Soil Tests

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by jschwinn, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. jschwinn

    jschwinn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Starting on a soccer field this year and my samples came back as follows:

    Soil pH 8.1
    Organic Matter 2.0 medium
    Mg- 615
    The P, K, S, and Mg are all high to very high
    Soluble Salts- 1.88 above 'warning'
    CEC= 28meq/100g

    It is very low in nitrogen, planning on using 42-0-0 for that. Thinking of using ammonium sulfate instead of sulfur to help lower the pH since the sulfur is already very high. Wondering if any of you have experience with this type of soil and what practices you use to help. Thanks.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    We don't know where you are... there's a difference between what you do for cool season grasses vs. South... N. IL has high pH like that...
    What kind of soil do you have??? and how does the grass look now??? deep thick roots or living thatch bound roots at the surface???
  3. jschwinn

    jschwinn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Im in Eastern Colorado, soil is mostly clay with some sand. Roots are a few inches deep, grass is maybe 9 or 10 years old, spotty in places due to lack of water last year, starting to green up now.
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,808

    Are those numbers pounds per acre or parts per million? Nitrogen in slow-release form is the main need.
    Since there was a water problem last year. Make your plans for this year to avoid a repeat; clearly you should have added seed to restore the field last fall. So...add seed in spots to restore the thin spots this spring. You may need to add perennial rye at the goalmouths before or after every game. Can you build a practice field or two to preserve the good field for games? Force the band to practice on the pavement.

    What kind of grass? Most soccer fields suffer from excessive use. Goalmouths tend to thin out. Can you come up with a plan to shift field 100 feet left or right or east and west in odd numbered weeks, to reduce the concentration of traffic. Is drainage adequate? Does the coach keep off the field when it is wet? Does it have at least an 18" crown down the center of the field?
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Riggle has a good idea about reseeding any bare spots now, before its time to fertilize...

    N is not going to be utilized in the plant for a while, as the grasses are going to grow roots off of stored carbs for a while, first... so once the soil warms up and the grasses are growing actively above ground(after 2nd mowing) then would be a good time to apply your nitrogen...

    I imagine that a clay based soccer field has a real issue by the end of the season... I remember a public garden with thounsands of people walking through constantly on the grass, would aerate every 3 weeks through the Summer... of course w/outwater you wouldn't want to do that during heat...

    Perhaps adding compost cover for your seed, in the more stressed areas would be helpful, since that will help your SOM levels and provide a buffer for the pH... the higher the OM in the soil the less inportant the pH issue is...
  6. jschwinn

    jschwinn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Thank you both for the replies, I appreciate the info!!

    I did not have this last fall. Just picked it up, an odd deal where they weren't happy with trugreen. Very heavy traffic. Little kids football practice and soccer, and I have no control over the areas they use. I will re-seed in a few places now and see what happens, then again this fall. I had heard that turf in this area doesn't have too long of a lifespan, and I had never had a pH level this high in my short time in the biz. Just looking to improve so it doesn't die two years after I've taken it over!!

  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I doubt that the pH would shorten the 'lifespan' of the grasses... 8.1 really isn't that bad is it??? we are always around the acid side of neutral,,, so I haven't had experience with high pH...
    There is no squirt&fert solution, if that's what your thinking... sports fields are hard and 'management' is going to be the big thing... :)
  8. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Messages: 866

    Compaction and water restrictions (due to play/practice start and end of day times, municipal etc.) will probably factor more into your turf health than the PH. Hell, we've got gray clay with actual salt deposits on the surface in some fields, including golf, and still able to keep grass going just fine.

    Focus on keeping it open and as deep as they'll let you and mulch mow everything back in to give some padding, bulk your organics and extend your fert apps.

    Ammonium sulfate will boost your sulfur in the soil profile just as quick, if not more so, than a SCU (depending on percentages). Ask your local supplier, soil conservation specialist or local extension office.

    "an odd deal where they weren't happy with trugreen" made me snort laugh, so thank you for
  9. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    This is categorically untrue. If the plant is photosynthesizing it is utilizing nitrogen. Further, it is preferable to apply ammonium based fertilizers before soil temperatures get above 50 degrees.
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

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