John's Soil Test 2019

Learn how improving your soil can lead to a better looking lawn
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John P
Posts: 8
Joined: July 7th, 2019, 6:50 pm
Location: Houston
Grass Type: St. Augustine
Lawn Size: 1000-3000
Level: Some Experience

John's Soil Test 2019

Post by John P » November 8th, 2019, 3:27 pm

Hello everyone. I've just begun participation with the various recommended approaches found here within the last 6 months. So, to start with, my thanks to all the contributors. This has been a great find.

Size: almost 2000 SF (front only)
Grass: St. Augustine
Location: Houston
Watering: irrigation

I have only taken over care for ~the last 3 years, which is roughly the time I had it re-sodded. This has been a problem lawn for many years (no matter whether the old or new grass). The grass stays thin and shallow. It looks pretty good through late Spring but then begins to yellow when the real heat hits, which is generally Memorial Day to early June.
I water 4X per week on an irrigation system. When I first found this forum this past summer, I attempted the limited & deep watering schedule but it was an immediate failure, so I quickly went back to the 4X/week pattern. In hindsight probably should not have dove into that in the middle of summer.
In terms of fertilization, over the years, it's has almost always been Scots Turf Builder or Green Max. This summer I switched to the programs recommended in the various pages here. I now apply organics (mainly alfalfa, but also some corn meal) every two weeks (20 pounds per 2000 -- I found this to be simple since its a half bag per treatment). I mulch everything, and have my own composter.
I also began applying KH and SC every other week (I should note I add equal parts Kelp and Fish Emulsion for the KH, mainly because I already had a gallon of Fish Emulsion. When I run out of that, I will go 100% kelp.
In Sept, I began applying Ammonium Sulfate every other week (2lbs per application). It does keep it growing. I would have gone with Urea but none of the 8 feed stores/big box stores in my area had it.
Lastly, I dropped some granualized iron down about 2 weeks before this test.

Other negative factors perhaps worth mentioning --
Houston generally has a predominant clay soil colloquially referred to as "Black Gumbo." The best description is that if you walk through some bare damp soil it will stick to your boots, walk a mile, and it will still be stuck to your boots.
I have a big oak tree (maybe 150 years old) which has a large root system, with lots of thin root runners near the surface.
Lastly, the unusually high heat & high humidity in Houston in the summer interferes with transpiration process. Which makes it tough on all plants, not just turfgrass.
The good news is that I have neighbors with beautiful St. Augustine lawns -- this encourages me because I know its possible to eventually win this battle. Also, while digging my soil samples, I found only 1 grub, so that was good. That plus the resources and knowledge I've gained here are enough to keep me going. So thanks again.

Image

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andy10917
Posts: 27975
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: John's Soil Test 2019

Post by andy10917 » November 9th, 2019, 9:19 am

The soil test interpretation season ended on October 31st, and the spreadsheets, etc are undergoing upgrades now. We won't be doing them again until late January.

John P
Posts: 8
Joined: July 7th, 2019, 6:50 pm
Location: Houston
Grass Type: St. Augustine
Lawn Size: 1000-3000
Level: Some Experience

Re: John's Soil Test 2019

Post by John P » November 9th, 2019, 10:51 am

OK, thanks for the heads up
Sorry I missed the deadline

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andy10917
Posts: 27975
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: John's Soil Test 2019

Post by andy10917 » November 9th, 2019, 11:00 am

We'll be happy to get it done as soon as the spreadsheet modifications are made - this year I'm experimenting with "artificial intelligence" (AI) for building plans quickly and making them consistent. If work demands permit, this will be a big change.

Make sure to put it into the Soil Interpretation Queue as soon as it is created in 2020!!

PS: I'm planning to use artificial intelligence since I lack natural intelligence.

John P
Posts: 8
Joined: July 7th, 2019, 6:50 pm
Location: Houston
Grass Type: St. Augustine
Lawn Size: 1000-3000
Level: Some Experience

Re: John's Soil Test 2019

Post by John P » November 9th, 2019, 3:18 pm

No worries mate, and thanks again


ps -- and let me know If that artificial intelligence comes in an injectable form


John P
Posts: 8
Joined: July 7th, 2019, 6:50 pm
Location: Houston
Grass Type: St. Augustine
Lawn Size: 1000-3000
Level: Some Experience

Re: John's Soil Test 2019

Post by John P » December 2nd, 2019, 7:47 pm

A couple questions have occured to me in case anyone stumbles across this post

1. Calcium/Magnesium ratio My test results (above) show if I use Exchangeable Cations, my C/M ratio is around 13-to-1, well above the desired 7-to-1. However, if I use Base Saturation %, the ratio is a more reasonable 8-to-1. Which am i supposed to be using?

2. Related to #1 -- my calcium is above the "desired value," which I guess might be due to our water supply. While I have read several ways to bring soil calcium up, I havent seen anything about reducing calcium. Does anyone have any ideas on this?

3. Exchangeable Hydrogen - Ive read this is supposed to be a by-product of regular fertilizing and I have been fertilized but mine show up as "0." Is this something I should be concerned about or can I just ignore it?

4. Mulch Everything - I have been doing this for the last 6 months or so. But one source I have been avoiding are the leaves I clean out of the pool. It might not sound like much but in leaf season, I collect quite an impressive pile. I was afraid of the traces of chlorinated water. But maybe I am overthinking this? What is the collective wisdom on these tainted leaves?

Thanks

TimmyG
Posts: 2143
Joined: May 15th, 2012, 6:04 pm
Location: Dracut, MA
Grass Type: Northern Mix
Lawn Size: 20000-1 acre
Level: Experienced

Re: John's Soil Test 2019

Post by TimmyG » December 2nd, 2019, 10:06 pm

4. Overthinking. Mulch the pool leaves.

User avatar
andy10917
Posts: 27975
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: John's Soil Test 2019

Post by andy10917 » December 2nd, 2019, 10:33 pm

1. Incorrect thinking
2. Incorrect thinking
3. Incorrect thinking

We'll go over it when we're doing soil tests again

John P
Posts: 8
Joined: July 7th, 2019, 6:50 pm
Location: Houston
Grass Type: St. Augustine
Lawn Size: 1000-3000
Level: Some Experience

Re: John's Soil Test 2019

Post by John P » December 3rd, 2019, 1:10 pm

LOL, thanks guys
I clearly am in 'got a lot more to learn' mode.

User avatar
andy10917
Posts: 27975
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: John's Soil Test 2019

Post by andy10917 » December 3rd, 2019, 5:52 pm

You'll learn over time. One of your questions was actually a decade-long debate, where one of the top soil scientists in the world got results that others couldn't duplicate. Until they found a difference in the formulas. It was all about the atomic weights (hint, hint).

John P
Posts: 8
Joined: July 7th, 2019, 6:50 pm
Location: Houston
Grass Type: St. Augustine
Lawn Size: 1000-3000
Level: Some Experience

Re: John's Soil Test 2019

Post by John P » December 4th, 2019, 8:37 pm

TimmyG wrote:
December 2nd, 2019, 10:06 pm
4. Overthinking. Mulch the pool leaves.
Thanks for that - and it's perfect timing

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