Soil test

Learn how improving your soil can lead to a better looking lawn
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CountryRoads
Posts: 4
Joined: August 2nd, 2019, 11:29 am
Location: SW VA
Grass Type: KBG
Lawn Size: 20000-1 acre
Level: Some Experience

Soil test

Post by CountryRoads » August 2nd, 2019, 12:32 pm

I know I’m the new person, but just got some soil results back from Logan. If anyone gets bored and has a few extra minutes any suggestions are appreciated. I’m located in southwestern Virginia. Thanks
Image

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andy10917
Posts: 27862
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: Soil test

Post by andy10917 » August 2nd, 2019, 1:02 pm

Welcome!

Make sure to add a Link to this thread into the Soil Test Interpretation Queue thread, so we know you're needing attention.

Also it helps if you give us some background about your history, practices, problems and goals - we tailor our answers to you based on that info...

CountryRoads
Posts: 4
Joined: August 2nd, 2019, 11:29 am
Location: SW VA
Grass Type: KBG
Lawn Size: 20000-1 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: Soil test

Post by CountryRoads » August 2nd, 2019, 1:16 pm

Thanks Andy
background:
I did at renovation in stages since the yard is about an acre with a mix of Zinfandel, Bewitched, Award, and Midnight. Seemed to be going well but in the front (where this sample was taken) it's been overrun with bermuda/wire grass. I think part of it was my fault in that I was cutting too low by assuming the numbers in inches on my Ferris deck scale were correct without measuring, and I think part of it is that the soil seems very hard and I don't seem to be getting the magical spreading benefits of kbg. The lawn is fully irrigated and receives full sun.
I've been applying milo on a somewhat regular basis and have hit it with the weekly light doses of urea yearly in the fall.
In looking through some other threads I found a test result similar to mine with low calcium and high magnesium who was also complaining about hard soil and they were told it was likely that ration which was giving him difficulties, so I'm guessing that's the best place to start?

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andy10917
Posts: 27862
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: Soil test

Post by andy10917 » August 2nd, 2019, 1:34 pm

In looking through some other threads I found a test result similar to mine with low calcium and high magnesium who was also complaining about hard soil and they were told it was likely that ration which was giving him difficulties, so I'm guessing that's the best place to start?
Nope, that's not how we work the interpretations. The $10 cooperative extension analyses do that - they treat each nutrient as standalone scenarios, and the ratios of X to Y nutrients in your lawn interact heavily. We work to achieve an overall integration of nutrients that will work holistically over a period of time. Does that mean we won't address you Calcium:Magnesium issue? Hell no! Yeah, it's there and needs attention, but it's one part of the overall solution.

I'll probably sit down with this either this evening or tomorrow morning - it takes a while to formulate an interpretation that will work...

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andy10917
Posts: 27862
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: Soil test

Post by andy10917 » August 4th, 2019, 8:26 am

That's a somewhat heavy soil with a TEC of 14.55. Heavy soils are not "bad", as long as they drain well. They hold a lot of nutrients well. The OM% is pretty good at 4.3%, and that's on top of a good mineral component.

In the cations, you're right that the very high Magnesium ration is likely causing the hard-to-work nature of your comments - it's showing a 3.57:1 ratio, and anything under 4 is highly likely to show symptoms. We'll deal with trying to change that. The Potassium isn't perfect for the ratios we'd like to see, but that can be dealt with later - the raw numbers are adequate for now.

Phosphorus is short and needs your attention. To get it fixed, locate and get a Starter Fertilizer and post the NPK for application rates.

Iron is very short and probably affecting color, but with an elevated pH (mostly from the Magnesium) it's not easy to fix. We could use some Milorganite in the fertilizer mix, or you could do FAS foliar applications to maintain color every 3-4 weeks. I'd like your input for direction.

In the micro's, only Boron is short - do you want to deal with that this year?

The way to deal with the Magnesium surplus is to use Gypsum - it can displace Magnesium and raise Calcium in many cases without raising the pH. My favorite product for this is the Sta-Green Rapid Gypsum product available at Lowe's. It's inexpensive compared to other products and works well for your situation. Apply it at the heavy bag rate every 60 days. If you can't find it, the Encap and Pennington fast-acting Gypsum is also good, but more expensive.

So, apply the Starter fertilizer monthly after getting back to us with the NPK, and the Rapid Gypsum every 60 days. Since the soil is hard to work, read up on the BLSC applications for temporary treatments until the Gypsum makes its effects apparent. It's your call, but it could help to buy time. Let us know about the Boron apps.

I'd suggest that you also look into opening a different thread in the Cool Season forum for dealing with the Bermuda Grass issue - we try to focus on the soil issues separately.

Get back to us on the open issues, OK?


CountryRoads
Posts: 4
Joined: August 2nd, 2019, 11:29 am
Location: SW VA
Grass Type: KBG
Lawn Size: 20000-1 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: Soil test

Post by CountryRoads » August 4th, 2019, 9:09 am

Thanks a lot Andy

I couldn't find the StaGreen versions anywhere so I ordered the Encap from the local Ace, should be here Tuesday.

Looks like the starter fertilizer available is a 24-25-4

I think I'll get back to putting more milorganite down, it seems easier and less tiring than lugging and pumping a backpack sprayer full of FAS.

Regarding boron, if it's relatively simple I don't mind getting it knocked out this year

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andy10917
Posts: 27862
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: Soil test

Post by andy10917 » August 4th, 2019, 10:04 am

The Sta-Green products are a "house brand" at Lowes only, and you have to hyphenate the name to find them.

The Starter goes down at 4 lbs/K, monthly. You can adjust that a bit if you'll be applying Milorganite also - alternate with the Starter maybe. There is some Phosphorus in Milorganite.

Boron is pretty easy once you get the gist of it. Read the Micronutrient Application Guide. Get Twenty Mule Team laundry soap at a grocery store and apply 3 tablespoons/K every 60 days as outlined in the Article or FAQ area.

CountryRoads
Posts: 4
Joined: August 2nd, 2019, 11:29 am
Location: SW VA
Grass Type: KBG
Lawn Size: 20000-1 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: Soil test

Post by CountryRoads » August 4th, 2019, 10:29 am

Thanks. What sort of duration are we looking at? Assuming monthly until the end of the growing season? Continue next year?

User avatar
andy10917
Posts: 27862
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: Soil test

Post by andy10917 » August 4th, 2019, 10:48 am

Oh, yeah -- displacing Magnesium is far from a one-and-done thing.

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