BG South Carolina Soil Test - Centipede

Learn how improving your soil can lead to a better looking lawn
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Spittin_Fire
Posts: 5
Joined: May 25th, 2021, 11:32 pm
Location: Summerville, SC
Grass Type: Centipede
Lawn Size: 3000-5000
Level: Experienced

BG South Carolina Soil Test - Centipede

Post by Spittin_Fire » June 8th, 2021, 10:51 am

1st time poster, long time reader! I appreciate any and all time individuals take to read and respond. I don't need a perfect lawn, but want a great lawn. I've had a really hard time getting my lawn to fill in completely and be lush.

Background:
    House built in 2018 with centipede sod
      Samples were taken between 5 to 6 inches with a soil sample probe over multiple locations. I realized after reading the instructions that I should have aimed for 4 inches, but I had already sampled and sent in. I also wanted a good indication of soil structure, so hopefully 5 to 6 inches isn't that detrimental.
        Roughly 3000 sq ft yard, with irrigation. Usually water twice a week, mow once or twice a week.
          Used another lab the last two years. pH was high. 2020 pH was 6.9, was able to get down 50lbs of Sulfur over 3 different applications in 2020. 2021 pH 6.4. Both were through Spectrum Analytic.
            Have put down about 30 lbs. of sulfur this year.
              I know soil test should be done at the beginning of the year prior to any applications, but I was curious as to how the lawn was progressing this year. I did put down about .5 inch of compost this spring, 40lbs of Anderson's Humichar, Anderson's Professional PGF 16-0-8 at recommended settings for 3000 sq ft, as well as the 30 lbs. of sulfur mentioned above over two applications so far.


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              andy10917
              Posts: 29462
              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: BG South Carolina Soil Test - Centipede

              Post by andy10917 » June 8th, 2021, 8:46 pm

              Spittin, you made me laugh. not at you, but at the scenario you're in. You've got a soil that is perfect for Bermuda and an attitude of attention and high-input care, and you're applying it to trying to manage a grass that almost thrives on low-inputs and near-abuse.

              If there is anything you're doing wrong, it may be loving it to death.

              Centipede is an interesting grass that breaks a lot of the rules of other grasses. I''m sure that you know that it will never be as dark and dense as Bermuda, and your native soil says "plant Bermuda here". It loves an environment that is pH 5.0 to 6.0 (5.5 perfect). It cries if it has too little nutrients below pH 5.0, and gets sick with root burn if there are a plethora of nutrients above pH 6.0. And yet you try to pull the pH down.

              I'm not going to fight your love of your lawn. I'm staying away from adding cations that could raise the pH.

              I'm staying away from Phosphorus, which is an issue at pH 6.0 and higher.

              To be honest, the only thing that you need (across the board) is micronutrients. Are you up for that this year?

              Now, I'm going to give you advice that I don't know if you're genetically inclined to follow: ease up with all the PGF products. The micro's (which aren't working in your current situation) and Humichar (which hold cations well). Use Milorganite at half-rate every 8 weeks. The corrective regimen for micro's works well with the Milorganite as a carrier.

              They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder -- I think that a lighter hand on the Centipede will make it grow fonder too...

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              MorpheusPA
              Posts: 17184
              Joined: March 5th, 2009, 7:32 pm
              Location: Zone 6 (Eastern PA)
              Grass Type: Elite KBG
              Lawn Size: 10000-20000
              Level: Advanced

              Re: BG South Carolina Soil Test - Centipede

              Post by MorpheusPA » June 9th, 2021, 12:08 am

              Agreed. The easiest thing to do with Centipede is...ignore it. Feed maybe once a year. If you even bother on that soil.

              Spittin_Fire
              Posts: 5
              Joined: May 25th, 2021, 11:32 pm
              Location: Summerville, SC
              Grass Type: Centipede
              Lawn Size: 3000-5000
              Level: Experienced

              Re: BG South Carolina Soil Test - Centipede

              Post by Spittin_Fire » June 9th, 2021, 8:52 am

              Andy/Morpheus: First and foremost, I appreciate the feedback. Just to give a little more background, this sod is going on year number 3. Year 1 doesn't really count as I'm assuming root development really needed to happen. Didn't do too much in year two as I had ton of other projects going on. I'm a transplant from the north, so it was only the beginning of this year that I actually started scouring the net on how to handle centipede. Year two, with doing nothing the lawn was not very good. I think I've made progress this year as it does look much better. Within about 4 days of putting compost down this spring, the grass was green and seemed to be doing well, but it didn't last that long. Maybe because I'm still dialing in my sprinklers, maybe the push with amendments to try and accelerate good soil structure. Anyways, I've seen promise with centipede and I've seen plenty of lawns with centipede that look good. I do have a chemistry background, so this does become somewhat of a experiment for myself to learn. It's just my opinion, but it seems to be a different atmosphere in the south when it comes to landscaping and lawns, and sometimes I wonder if centipede gets a bad rap. I really thought about changing to Bermuda, but I'm in a new development where all sod planted was centipede. I worry about putting down bermuda knowing it's an aggressive grass and really don't want to argue with close neighbors. I keep hearing and reading that centipede is low maintenance, but I do have a dog, and I can tell you the greenest grass is where she does her business. Grass is green, grows fast, but I also know this could be bad potentially leading to disease and or increased thatch layer. I've attached a picture of the current status. As you can see, the left side where the grass is thicker and greener is the dogs space. The area on the right you can see is more sparse and has mixed green/brown/purple tinge. We've had rain everyday for a week plus, so I know moisture is not an issue. I'm ready for everything and anything from a suggestion standpoint, so bring it on. Again, this is more of an experiment to see what can be done to bring the best results. What are your thoughts on getting the soil structure in good shape? I do aerate every spring and plan on putting compost down every spring after aerating. Do you think it's worth putting compost down in the spring and fall? I also think it's weird I never see any worms in the soil. I'm not sure if worms aren't a thing in South Carolina or if it's because of the soil structure. Sorry for the long winded response.

              Looking forward to the responses and actionable plans, even if it's simply to watch the grass grow! I do have liquid kelp and humic acid as well if that needs to be incorporated into the plan. Ok, one last question while I still have a little breath left. If I'm adding Sulfur once a month, what impact does this have until the soil stabilizes. I know it's a biological conversion, but does the creation of Sulfuric Acid over and over each month have a negative effect until the soil stabilizes?
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              MorpheusPA
              Posts: 17184
              Joined: March 5th, 2009, 7:32 pm
              Location: Zone 6 (Eastern PA)
              Grass Type: Elite KBG
              Lawn Size: 10000-20000
              Level: Advanced

              Re: BG South Carolina Soil Test - Centipede

              Post by MorpheusPA » June 9th, 2021, 3:07 pm

              You can certainly feed every now and again, it's not going to hurt. A spring and late summer feeding wouldn't be taken amiss, and use just plain urea, or the cheapest fertilizer you can find that doesn't include much phosphorus (a low second number). Centipede doesn't like a lot of phosphorus and your soil levels are entirely adequate for it. Light apps of fert are fine--it's not a heavy feeder and heavier feedings can do damage.

              While centipede doesn't care for high pH, it's fine at 6.5 (it's not optimal, but you're not going to shift it downward easily, either). There's no need for surface-applied sulfur as it's not particularly effective. At least a third gets lost to the atmosphere as smog (sulfur dioxide). It's trying to cancel more than a ton of calcium per acre, so good luck with that, and unfortunately it's also going to cost potassium, which centipede actually needs.

              In this case, the lawn's clearly not unhappy at 6.5. I'd simply ignore it, give it nitrogen as per the schedule (again, spring and late summer--so if you went lightly now that would be fine, and again in late August), and otherwise ignore it. Your soil, for this grass, is actually on the rich side.


              Spittin_Fire
              Posts: 5
              Joined: May 25th, 2021, 11:32 pm
              Location: Summerville, SC
              Grass Type: Centipede
              Lawn Size: 3000-5000
              Level: Experienced

              Re: BG South Carolina Soil Test - Centipede

              Post by Spittin_Fire » June 10th, 2021, 4:01 pm

              Andy,

              I'm ready and waiting for the micronutrient application rates. Thanks in advance!

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              andy10917
              Posts: 29462
              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: BG South Carolina Soil Test - Centipede

              Post by andy10917 » June 10th, 2021, 10:06 pm

              A fearsome foursome member!!!

              Get Twenty Mule Team laundry soap from the grocery store, and Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate and Zinc Sulfate from Amazon or EBay. Apply at 3 tablespoons/K each as outlined in the Micronutrient Application Guide. Repeat every 60 days.

              Spittin_Fire
              Posts: 5
              Joined: May 25th, 2021, 11:32 pm
              Location: Summerville, SC
              Grass Type: Centipede
              Lawn Size: 3000-5000
              Level: Experienced

              Re: BG South Carolina Soil Test - Centipede

              Post by Spittin_Fire » June 11th, 2021, 9:15 am

              Thanks Andy...I love tinkering, so I will see how it goes. Product is ordered and should be here next week. When you say repeat every 60 days, how many repetitions of 60 days am I looking at?

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              andy10917
              Posts: 29462
              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: BG South Carolina Soil Test - Centipede

              Post by andy10917 » June 11th, 2021, 9:22 am

              The applications are for one growing season. Then we see what next year's test results say.

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