Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2019

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ken-n-nancy
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Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2019

Post by ken-n-nancy » May 14th, 2019, 11:30 pm

Below are the results of ken-n-nancy's Spring 2019 soil test. This is our sixth year since becoming members of the BL/ATY site. We're looking for ST6 recommendations, including the application of micronutrients. We still have all of the "fearsome foursome" left over from prior years.

In the past, we have always collected three separate soil samples for the three distinct areas in our lawn, but they were similar enough in each of the prior two years, that I decided to test only the front this year and presume that the side and back are on a similar trajectory. Accordingly, I plan to treat all areas the same, based upon the test from the front lawn. Maybe I'll test all the areas separately next year to see if they are remaining similar enough to one another to treat the same.

1 - Front Yard - 6700sqft, KBG blend of Bewitched and Prosperity, renovated fall 2018. The plan for 2019 is to (1) remain free of poa trivialis, (2) survive the first year disease-free, and (3) get the KBG to spread to fill in the thin spots!

2 - Side Yard - 3300 sqft, renovated in fall 2015 to Bewitched KBG. Our more proactive biofungicide regimen helped last year, as we grappled less with fungus issues. We intentionally killed off a large poa trivialis patch which we re-seeded with Bewitched KBG in the fall of 2018. The plan for 2019 is to get the new Bewitched to darken up enough to start to match the established Bewitched. Right now, they look like two completely different grasses!

3 - Back Yard - 2500 sqft, renovated in fall 2014 with Fine Fescue for shady conditions, with 2" of new topsoil. The areas that get at least a few hours of sun each day look pretty good, but the shadiest areas have continued to decline. Not sure what to do about the sparse, thin grass in the shadiest areas - even fine fescue needs a fair bit of sun. Transplanted a few square feet of Bewitched/Prosperity KBG sod (from the newly-renovated front lawn) into the darkest corner to see what happens. If that transplanted sod thins out too much, we will probably switch the shadiest areas to either crushed rock or hosta or ???

Images for the soil tests are in the next posting below. (Not included in this post due to the limit of only 4 URLs in each posting.)

Looking at the 2019 soil test results, organic matter levels are approximately the same. Phosphorus level is still climbing, probably due to mulching in lots and lots of leaves each fall. Calcium is now a little short of the target level; magnesium is holding steady, and potassium refuses to budge despite our regular spring and summer applications of sulfate of potash (SOP). Our sandy soil continuously leaches nutrients, so we're resigned to make perpetual potassium supplements just to maintain the status quo. Our sodium numbers are down a bit from last year, but that is probably due to less salt runoff from the road into the lawn, because of less snowfall in the winter of 2018-19 than most years.

In the micros, boron seems to have jumped since last year; not sure what's up with that. Iron has climbed a bit. (Maybe due to lots of Bay State Fertilizer?) Manganese, copper, and zinc seem to be close to where they should be. Aluminum is still too high, but lower than last year, and at our pH, we hope we don't need to worry about that (as if there were anything we could do about it anyway...)

For reference, below are the soil test related applications to the front lawn since the 2018 tests.

20 June 2018 - Bay State at 0.64#N/K with SOP at 2#/ksqft (1#K/ksqft), Boron at 3T/K, Manganese at 3T/K
24 July 2018 - Bay State at 0.64#N/K with SOP at 2#/ksqft (1#K/ksqft)
24 August 2018 - Bay State at 0.64#N/K with SOP at 2#/ksqft (1#K/ksqft)

We also made additional applications of Bay State and Urea fertilizers at various other times and as part of the fall nitrogen regimen.

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ken-n-nancy
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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2019

Post by ken-n-nancy » May 14th, 2019, 11:34 pm

Spring 2019 Soil Test Results:

Image

For prior year soil tests, see our Spring 2018 soil test thread.

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andy10917
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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2019

Post by andy10917 » May 16th, 2019, 8:40 pm

That looks like Massachusetts soil...

First of all, do not spend much time fretting over the Aluminum - if it were 2000 and the pH were below 5.5, I'd be concerned - but it's not. Now you can sleep.

I know you work diligently on the lawn and soil, and a TEC of a little more than 4 makes you wonder if your work will ever be rewarded. Stay on the OM effort and it will improve.

Like I said, a TEC of 4+ has challenges - it's very sandy and things leach easily.

The cations are a piece of work. I'm moving you to good calcitic lime (9 lbs/K) and Epsom Salts (2 lbs/K) on a 60 day schedule. I trust you to keep an eye out for any sign of Chlorosis.

Stay on the SOP at 2 lbs/K on 30-days, and away from the Lime/Magnesium as much as practical.

Phosphorus is, ummm, a Phosphorus mine.

Iron is great, and color should be good with that at your pH.

But what the hell is with the Sodium??? Any ideas? A 2% base saturation gets my attention and a 3% is cause for concern. A 3.64% is something to think long-and-hard about. Really. Even if it were road salt, if the rain in NH is anything like what this Spring has been like here, that should be totally flushed by now. WTH?

In the micro's, it's Boron and Manganese. 3 tablespoons/K each as described in the Micronutrient Application Guide, every 60 days.

Up to you on the Nitrogen source.

The Sodium is the immediate concern - find the source.

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ken-n-nancy
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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2019

Post by ken-n-nancy » May 16th, 2019, 9:19 pm

andy10917 wrote:
May 16th, 2019, 8:40 pm
That looks like Massachusetts soil...
Yup. Southern New Hampshire has the same lousy soil as Massachusetts. It's why nearly every farmer in the state moved to the midwest in the 1800s. Well, that and the fact that the soil isn't just lousy, but is also shallow and full of rocks. Well, at least it makes for lots of nice stone walls...
andy10917 wrote:
May 16th, 2019, 8:40 pm
I know you work diligently on the lawn and soil, and a TEC of a little more than 4 makes you wonder if your work will ever be rewarded. Stay on the OM effort and it will improve.
One nice thing about doing annual soil tests is that I can see that our labors are moving things in the right direction. Going back to 2015, our TEC was 2.28 and OM was 2.91%, so we're making slow but steady progress. I take the long term view, so as long as we're headed in the right direction, we can be happy.
andy10917 wrote:
May 16th, 2019, 8:40 pm
The cations are a piece of work. I'm moving you to good calcitic lime (9 lbs/K) and Epsom Salts (2 lbs/K) on a 60 day schedule. I trust you to keep an eye out for any sign of Chlorosis.
Yeah, I found the the lower calcium since last year to be disappointing. Calcium had been holding steady the last few years. With the front lawn renovation last fall, I didn't apply as much Bay State as usual (used very light doses of urea instead). I also wonder if all the watering may have leached some of the calcium out of the sandy soil.
andy10917 wrote:
May 16th, 2019, 8:40 pm
Stay on the SOP at 2 lbs/K on 30-days, and away from the Lime/Magnesium as much as practical.
Will do. I'll apply the Lime / Magnesium mid-way between SOP applications (i.e. two weeks apart) I applied the first SOP the day after I sampled the soil for the soil test, as I knew I'd still be on the SOP plan. So the good news is that means it's almost time to get that first Lime / Magnesium application down, too! It's nice when a plan comes together!
andy10917 wrote:
May 16th, 2019, 8:40 pm
But what the hell is with the Sodium??? Any ideas? A 2% base saturation gets my attention and a 3% is cause for concern. A 3.64% is something to think long-and-hard about. Really. Even if it were road salt, if the rain in NH is anything like what this Spring has been like here, that should be totally flushed by now. WTH?
Yeah, the sodium numbers, particularly in my front lawn, have always been high. Actually, the 48# / acre and 3.64% are the lowest numbers I've ever had in my soil test for the front lawn. The sodium level has usually been over 5%, with one year up above 14% (must have taken the sample way too early that year!)

To get more information on the sodium, I've been tempted to take soil samples one of these years in October, just before the ground freezes, to see if the sodium level is lower going into winter, when it's been 7 months since the last time the roads were salted. I'm also a little curious if the potassium level is better after a few months of regular SOP applications, but then drops over late fall, winter, and early spring each year.
andy10917 wrote:
May 16th, 2019, 8:40 pm
Up to you on the Nitrogen source.
The plan is for the spring/summer nitrogen coming mostly from Bay State Fertilizer. However, I need to get some more as I don't even have enough left for a full application to the lawn! In the fall, I'll probably use urea as part of the Fall Nitrogen Regimen.

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ken-n-nancy
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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2019

Post by ken-n-nancy » May 16th, 2019, 9:28 pm

Made the year's 1st "soil improvement" treatment on 7 May 2019, the day after collecting the annual soil sample. Since I knew from experience that we'd still be on the "potassium plan" with our sandy soil, I figured it would be good to get started with it near the beginning of May for a change!

Applied the following on 7 May 2019:

Sulfate of Potash at 2# / Ksqft on all areas using
Bay State Fertilizer as the carrier at a rate of 5 bags (200#) on 12,500sqft = 0.64#N / 1Ksqft.


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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2019

Post by Green » May 18th, 2019, 12:56 am

I had high sodium in my low input area last year. Never figured out why. I wondered if all the salt from the road in front and up the hill of the houses adjacent had washed down and into my yard somehow. I'll never know.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2019

Post by ken-n-nancy » June 3rd, 2019, 9:46 pm

Oops, just realized that I never posted what I did for the next soil improvement treatment...

Applied the following on 22 May 2019:

Calcitic Lime at 9# / Ksqft on front lawn.

I wasn't able to get the Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) in time, so I applied only the lime in this treatment. Will probably apply the Magnesium Sulfate at the next off-cycle between Sulfate of Potash applications.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2019

Post by ken-n-nancy » June 8th, 2019, 11:08 am

Another soil improvement treatment today...

Applied the following on 8 June 2019:

Sulfate of Potash (0-0-50) at 2# / Ksqft everywhere.

Since my prior posting in this thread, I also picked up the Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) I need -- found that our local Walmart no longer carries the 8# bags for $5.43, but Costco carries 12# boxes for $7.99, which is actually a tiny bit cheaper per pound. I'm planning to apply the Epsom Salt in about 2 weeks, which will put it smack between monthly SOP applications, and 1 month out of cycle with the Calcium.

Is there any advantage / disadvantage to having the Calcium and Magnesium applications be off-cycle from each other? Better to have them together? Better to have them separate? Does it not really matter?

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2019

Post by andy10917 » June 8th, 2019, 11:15 am

No, there is no synergy in applying them together - just a desire to minimize the number of applications that need to be made, when there is no antagonistic reaction to concern yourself with...

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2019

Post by ken-n-nancy » June 8th, 2019, 11:18 am

andy10917 wrote:
June 8th, 2019, 11:15 am
No, there is no synergy in applying them together - just a desire to minimize the number of applications that need to be made, when there is no antagonistic reaction to concern yourself with...
Great, thanks! I figured calcium & magnesium didn't care if applied together or separate, but wanted to leverage your knowledge on it.

I'm applying something every couple weeks anyway, and our lawn is small enough that the separate applications aren't a huge time sink.

However, I need more Bay State Fertilizer -- I don't like having to substitute other things with summer temperatures only a month away here in NH!

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2019

Post by andy10917 » June 8th, 2019, 11:27 am

That's why I like to post the "Heads-Up" postings 3-4 weeks ahead to the need for action. Summer is practically here!

It's almost 11:30am and the lawn got its weekly walk-around, but is still dewy in the shade - I'm itching to get going today with a long list of to-do's, but checking on postings is the closest I can get to working.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2019

Post by GreenGro » June 15th, 2019, 7:41 pm

Did you get the SOP at Achilles and epsom in Nashua? I’m on the hunt and figured you could point me in the right direction. I’m in SNH too

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2019

Post by ken-n-nancy » June 15th, 2019, 10:03 pm

GreenGro wrote:
June 15th, 2019, 7:41 pm
Did you get the SOP at Achilles and epsom in Nashua? I’m on the hunt and figured you could point me in the right direction. I’m in SNH too
Yes, I purchased the Sulfate of Potash at Achilles Agway in Milford. Call ahead if you're interested in getting some there. I haven't checked with Achilles Agway this year, as I have over 100# left over from my purchases last year. The garden center manager (Bruce) had been purchasing a pallet each year after I started requesting it.

I purchased the epsom salt at the Costco in Nashua. It was $7.99 for a 12-pound box. It is in the pharmacy section (it's usually used to mix up a solution for soaking your feet!)

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2019

Post by ken-n-nancy » August 19th, 2019, 9:18 pm

We made the year's 4th "soil improvement" treatment today on 19 August 2019. We've been running behind on soil improvement applications, as we ran out of Bay State Fertilizer in the spring and hadn't been able to find time to get more BSF during the brief periods that Carl at MWRA had some in stock. The lack of BSF, combined with this being a busy summer, kept us from keeping up with our typical summer fertilization -- just the mowing and applying Serenade has kept us busy!

Alas, this also means this was our first treatment of the year which included micronutrients. Oh well, we do what we can and try not to worry about the rest...

Today (19 August 2019) we applied the following:

Manganese at 3T / Ksqft on front only,
Boron (as Borax) at 3T / Ksqft on all areas, and
Sulfate of Potash at 2# / Ksqft on all areas using
Bay State Fertilizer as the carrier at a rate of 5 bags (200#) on 12,500sqft = 0.64#N / 1Ksqft.

Planning our next treatment (calcium and magnesium) for a couple weeks from now.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2019

Post by ken-n-nancy » September 19th, 2019, 10:33 pm

Today we applied what was probably our last soil improvement treatment for the year. Where has the summer gone?

Applied the following on 19 September 2019:

Calcitic Lime at 9# / ksqft on front lawn.
Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) at 2# / ksqft on front lawn.

We'll still be fertilizing further as part of the fall nitrogen regimens, but this is probably the end of the season for soil improvement for us up here in New Hampshire.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2019

Post by andy10917 » September 20th, 2019, 6:54 pm

... and the status of the efforts to improve things is????

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