NJ Bill’s 2019 soil test

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NJ Bill
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Joined: August 7th, 2019, 2:40 pm
Location: New Jersey
Grass Type: Northern mix
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
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NJ Bill’s 2019 soil test

Post by NJ Bill » August 12th, 2019, 10:30 am

A friend of mine encouraged me to get a logan labs soil test after talking to him about my lawn struggles. I just got the results back and they’re attached to this thread.

The lawn is in Milford, NJ. It’s about 18k sqft of grass. I’m on a well and do not irrigate the grass. I mulch mow weekly. The property has been treated by a local company for a few years but I’m not happy with the results. The grass is thin and weak and the soil feels hard and rocky.

I would like to do whatever is necessary to get it in shape to support healthy turf.

I’ll post a link in the queue momentarily. Thank you in advance for the help!
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andy10917
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Location: NY (Lower Hudson Valley)
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Re: NJ Bill’s 2019 soil test

Post by andy10917 » August 13th, 2019, 4:59 pm

I'm really not too surprised that the lawn isn't thriving - the current lawn service doesn't seem to have been supplying much in the way of the nutrients that the lawn needs to really thrive...

You have a soil that is somewhat sandy. At a TEC of 7.6, it's a bit short of the Loam categories that start at pH 8. The mineral component of the soil is probably even sandier, but is being propped-up by the (good!) 5% OM level. Sandy soils leach out their nutrients. They also set the bar for nutrient levels too low - so the "minus numbers" are actually worse than the test numbers show.

In the cations, Calcium is OK or a little high. Magnesium is a little low, but that's not causing you problems at this point. The Potassium levels, though, are bad.

So are the Phosphorus numbers. In essence, your lawn is starving for required nutrients. At least the "P" and "K" components of the NPK of a fertilizer are quite weak.

The solution doesn't take a ton of work. Locate a balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 or 19-19-19 (or anything where the numbers are very close to equal at the store, and post the NPK numbers for application rates and frequency (probably monthly). These balanced fertilizers are often sold as "garden fertilizer" or "all-purpose fertilizer".

The Iron number is OK, and color would be fine if the grass had the P and K it needs.

We'll add one Lime treatment early next Spring, once the grass starts to get the things it is starving for.

In the micronutrients, only Boron is lacking - we'll deal with that in the Spring also.

The best time for grass to recover is the Fall, and with the balanced fertilizer applications, it's likely that you'll see some improvement by Halloween time. You'll see discussions about Winterization on the forums once the Fall gets going, but I would not follow the "Fall Nitrogen Regimens" (which is pure Nitrogen) this Fall - you have a remediation program to do. *DO* follow the Winterization piece of it.

This is going to take a while (multiple years) to get to a lush lawn, but it's going to be steadily improving - watch and see...

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ken-n-nancy
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Re: NJ Bill’s 2019 soil test

Post by ken-n-nancy » August 13th, 2019, 10:56 pm

andy10917 wrote:
August 13th, 2019, 4:59 pm
You have a soil that is somewhat sandy. At a TEC of 7.6, it's a bit short of the Loam categories that start at pH 8.
In the above, I think Andy meant "... that start at TEC 8."
NJ Bill wrote:
August 12th, 2019, 10:30 am
... the soil feels hard and rocky.
Is the soil rocky? When you took the samples for the soil test, does the soil have a lot of pebbles or rocks in it (i.e. is it practically gravel)? If so, fertilizer alone won't fix that. If you have particular areas of your lawn which just have too many rocks, it will be hard to get grass to grow well there, mostly due to an inability to hold sufficient water.

NJ Bill
Posts: 2
Joined: August 7th, 2019, 2:40 pm
Location: New Jersey
Grass Type: Northern mix
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
Level: Some Experience

Re: NJ Bill’s 2019 soil test

Post by NJ Bill » August 14th, 2019, 8:00 am

Thank you Andy! I figured it was going to be a long journey. I’ll see what balance fertilizer I can find and let you know.

I can’t believe the treatment company is starving the grass so severely! Is that typical to what you see when members take back their lawns from a company? Or is this one extremely bad?

For next spring, what kind of lime do you recommend? I see encap/magical recommended for most cases. Is that true for mine as well. Also should I retest in spring 2020 before dropping lime? Or should I wait until 2021 to get my second soil test?
ken-n-nancy wrote:
August 13th, 2019, 10:56 pm
NJ Bill wrote:
August 12th, 2019, 10:30 am
... the soil feels hard and rocky.
Is the soil rocky? When you took the samples for the soil test, does the soil have a lot of pebbles or rocks in it (i.e. is it practically gravel)? If so, fertilizer alone won't fix that. If you have particular areas of your lawn which just have too many rocks, it will be hard to get grass to grow well there, mostly due to an inability to hold sufficient water.
That’s a good point ken-n-nancy. It had some pebbles but generally felt hard/compact. It definitely wasn’t gravel, but I’m sure there will be some trouble areas that have larger rocks buried below. I’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

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