's one of the best explanations for soil test interpretation that I've seen. Here's one of my favorite lines:

    "While soil tests can be useful, their results are frequently overanalyzed and over-interpreted. Sometimes soil test results can be more confusing than helpful. It doesn’t have to be so difficult."
  10. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Fanatic
    from nc
    Messages: 5,133

    That is very interesting Info.

    My waypoint sample suggest 3.5 lbs n and 4 lbs annually while the Nebraska chart says I don’t need any K this year.

    I will agree we often over think soil samples. I can look at some samples from my best properties and I’m sure there are some thinks way out of wack. I’ve done this for a while and if I’m not getting a response I usually soil sample.

    I’m looking at about 40 samples I’ve used over last 2 years as a baseline and ph is averaging about 5.7. Perfect for my centipede lawns but sure would like to have it a little higher. Probably wouldn’t see much difference in raising 1/4 a point but maybe if ph was 1/2+ low

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