Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

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ken-n-nancy
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Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by ken-n-nancy » June 25th, 2020, 9:03 pm

Below are the results of ken-n-nancy's Spring 2020 soil test. This is our seventh year since becoming members of the BL/ATY site. We're looking for Andy's recommendations again, including the application of micronutrients. We still have all of the "fearsome foursome" left over from prior years.

For the first five years of our soil testing, we always collected three separate soil samples for the three distinct areas in our lawn, but they were similar enough in each of the fourth and fifth years, that last year we decided to test only the front and presume that the side and back are on a similar trajectory. Accordingly, last year we treated all areas the same, based upon the test from the front lawn. That worked last year, so we did it again this year to save some time collecting the soil sample and the cost of two additional tests.

Below are the sections of our lawn:

1 - Front Yard - 6700sqft, KBG blend of Bewitched and Prosperity, renovated fall 2018. The plan for 2020 is to (1) remain free of poa trivialis, (2) avoid the disease that crept in from the side lawn last year, and (3) keep it looking good!

2 - Side Yard - 3300 sqft, renovated in fall 2015 to Bewitched KBG. Even despite a proactive biofungicide regimen last year, we still grappled with fungus issues. We also overapplied some sort of lawn treatment which exacerbated the fungus troubles. The good news is that the area where we intentionally killed off a large poa trivialis patch and re-seeded with Bewitched KBG in the fall of 2018 darkened up nicely by the end of last year and looks nice and uniform now. However, some smaller patches of poa trivialis came back in that area again. Guess we're going to have to do something about it again this year! The plan for 2020 is to see if we can keep improving with our cultural practices to fend off the July-September diseases that have given us trouble for a few years now.

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 still look pretty good, but the shadiest areas are pretty sparse. Last spring, we transplanted a few square feet of thriving Bewitched/Prosperity KBG sod from the newly-renovated front lawn into the shadiest corner. That patch of sod steadily declined all year and was pretty much gone by fall. So, in the fall we transplanted a couple hosta from our son's house that he had around a swimming pool that was being removed. We put them in the shady corner where the grass couldn't survive. The hosta came up wonderfully this spring and are thriving! Guess we're now hosta fans, too!

The images for the soil test is in the next posting below. (Not included in this post due to the limit of only 4 URLs in each posting.)

Looking at the 2020 soil test results, I think I'm quite pleased. The one surprising difference is that all of our nutrient levels are up significantly.
This may be partly due to a "testing error" in that every prior year, I have collected the soil sample before applying any fertilizer in the spring.
this year, however, due to various contentions for our time, we didn't collect our soil sample before the first fertilization. Fertilizer was applied on 21-22 May 2020, and consisted of the 3-way combination of bag rate Bay State Fertilizer (0.6#N/ksqft), SOP 0-0-50 at 1#/ksqft, and Scotts Green Max at 0.5#N/ksqft. We collected the soil samples 4 weeks later, on 17 June 2020, from the mix of 30 core samples, each of the 1" of soil taken from between 3 inches and 4 inches depth.

I was incredibly surprised that we finally reached the 5% threshold for organic matter! We mulch everything back into the lawn, including all grass clippings and zillions of leaves each fall, but I'm not sure I believe that our OM level moved a whole point since last year. Maybe the mid-June test also boosts organic stuff in the soil as compared with an early May test?

I was very surprised that the soil test indicates plenty of calcium, with a pH of 7.3 -- the highest we've ever tested in our lawn. Well, no need to apply any lime this year! Magnesium and potassium both seem better than most prior years. I wouldn't be surprised if the Potassium level is better due to the early spring application of SOP a month before the soil test. As always, our sodium level is high -- I still suspect this is driven by road salt on our NH road -- over half of the core samples were in places that would have received winter runoff from the road and melting snowbanks.

I don't know enough to really comment on the micros (but I will anyway. ;)) The boron seems to be back nearer to the 2018 value, but still better than the old days. (2019 had been a bit of an anomaly.) Iron continues to inch higher. (Maybe due to lots of Bay State Fertilizer?) Manganese, copper, and zinc seem to be close to where they should be. Copper and zinc seem to climb every year, which I also think is due to our regular use of BSF as one of our primary nitrogen sources.

For reference, below are the soil test related applications to the front lawn since the 2019 test:

7 May 2019 - Bay State at 0.64#N/K with SOP at 2#/ksqft (1#K/ksqft)
22 May 2019 - Calcitic lime at 9#/ksqft.
8 June 2019 - SOP at 2#/ksqft (1#K/ksqft)
19 August 2019 - Bay State at 0.64#N/K with SOP at 2#/ksqft (1#K/ksqft). Boron at 3T/ksqft, manganese at 3T/ksqft.
19 September 2019 - Calcitic lime at 9#/ksqft, epsom salt at 2#/ksqft.
21 May 2020 - 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.

We're pretty glad with how it looks. Not perfect by any means, but doing pretty well, especially considering that we've only had one rain event through the first 25 days of June and that event was only a half-inch.

Image

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ken-n-nancy
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Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by ken-n-nancy » June 25th, 2020, 9:06 pm

Spring 2020 Soil Test Results:

Image

For prior year soil tests, see our Spring 2019 soil test thread.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by MorpheusPA » June 25th, 2020, 9:56 pm

Hi-ho-righty-o, just the one then? I tend to go line by line, but this ain't your first rodeo. Or your second.

Do you have a water softener? Consider the answer to this question carefully for later.

I have some concerns for your soil. As in, I'm about to throw a red flag and Andy and I are going to be doing some back and forth. But let's go down the line.

Your phosphorus is really high. It's not a concern, and with your currently slightly high pH, that's not a bad thing, but we don't want to push it higher. Bay State does contain a lot of P, but I'm OK with that. I actually keep a higher P level in my flower gardens, but grass isn't nearly so demanding and 250 would be more than sufficient.

Stop with the lime, the soil went into overshoot (although I do talk about influences on your pH below as well). That's not going to be an issue, acid rain will work that right out shortly. Magnesium is unchanged, and is fine.

The potassium came up nicely and, as you'll learn, I'm not concerned by a little excess potassium. You're absolutely going to need to do 1 more app of SOP. I'd recommend two and, in my recommendations below, I called for two. If you want to shift the dates, I'm fine with that.

Minor Elements:

Boron actually slipped from last year and manganese looks like it doesn't want to hang around. Andy may wish to override me here, but I'm going to recommend a slightly higher level: 4 tablespoons/K each as described in the Micronutrient Application Guide, every 60 days.

Iron's fine, but your now-higher pH isn't going to allow for the best color. For now, live with it or spray iron for best color in cooler weather.

The Elephant in the Room:

Um, Sodium? Five percent? Did you shake salt into the sample, or is the property owned by the original Morton's Salt Girl? If you use a water softener and water the property, turn it off when doing so--you're adding sodium to the water and this is not good (it's also cheaper and you don't waste softener salt). If not, find the source of the sodium that's going onto the property.

I presume you aren't an ocean-side property?

Five percent would normally be approaching "fatal" level for sensitive plants (grasses are fairly durable but there's a limit.) Fortunately, your EC is low, so the actual salt load is fairly low as well (87 PPA, or 2 pounds per thousand square feet).

This is more than I would like to see, but it's borderline as to whether it should be dispelled. That's where the question comes in.

Andy, I'm fifty-fifty on recommending 20 pounds per thousand of gypsum to dispel sodium here, and certainly not until we find the sodium source as numbers keep rising. Rainfall in MA should take care of very slowly dispelling this in a lower EC soil, but...

Recommendations:

August-ish: Apply Boron and Manganese.
September: Apply 2 pounds of SOP per thousand square feet.
October: Apply 2 pounds of SOP per thousand square feet. Apply Boron and Manganese.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by andy10917 » June 25th, 2020, 10:22 pm

Andy, I'm fifty-fifty on recommending 20 pounds per thousand of gypsum to dispel sodium here, and certainly not until we find the sodium source as numbers keep rising. Rainfall in MA should take care of very slowly dispelling this in a lower EC soil, but...
Morph, you have to be careful about what you say when prescribing "Gypsum" these days - there are "fast-acting" or "rapid" Gypsums now that go down at 6 lbs/K and good ol' Garden Gyspum that goes down at 30+ lbs/K. I have taken to either being specific on which one is being recommended when making an app-rate recommendation, or using terms like "at Heavy bag rate" and letting the OP determine which to use.
Andy may wish to override me here, but I'm going to recommend a slightly higher level: 4 tablespoons/K each as described in the Micronutrient Application Guide, every 60 days.
Nope, not happening. All of my app-rates are designed to tolerate an accidental overlap and I never violate them - even in my own yard. I'd much rather see the spacing go to 45 days (from 60), as that's never going to be a double-up situation.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by MorpheusPA » June 25th, 2020, 10:28 pm

What the heck's rapid gypsum? They kick the calcium sulfate in the butt and make it work harder? :-) I presume they just grind it much finer.

NP, then, I'll recommend it at Heavy bag rate for whatever's chosen, if the Ken half wants to do it--after the sodium source is discovered. Actually, even if it isn't. Continuing to increase that sodium level will become a problem and the pH will continue to rise (Ken, sodium is a very strong alkaline influence in the soil, it outstrips calcium by miles, and it's toxic).

And NP on the micros, back to 3 if you wish, although my numbers are teetering right at 4 on the recommendations for that anyway with the slip in Boron (manganese is not, but also isn't particularly sensitive to an overapplication). You can edit the original if you want.


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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by andy10917 » June 25th, 2020, 10:47 pm

What the heck's rapid gypsum? They kick the calcium sulfate in the butt and make it work harder? :-) I presume they just grind it much finer.
Nope.

They took the (patented/licensed) process that makes the fast-acting Lime and applied it to Gypsum. It's a process that uses Humates to release the Calcium faster, and it holds better in sandy soils too. Very good and cheap too! Lowes has it for $9.97 with 10% more off ($9 !!!) if 5 bags or more.

Look up "Sta-Green Rapid Gypsum" with that newfangled Google thing.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by MorpheusPA » June 25th, 2020, 11:01 pm

This unnerves me. :-) But yeah, shift the bond and increase the solubility of the salt and hope things don't get hinky later on when the bond energy collapses. 'Cause it's gonna...

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by ken-n-nancy » June 25th, 2020, 11:50 pm

MorpheusPA wrote:
June 25th, 2020, 9:56 pm
Hi-ho-righty-o, just the one then? I tend to go line by line, but this ain't your first rodeo. Or your second.
Wow, that was fast! Thanks for the quick interpretation -- I guess there is an advantage to waiting until after the summer solstice before posting a soil test!
MorpheusPA wrote:
June 25th, 2020, 9:56 pm
Do you have a water softener? Consider the answer to this question carefully for later.
Yes, we do. However, softened water hasn't been put on the lawn in at least 15+ years. Back when we kept a vegetable garden over a decade ago, we'd regularly water the garden, but we tried to be careful to remember to put the softener into bypass before doing so. Of course we weren't 100% at remembering, though. Then, we stopped planting a garden somewhen around the turn of the century and pretty much neglected the lawn for about a decade, before renovating the front lawn in 2013 and being vaulted into being a lawn enthusiast. Since then, any watering of the lawn has definitely been with unsoftened water, as the irrigation system and the new hose bibb are before the water softener. But more on this topic later...
MorpheusPA wrote:
June 25th, 2020, 9:56 pm
I have some concerns for your soil. As in, I'm about to throw a red flag and Andy and I are going to be doing some back and forth. But let's go down the line.
Oh boy. A red flag! That can't be good! At least I like this hobby! ;)
MorpheusPA wrote:
June 25th, 2020, 9:56 pm
Your phosphorus is really high. It's not a concern, and with your currently slightly high pH, that's not a bad thing, but we don't want to push it higher. Bay State does contain a lot of P, but I'm OK with that.
Our phosphorus level has been steadily climbing year after year. Started out in front at 273 in 2014, then 294, 263, 268, 400, 539, then 676 this year. The only supplemental phosphorus we've added is from Bay State Fertilizer. Well, and mulched leaves. Lots and lots and lots of leaves every fall.
MorpheusPA wrote:
June 25th, 2020, 9:56 pm
Stop with the lime, the soil went into overshoot (although I do talk about influences on your pH below as well). That's not going to be an issue, acid rain will work that right out shortly. Magnesium is unchanged, and is fine.
Yeah, I almost skipped the lime last year as the deficit in the 2019 test really didn't seem too bad. However, none had been applied since 2016, so I thought maybe it gradually slipped to the point where it was due again. In hindsight, maybe it was a slightly anomalous test result in 2019. In any case, as you point out, being in New Hampshire the calcium level will creep down again with time and rainfall...
MorpheusPA wrote:
June 25th, 2020, 9:56 pm
The potassium came up nicely and, as you'll learn, I'm not concerned by a little excess potassium. You're absolutely going to need to do 1 more app of SOP. I'd recommend two and, in my recommendations below, I called for two. If you want to shift the dates, I'm fine with that.
Thanks for the recommendation. I'm inclined to keep the potassium apps before Labor Day, just because we usually get extended snow cover here (although not in the winter of 2019-2020) and snow mold has been an issue in the past. However, I noticed your recommendation didn't mention potassium in July or August. Is there a contraindication there in midsummer, or just an interest in avoiding accompanying it with a nitrogen application in the summer heat? In any case, regular SOP apps have been our apparently perennial need -- the sandy soil just doesn't seem to hold it. That's okay, though, at least it's easy to apply.
MorpheusPA wrote:
June 25th, 2020, 9:56 pm
Boron actually slipped from last year and manganese looks like it doesn't want to hang around. Andy may wish to override me here, but I'm going to recommend a slightly higher level: 4 tablespoons/K each as described in the Micronutrient Application Guide, every 60 days.
Yeah, we weren't as consistent about Boron apps last year -- only made one application, instead of the recommended three applications at 60-day intervals. Clearly, one boron app a year isn't going to hold a steady level for us.
MorpheusPA wrote:
June 25th, 2020, 9:56 pm
Iron's fine, but your now-higher pH isn't going to allow for the best color. For now, live with it or spray iron for best color in cooler weather.
We really should learn how to mix and apply FAS. It's not in our bag of tricks yet. We've been sidestepping the problem by applying Bay State Fertilizer monthly.
MorpheusPA wrote:
June 25th, 2020, 9:56 pm
The Elephant in the Room:

Um, Sodium? Five percent? Did you shake salt into the sample, or is the property owned by the original Morton's Salt Girl?
OK, that literally got me to laugh out loud.
MorpheusPA wrote:
June 25th, 2020, 9:56 pm
I presume you aren't an ocean-side property?
Close enough to be at the beach in an hour on a nice summer day, but way too far away for it to have a beneficial impact on property values. ;)
MorpheusPA wrote:
June 25th, 2020, 9:56 pm
Five percent would normally be approaching "fatal" level for sensitive plants (grasses are fairly durable but there's a limit.) Fortunately, your EC is low, so the actual salt load is fairly low as well (87 PPA, or 2 pounds per thousand square feet).

This is more than I would like to see, but it's borderline as to whether it should be dispelled. That's where the question comes in.
A high sodium value has been a perennial finding for us. The value of 5.24 in 2020 has been above the median, but our six prior years: 3.64, 5.65, 4.27, 4.29, 14.49, 5.83. (By the way, our prior year soil tests are all linked one to another for easy reference.)

Every year, I keep talking about doing a fall soil test, to see if the salt is declining seasonally, with the winter road salt pushing it way up, and then having the salt gradually leach out over the course of the year. However, I've always been too busy, or too cheap (or both) to actually take a soil sample of the front in October to see what the sodium level is like. This spring, however, has been real dry in NH; we must be over 6" under average rainfall so far this year, so we've probably had less sodium leach out than usual. However, we also had fewer snow events this past winter, too, so I was hoping the salt level would be lower.

Back when we were separately testing front, side, and back, the high sodium reading was always only in the front, with the side and back usually being 50% or less of the reading in the front.

I've also wondered about taking a soil sample of only the portions of the front lawn that are above the road and driveway, rather than having about half of our test points being below those surfaces. However, being cheap has kept me from doing that extra soil test, too...
MorpheusPA wrote:
June 25th, 2020, 9:56 pm
Andy, I'm fifty-fifty on recommending 20 pounds per thousand of gypsum to dispel sodium here, and certainly not until we find the sodium source as numbers keep rising. Rainfall in MA should take care of very slowly dispelling this in a lower EC soil, but...
I really wish I knew for sure where the sodium was coming from. Road salt is my #1 guess, as our sampling approach of taking many small samples, about half of which tend to be in a "road runoff area" due to a long peninsula of lawn along the road, may emphasize the number of "salty samples" in our soil test. The below picture may help illustrate the situation.

Image

Oh, it's also It's nice to hear about the healing effects of MA rainfall, but we're a little 15 miles north of there. We'll have to settle for NH rainfall here, unless I can get some help with a bucket brigade from Apprentice Mickey. ;)
MorpheusPA wrote:
June 25th, 2020, 9:56 pm
Recommendations:

August-ish: Apply Boron and Manganese.
September: Apply 2 pounds of SOP per thousand square feet.
October: Apply 2 pounds of SOP per thousand square feet. Apply Boron and Manganese.
Thanks!

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by MorpheusPA » June 26th, 2020, 8:08 am

I'm fine with shifting the SOP into the summer if you like. I tend to keep it into spring and fall to avoid any possibility of even the slightest bit of harm, but numbers here are low enough that it won't be a problem.

I'd be shocked if road salt on that little road could generate 5% sodium across a property of that size. :-) And you're too far from the ocean to pick up salt spray (a block, sure. An hour, not even in a hurricane). While sodium is planetary (it does blow into the stratosphere), it's also not that much.

Let's abolish what you currently have--the numbers, except for that one sample, are oscillating within a given range--and see if it comes back. Choose either the fast Sta-Green Rapid Gypsum and apply at the high rate (6 pounds per thousand square feet) or regular gypsum and apply at 20 pounds per thousand square feet. The gypsum (calcium sulfate) interacts with the sodium in the soil to re-bind to sodium sulfate, which then washes away easily in rainfall and gets carried much deeper into the soil before rebinding or completely washing out.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by ken-n-nancy » June 26th, 2020, 8:31 am

Thanks, Morpheus, for your feedback that shifting the SOP application earlier in the year would be okay.

I've been at a loss to explain the higher sodium in the front by anything other than road salt. I suppose it could be something different in the soil itself, as much of that soil in front was brought in during 2013 during the regrading and renovation of the front lawn, but the significant annual variation has me puzzled, too. That 14.49% reading one year was crazy, but I think that was after a very snowy winter.

It does seem that I should keep an eye out for gypsum going on sale though, and maybe try out an experiment with it on a section of the lawn and multiple tests. Then again, despite the high sodium results from the soil tests, the grass seems to be doing well...

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by MorpheusPA » June 26th, 2020, 9:00 am

Gypsum is definitely not going to hurt. Salt metathesis is going to remove the sodium in favor of a calcium ion, to the tune of raising your calcium saturation by a few percent and reducing your sodium saturation by a few percent. The sulfur washes out with the sodium.

The net result is to lower the pH by a whisper (effectively that's just true in the tube and in the real world you won't notice much, if any, difference); sodium has a greater influence on raising pH than calcium does.

You're fortunate that your EC is very low, so a higher sodium saturation simply doesn't indicate a large amount of sodium overall. If your EC were 20, 5% sodium would be fatal. At an EC of 5, it's no huge damage, it probably just causes the grass to wilt in dry conditions sooner than otherwise and would kill grasses in extended drought if the grass didn't have a dormancy mechanism. Yours does, even the fescues can fake dormancy for a bit.

Of course, if your EC were higher, your sodium level probably wouldn't be what it is, either... :-)

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by ken-n-nancy » June 26th, 2020, 12:15 pm

MorpheusPA wrote:
June 26th, 2020, 9:00 am
Salt metathesis is going to remove the sodium in favor of a calcium ion...
Thanks for the explanation on how the gypsum works. I'd heard the description of "displaces sodium with calcium" but had never heard the next bit of detail.

By the way, it wasn't that I was thinking of an experiment to see if any harm is caused by the use of the gypsum -- it'd be a question of whether or not I'd notice any additional benefit. (The things that you mention like better wilt-resistance.)

Applying gypsum on an annual basis would be something that would have an ongoing cost in terms of dollars and labor, although admittedly not a huge amount of it, for the ~4ksqft along the road. However, I'm always looking for ways to make our lawn care efficient (and cheap).

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by andy10917 » June 26th, 2020, 12:57 pm

The cost per application for the "rapid Gypsum" for 4K should be about $10. Time investment should be 15-20 minutes (not including shopping time).

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by ken-n-nancy » June 26th, 2020, 5:16 pm

Since MorpheusPA and Andy10917 provided soil test feedback so fast, and today was a nice day, we decided to just "get it done" and made the first soil treatment of the year including micronutrients. We've got enough Bay State Fertilizer remaining for one more application, but we're going to need some more after that. Hopefully Carl at MWRA will be able to replenish their stock and will keep selling to the public in these coronavirus-affected times!

Today (26 June 2020) 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.

Thanks again, MorpheusPA and Andy10917 for the recommendations!

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by MorpheusPA » June 26th, 2020, 7:59 pm

Kewl beans, that knocks that out of the way. It's more N than I like in late June, but you're in the Arctic, so you'll be fine. Send photos of the Aurora Borealis, they're one of my favorite subject matters when I paint and very, very difficult to do.

Gypsum, like all of the above, can be done any time you like and all at once up to 6 pounds (high-powered stuff) or 20 pounds (cheap stuff) per thousand square feet. The only significant interaction would be to keep it away from urea applications, so don't use it within a rainfall of a high-nitrogen synthetic or you'd risk losing a little of the nitrogen to the air.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by ken-n-nancy » June 28th, 2020, 2:49 pm

MorpheusPA wrote:
June 26th, 2020, 7:59 pm
Kewl beans, that knocks that out of the way. It's more N than I like in late June, but you're in the Arctic, so you'll be fine. Send photos of the Aurora Borealis, they're one of my favorite subject matters when I paint and very, very difficult to do.
:) I usually make the last significant fertilization at the end of June (as was just done) and then no more until around August 15th, depending upon how the weather is doing at that time.

We've never been able to see the Aurora Borealis from our house. A couple times in the past few years, we've done night-time hikes of mountains about an hour north of here on nights with a good "northern lights" forecast, but we haven't been fortunate enough to see good displays on either of those attempts. Last time I remember seeing them in person was about 20 years ago on a late-night cross country skiing trek out in the middle of a lake in northern New Hampshire.

A painting of the northern lights -- that would be neat to see. I just looked in the Artists thread and didn't see a northern lights painting...
MorpheusPA wrote:
June 26th, 2020, 7:59 pm
Gypsum, like all of the above, can be done any time you like and all at once up to 6 pounds (high-powered stuff) or 20 pounds (cheap stuff) per thousand square feet. The only significant interaction would be to keep it away from urea applications, so don't use it within a rainfall of a high-nitrogen synthetic or you'd risk losing a little of the nitrogen to the air.
Thanks for the tip on spacing out the gypsum from urea. I might pick up a couple bags of Lowes Sta-Green Rapid-Gypsum and apply one in a couple weeks and save one for in the spring.

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MorpheusPA
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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by MorpheusPA » June 28th, 2020, 6:50 pm

I've a stack of canvases that's quite tall, stretching back ages. I've only added a few photos to the thread, and even some ones I've done since returning aren't there. One of these days I'll do an aurora painting again and post it. I tend to be inspired on those when nights are long and cold and seem endless. Particularly since the colors have to be glazed in long and endless layers...

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ken-n-nancy
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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by ken-n-nancy » August 17th, 2020, 8:01 pm

With August 15th in the rear view mirror and awesome grass-growing temperatures in the forecast for the week ahead (daily highs in the 75-82 range and overnight lows in the 53-60 range), we decided today was the day to nudge the lawn towards fall with some Bay State Fertilizer, and also apply the next batch of potassium and micronutrients.

Today (17 August 2020) we applied the following to the front, side, and back, with the exception of the woods side of the driveway, for which renovation just commenced today (but that's a topic for a different thread...)

Manganese at 3T / Ksqft,
Boron (as Borax) at 3T / Ksqft, and
Sulfate of Potash at 2# / Ksqft using
Bay State Fertilizer as the carrier at a rate of 4 bags (160#) on ~10,250sqft = 0.62#N / 1Ksqft.

Thanks again, MorpheusPA and Andy10917 for the recommendations!

I'm also considering taking a soil sample from the front again in the fall to check sodium levels -- wondering how long after the above application I should wait to collect a sample to not have the application affect the results too much? (I should note that I collect soil samples from the 3" to 4" range, discarding the soil from 0" - 3" and not including that in the test sample.)

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by andy10917 » August 17th, 2020, 8:12 pm

If you're just looking to check the Sodium level, hen none of the above is going to raise the Sodium test results.

If you're interested in using the tests for more than that and throwing away the top 3", then take the test tomorrow morning or wait 4-5 weeks.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy Soil Test - Spring 2020

Post by ken-n-nancy » August 17th, 2020, 10:43 pm

andy10917 wrote:
August 17th, 2020, 8:12 pm
If you're just looking to check the Sodium level, then none of the above is going to raise the Sodium test results.

If you're interested in using the tests for more than that and throwing away the top 3", then take the test tomorrow morning or wait 4-5 weeks.
Thanks, Andy. I'm inclined to wait the 4-5 weeks you suggest.

My primary interest in retesting the front is to see if most of the high sodium level that shows up on our front lawn tests is due to winter road salt which then naturally drops over the course of the summer (due to leaching from rainfall and watering) or if the soil is just high in sodium year-round. This might not be the best year to see how much the sodium level has dropped, as we've had comparatively little rainfall this year compared to most years. However, if the sodium level has dropped in the 3 months between June and September this year, it is probably dropping even more than that in years of "normal" rainfall.

However, if I'm going to the hassle and expense of an extra soil test, it would also be nice to benefit from the other information on the test. (For our lawn, I'm particularly interested in potassium and magnesium, which tend to be perennially low, presumably due to leaching out of our sandy soil.)

In any case, I'll put a reminder in my lawn log to collect a soil sample in about 4 weeks (mid-September). Thanks!

I'm thinking that if the sodium level is still high in the mid-September test, then I'll apply the rapid gypsum, and try to get another test in before the snow flies. Do you think that a mid-November retest (7-8 weeks after the potential rapid gypsum application) would be long enough for the gypsum to have done it's thing?

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