Bryan's Siol Test

Learn how improving your soil can lead to a better looking lawn
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bryankloos
Posts: 50
Joined: August 1st, 2019, 5:18 pm
Location: Weston, CT
Grass Type: Fescue, Blue, and rye mix (mostly weeds)
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Bryan's Siol Test

Post by bryankloos » August 18th, 2019, 8:26 am

Hello All,

Please see the following soil test results.

I'm in the process of overseeding an power seeding this lawn, seed going down today and tomorrow based on my seasonal/work weather window.
Seems I'm low in N and K, and the pH is a bit acidic.

Given the seed will be down before I can amend the soil, what would you suggest I do the optimize this reno.

All help is appreciated.


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andy10917
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Re: Bryan's Siol Test

Post by andy10917 » August 18th, 2019, 8:57 am

Bryan, Soil Test Interpretations are only offered on tests provided by Logan Labs, as shown in the "Sticky" thread at the top of the Soil & Compost Forum. As volunteers, we can't learn the results and test suites of hundreds of labs. If you choose to re-run the tests at Logan Labs, we'd be happy to provide a free interpretation for you.

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ken-n-nancy
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Re: Bryan's Soil Test

Post by ken-n-nancy » August 18th, 2019, 10:18 am

Bryan, first off, welcome to the site! There are many knowledgeable folks here that can really help you have a fantastic lawn if you're willing to put in the work to improve your lawn and are willing to listen!

Thanks for posting your soil test. In order to do a really good interpretation, it's important to understand the techniques used by the particular lab in order to properly interpret the numbers. Accordingly, the ST6 folks here limit their interpretations to specific labs with which they are familiar. Right now, Logan Labs is the only lab on that list, so if you seek an expert interpretation you'll need to get a Logan Labs test performed as described in the topic for Posting A Soil Test for Interpretation.

However, I understand the disappointment on not having performed the right kind of test to get advice here as a new member. I made that mistake when I joined the site five years ago, too. Accordingly, I'm game to provide my opinion to you, but it's not an official ST6 soil test interpretation. Rather, it will be more of the form of assistance in understanding what your lab's soil test says and recommends, combined with my personal experience of having performed about 5 renovations in the last 7 years.

Before that, though, regardless of your soil test results, one of the best things you can do for your lawn is to develop proper maintenance practices -- cut the grass long via mulch mowing with no more than 1/3 of the blade removed at each cutting, and water deeply but infrequently to supplement natural rainfall to provide a total of at least 1" of rain per week. Perusing the forums here and reading the articles will give you ideas on how to maintain your lawn that will help you have a much better than average lawn.
bryankloos wrote:
August 18th, 2019, 8:26 am
I'm in the process of overseeding an power seeding this lawn, seed going down today and tomorrow based on my seasonal/work weather window.
Seems I'm low in N and K, and the pH is a bit acidic.

Given the seed will be down before I can amend the soil, what would you suggest I do the optimize this reno.
Not fertilizing in advance of seed-down will be okay given your soil test findings. Is the new seed solely an "overseeding" situation? In other words, you don't have any "full renovation" sections where the old grass has all been killed off?

The reason for my question is that one of the challenges with overseeding is fertilizing the new baby grass sufficiently without sending the existing grass into "high growth mode." With heavy fertilization, the fast-growing existing grass will shade the new seedlings and out-compete the new grass for nutrients. Personally, I've never had much success with overseeding, but it can work well for folks seeding perennial ryegrass (PRG) which establishes very quickly. My attempts at overseeding with Kentucky bluegrass (KBG) have ranged from failures setting back the whole lawn to being pretty much ineffective. For KBG, my recommendation is to NOT overseed, but instead to encourage spreading of the existing grass in a time of high growth (mid-spring or early- to mid-fall). However, with a northern mix (PRG, FF, KBG) lawn, the overseeded PRG can do well and the FF can do okay.

Now, on to your soil test...

There are basically three significant recommendations in your soil test. (There's also a fourth for addition of Manganese micronutrients, but that's a minor one that I would suggest not addressing at this time -- you have bigger fish to fry.)

However, before getting to the suggested fixes, there's some good news in your soil test. The phosphorus level is excellent, which will be good for your new seedlings -- phosphorus is an important nutrient for the root development of grass seedlings and you're in great shape in that regard. Usually, new seeding includes application of a phosphorus-containing fertilizer (usually known as "starter" fertilizer), but your phosphorus levels are sufficient that you shouldn't need a starter fertilizer. Also, your 6.7% organic matter is excellent, too. Those factors will be good for your new seedlings.

1 - Lime. Your pH of 5.2 is markedly lower than desired. However, applying lime at seed-down can significantly affect the surface pH where the new seed is germinating, which can be a problem. I would NOT make a lime application until the new grass has grown enough to be mowed a couple times. Also note that not all lime is the same. There are two primary types of lime: calcitic lime and dolomitic lime. Calcitic lime supplies primarily calcium. Dolomitic lime supplies both calcium and magnesium. See Andy's article, Lime and Your Lawn for a little more info. That article is a bit dated; in the ten years since then, the typical recommendation here is to use fast-acting lime products instead of the older (traditional) products mentioned in that article. The ratio of calcium:magnesium in your soil is lower than desired -- yours is around 4:1, which a range of about 7:1 to 10:1 is preferred. As such, you should apply calcitic lime (low magnesium) instead of dolomitic lime (about a 1:1 calcium to magnesium ratio.) If you apply dolomtic lime, you will worsen your Ca:Mg ratio. You also don't want to apply the entire shortfall of lime indicated by the soil test in one application. Personally, what I would do in your situation is apply a good calcitic lime like Encap/SoluCal/Mag-I-Cal/Sta-Green (Lowes brand) at 9 lbs/K, one time this fall, probably about 1 month after germination (likely around the end of September), depending upon what you see for establishment of the new grass. I would then retest in the spring with a Logan Labs test to get Andy's recommendations.

2 - Nitrogen. The Waypoint recommendation of 3.0 pounds of nitrogen per year isn't actually based upon the soil test. Nitrogen testing is fickle at best, and so Waypoint (wisely) doesn't perform this test unless specifically requested. Rather, their nitrogen recommendation is just the standard annual recommendation for a "Fescue Lawn." Personally, with an overseed, I would suggest making an application of either Milorganite or a fine-prill nitrogen fertilizer (I'm a fan of Scott's TurfBuilder for this specific purpose -- first app on newly seeded grass) about 10 days after germination of the new grass. For more information on fall fertilization, see the thread on viewtopic.php?f=4&t=15109 Fall is the best time of year to fertilize -- at least half of that annual recommendation for 3.0 pounds of nitrogen should be applied in the fall.

3 - Potassium. Your potassium level is low. However, high applications of potassium in the fall has been correlated with snow mold issues the following spring. Personally, with new grass, I would try to walk the line in between the two extremes (neither zero-potassium or high potassium application) and take a middle-of-the-road route. The way that I would suggest doing that is instead of using Milorganite or a standard Scott's Turfbuilder for your first fertilizer application on the new grass, I would use Scott's "WinterGuard Fall Lawn Food" (32-0-10) product, as it has a reasonable amount of potassium in it. What more, the potassium in that product is the "less harsh" form -- sulfate of potash (aka potassium sulfate), rather than the more harsh muriate of potash used in most lawn fertilizers.

So, to summarize, I personally would do the following if I were in your situation of making an overseed:

A - No fertilizer application at time of seed-down for an overseed.

B - Apply Scotts TurfBuilder WinterGuard Fall Lawn Food (32-0-10) at "bag rate" (following the label instructions on the bag) approximately 10 days after germination of the new grass, presuming that you are seeding a northern mix (combination of PRG, FF, KBG). It is important that this fertilizer be watered in after application to prevent any burning on the new grass

C - Apply a good calcitic lime at 9 lbs per K about 1 month after germination. I'd use the Sta-green (Lowes brand) product because it is easy to find and generally price competitive.

D - I'd decide on what to do for additional fall fertilization (late September and October) depending upon how the grass develops by soliciting further advice on this forum and reading the Fall Nitrogen Regimens article referenced above.

Good luck.

bryankloos
Posts: 50
Joined: August 1st, 2019, 5:18 pm
Location: Weston, CT
Grass Type: Fescue, Blue, and rye mix (mostly weeds)
Lawn Size: 20000-1 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: Bryan's Siol Test

Post by bryankloos » August 19th, 2019, 8:32 am

Thanks so much for this detailed reply. I've clearly found a great forum!

The lawn varies from overseed to renovation depending on the sections. It had large areas of weeds in some sections that had completely overcome the grass and some areas where the grass was still present in patches between the weeds. Overall there was about 50% coverase with broadleaf weeds, which were killed off with selective herbicides. So some areas are bare dirt and some areas have moderate grass coverage.

I'm using a sun/shade mix with little KBG, so hoping the PRG and FF get a quick hold before the native grass grow tall. The lawn will be mowed very short prior to seeding.

I'll follow your recommendations and timeline and report back with progress and questions as we get further into fall, and I know how germination looks.

Again, many thanks!

Bryan

bryankloos
Posts: 50
Joined: August 1st, 2019, 5:18 pm
Location: Weston, CT
Grass Type: Fescue, Blue, and rye mix (mostly weeds)
Lawn Size: 20000-1 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: Bryan's Siol Test

Post by bryankloos » March 23rd, 2020, 8:03 pm

If I'm using calcitic lime, does the 110lb/k still hold?


Wors
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Re: Bryan's Siol Test

Post by Wors » March 24th, 2020, 6:27 am

bryankloos wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 8:03 pm
If I'm using calcitic lime, does the 110lb/k still hold?
No, the WayPoint recommendations are over a season/time not a single application. Same goes for the 3.0 lb N. Your N should be spread over the season not all at one time.

Stick to ken-n-nancy product/app recommendation for calcitic lime.

TimmyG
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Re: Bryan's Siol Test

Post by TimmyG » March 24th, 2020, 9:57 am

^+1. Do reread ken-n-nancy's bullet #1. It's spot on and should preclude you from asking that question.

Be aware. Git 'er done.

bryankloos
Posts: 50
Joined: August 1st, 2019, 5:18 pm
Location: Weston, CT
Grass Type: Fescue, Blue, and rye mix (mostly weeds)
Lawn Size: 20000-1 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: Bryan's Siol Test

Post by bryankloos » March 25th, 2020, 9:14 am

My question was whether there was a difference between dolomitic vs Calcitic lime. The waypoing recommendation gave me a weight to apply over the year, which I was assuming was for Dolomitic Lime. Im wondering, now that Im using Calcitic Lime, if the original amounts suggested by Waypoint would be different...

Sorry if my question wasn't clear.

I do understand ken-n-nancys recommendations. I am following them. Just want to be sure as I may be comparing apples to oranges. Better safe than sorry.

Thanks!

TimmyG
Posts: 2239
Joined: May 15th, 2012, 6:04 pm
Location: Dracut, MA
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Re: Bryan's Siol Test

Post by TimmyG » March 25th, 2020, 12:40 pm

See:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=20049&p=275167#p275167
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=23018&p=315484#p315484
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=18969&p=260349#p260349

Long story short, there are substantial differences between standard pelletized limes (usually dolomitic but sometimes calcitic) and fast-acting limes (usually calcitic but infrequently dolomitic) including compositions, suggested rates, and performance.

Regarding Waypoint's recommendation of 110 lbs/k in total, understand that it's almost impossible to know just how much of any lime product is needed to achieve a desired pH or mineral target. There are just too many unknown variables including environmental influences that will likely demand maintenance applications. Total amounts are really only applicable when applied at once and worked into the soil, like for farming or gardening or preparing new construction for a new lawn. And yes, if one were determined to focus on the total amount, there would be a difference between the recommendations for standard dolomitic lime and fast-acting calcitic lime. For an existing lawn, the best advice is to take the advice of application rate and frequency for a yearly plan and to conduct a new soil test first thing each spring and revise the plan yearly based on how your calcium, magnesium, and pH are moving.

bryankloos
Posts: 50
Joined: August 1st, 2019, 5:18 pm
Location: Weston, CT
Grass Type: Fescue, Blue, and rye mix (mostly weeds)
Lawn Size: 20000-1 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: Bryan's Siol Test

Post by bryankloos » March 31st, 2020, 6:18 am

Super. Thanks for the reply.
I’ll get my soil sample out this week and post.
All the best,
Bryan

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