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To apply lime or not to apply lime - Soil Sample Results

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by MTA73, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. MTA73

    MTA73 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Last season I had a soil sample analyzed for my own personal 4.8 acre lot. The results show, within the Solid pH section a value of 5:6. The results yielded the following recommendations in lbs per 1,000sf:

    Lime: 70lbs
    N: 3-4
    P2O5: 2.0
    K2O: 4.0
    Mg: 0

    Tackling the first item of lime, I'm calculating just over 5 tons of lime for just shy of 5 acres. A local company applies pelletized lime and for this amount would charge roughly $300.00 applied.

    My question is, basically, is it worth it? I'm pleased with the appearance of my lawn (http://www.lawnsite.com/showpost.php?p=4354995&postcount=12 but would like to get the pH within a range where I can manage it with small applications annually and address any NPK needs. That is, if I'll see a worthwhile gain in appearance and grown for the investment in lime.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.
  2. fireman gus

    fireman gus LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 517

    In our area the $300 would be a good price. So the question is-Why do the analysis if you are not going to follow it?
  3. MTA73

    MTA73 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Simple. Cost. The analysis was nearly free and I assumed, based upon the appearance of the lawn, the overall cost to place the pH and NPK values into the optimal range, would be something I could do myself (80lb towed spreader) at a reasonable rate. Of course, the analysis revealed 5+ tons of lime and that is before even addressing the NPK needs.

    So the question is, will I see a substantial gain in the appearance and vitality of my lawn for a spending just over $300? Or, would my money be better spent elsewhere based upon the current appearance of the turf?
  4. R&S Lawn Care

    R&S Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 294

    Im testing all clients this year. Have a couple that Bermuda was very thin. No weeds just thin. After a soil sample one was at ph 4.5! So, ill be liming in the next few days on extremely low ones. Luckily only 1 that low.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Need to see the soil test report to comment, but my two cents, if the turf is performing acceptably then leave it alone. That pH doesn't warrant adjustment IMO, however I would recommend you choose your fertilizer carefully.
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,727

    This is probably a corn recommendation. New research, shows grass does not need that much phosphorus. Phos contaminates surface water; it has been outlawed on turf in Michigan and several other states. And its expensive.

    Keep in mind the recommendation is in nitrogen per year--never all at once. Keep in mind that nitrogen for grass should be mostly in slow release form. For example 50 percent of the nitrogen should be in coated slow-release form.

    Also on a acerage-size property, there is no need for that large amount of yearly nitrogen--unless it is a golf course or football field.

    Potash reco seems high also. But I am sure our most experienced soils man, Kiril would have the best advice--and would probably want more details from the soil test.

    What type of grass? What type of soil? Irrigated? Luxury lawn or back 40? Do you enjoy mowing?
  7. MTA73

    MTA73 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Thanks to all of those who replied. To answer a few questions, it is my personal "luxury" lawn -- minus the luxury home and wealthy owner. The lawn is comprised of mostly tall fescue (Kentucky 31) and roughly 15% clover. It is non-irrigated and yes, I do indeed enjoy mowing.

    I was told by a fellow novice that you need not address the N P K needs until the pH is fixed. He continued by saying that if the pH is off the grass's absorption of the other items would be hindered. I don't know if that is indeed true or not.

    Attached to this post is a .jpg file of the actual survey. (The .pdf version wouldn't upload.) Again, I'm curious to know if the recommended action to correct the pH. and the associated cost, is worthwhile and yield a noticeable, longer term benefit.

    2011 Soil Survey jpg.jpg
  8. former farmer

    former farmer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    PH does effect the availability of other nutrients. Some of the nutrients will be more available at a lower PH and others are more available at higher PH levels. Calcium and magnesium are two that come to mind. I haven't looked at soil samples for a few years now.

    I would lime first and correct the PH level before worrying about the other nutrients.

    Here in Wisconsin, we are not allowed to apply phosphorus to lawns and it is very closely monitored for crop land.
  9. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    What this guy said.
  10. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,003

    Soil tests like this one are cause for me to choose nutrient sources carefully. Ammonium and urea N are acidifying. My preferred N source in this case would be calcium nitrate with K as potassium nitrate. I do not want to hear about slow release because it is nothing more than urea.

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