Chris' Soil Test

Learn how improving your soil can lead to a better looking lawn
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cdc2787
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Location: Berks County, Pa
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Chris' Soil Test

Post by cdc2787 » October 3rd, 2019, 10:53 am

Hello, my lawn is approximately 18,000 sq. ft. and unirrigated. I'm 4 weeks in from overseeding 6,000 sq. ft. of the lawn. This is my second season following a hybrid approach using grains, milorganite, mulching leaves and grass while using urea for my final application of the season. Any advice would be much appreciated and would like to thank everyone for the knowledge I've gained from this website.

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andy10917
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Re: Chris' Soil Test

Post by andy10917 » October 3rd, 2019, 7:02 pm

There is an image placeholder, but no soil test results.

cdc2787
Posts: 7
Joined: June 26th, 2018, 9:51 pm
Location: Berks County, Pa
Grass Type: Northern Mix
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
Level: Novice

Re: Chris' Soil Test

Post by cdc2787 » October 3rd, 2019, 7:32 pm

Hopefully I get it right this time.

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andy10917
Posts: 27926
Joined: February 23rd, 2009, 10:48 pm
Location: NY (Lower Hudson Valley)
Grass Type: Emblem KBG (Front); Blueberry KBG Monostand (Back)
Lawn Size: 1 acre-2 acre
Level: Advanced

Re: Chris' Soil Test

Post by andy10917 » October 3rd, 2019, 7:35 pm

You did - now just add it to the Soil Test Interpretation Queue as a Link to this thread.

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andy10917
Posts: 27926
Joined: February 23rd, 2009, 10:48 pm
Location: NY (Lower Hudson Valley)
Grass Type: Emblem KBG (Front); Blueberry KBG Monostand (Back)
Lawn Size: 1 acre-2 acre
Level: Advanced

Re: Chris' Soil Test

Post by andy10917 » October 5th, 2019, 8:57 am

That's a soil that you don't see very often. Structurally it is very good, and chemically it's all over the board...

Structurally, it's got a nice TEC, at 8.21 (a slightly sandy loam). That's boosted to that number by the OM level by a great 5.57%. That's nice.

Chemically, it has some challenges, but no damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situations. Everything is solvable.

In the cations, Magnesium and Potassium are a little on the high side (Potassium is great!), but the Calcium is very, very low. It along is dragging the pH into the basement at 5.6 (pretty acidic). The solution is easy, but will take 2-3 years to adjust. The cure is good calcitic lime. Do not substitute anything that is dolomitic (dolomitic will have too high a Magnesium component). Brand names to consider include Encap, Mag-I-Cal, SoluCal and Sta-Green. It will seem more expensive but is actually cheaper per 1,000 sq ft to achieve the goal as much less is needed (9 lbs/K vs 40-50 lbs/K), and the product allows more applications per year as it integrates far faster. Apply it at 9 lbs/K every 60-90 days. It's your biggest issue.

The Phosphorus number is on the low side, but not very urgent - a good starter fertilizer applied monthly at bag rate will address Phosphorus while also being your Nitrogen source.

Your Iron number is on the short side, and will keep your color from being at it's best. Starting in April, apply 2-3 lbs/K every 60 days of Ferrous Sulfate (also known as Iron Sulfate), but keep applications away from the lime apps if at all possible.

In the micronutrients, Boron is short and has interactions with Calcium. Both being short is not optimal. Get and apply Twenty Mule Team laundry soap from the grocery store, and apply it at 3 tablespoons/K as outlined in the Micronutrient Application Guide every 60 days. BTW, your Manganese numbers are high enough to open a Manganese mine. Manganese and Iron have a complex relationship and I'll keep an eye on that for you.

I'd retest and post late next season or early in 2021...


cdc2787
Posts: 7
Joined: June 26th, 2018, 9:51 pm
Location: Berks County, Pa
Grass Type: Northern Mix
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
Level: Novice

Re: Chris' Soil Test

Post by cdc2787 » October 7th, 2019, 4:03 pm

Thank you for the interpretation and plan. How quickly do you typically see OM shift in a year or two? If I abandon ~bi-monthly grain apps at 15 lbs/K next season, will I see a significant drop? I will continue to mulch mow as well mulch my leaves. I'm just trying to keep costs in perspective. Thanks again.

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andy10917
Posts: 27926
Joined: February 23rd, 2009, 10:48 pm
Location: NY (Lower Hudson Valley)
Grass Type: Emblem KBG (Front); Blueberry KBG Monostand (Back)
Lawn Size: 1 acre-2 acre
Level: Advanced

Re: Chris' Soil Test

Post by andy10917 » October 7th, 2019, 9:49 pm

How quickly do you typically see OM shift in a year or two?
With real effort, OM can rise by 0.5% per year. It typical does not fall quickly - there is no real "leaching".

bpgreen
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Re: Chris' Soil Test

Post by bpgreen » October 8th, 2019, 12:49 am

I've frequently seen the expression "it's a marathon, not a sprint" here when people ask about things like raising om%.

cdc2787
Posts: 7
Joined: June 26th, 2018, 9:51 pm
Location: Berks County, Pa
Grass Type: Northern Mix
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
Level: Novice

Re: Chris' Soil Test

Post by cdc2787 » October 8th, 2019, 8:15 pm

PB, I've read that as well but never considered it working the other way around. I raised the question because I'm thinking I may ditch the grain applications so I'm able to comfortably pick up the cost of the soil plan. I'm fortunate to have affordable grains available, but milorganite is not cheap around here so I may have to change some things up. Thanks for all the input.

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