Bazil's Soil Test For Interpretation

Learn how improving your soil can lead to a better looking lawn
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bazilbrush
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Joined: April 30th, 2021, 6:15 pm
Location: Monmouth County, NJ
Grass Type: Fescue
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
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Bazil's Soil Test For Interpretation

Post by bazilbrush » May 13th, 2021, 11:24 am

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Firstly, thank you to all of those who offer their time and expertise providing this analysis. I am new to the site, so realize that this will be a lower priority enquiry, but appreciate any help you can offer me.

This is my first soil test, so I have no frame of reference. My soil structure is approximately 40pc sand, 26pc silt, 34pc clay (from Andy's jar test). I have a fescue lawn where I am combatting clover and POA a and POA Triv. My hope is to get the soil balance in order and then focus on overseeing/ partial renovation this Fall.

Thanks.

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MorpheusPA
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Re: Bazil's Soil Test For Interpretation

Post by MorpheusPA » May 13th, 2021, 2:31 pm

Normally we'd tell you to post it in the queue, but I'll do that for you (I'm waiting to leave for my second inoculation).

First, good for doing the soil structure test. It helps.

ME 9: Consistent with your soil structure test, although I would have guessed it a bit higher. It indicates that your clay is a light clay, or that your sand is rather coarse. Or both. No problem, this is a nice middling answer.

OM 4%: Middling. Certainly mulch mow, consider feeding organically when you can, but this is not a problem. We tend to look at serious boosting when the ME is low. Yours really isn't.

Sulfur 15: Normal.

Phosphorus 172: Just a tiny bit low, by which I mean just a tiny bit. Normally, I'd recommend starter, but see below because I'm not.

pH 7.1: Not very useful, but the overall number here says we don't want to push it up much. If we make changes, we try to make it by not raising your pH. That's fine, we can do that (I'm saying this without having looked down just yet). Looking down, we do need to make a change, which can easily do...by moving this down a little bit, the way we want to go. This is not a barrier to a beautiful lawn; I overshot to 7.2 myself at one point. The lawn looked fantastic.

Calcium 74.7%: Optimal. None required, and certainly never lime with your pH.

Magnesium 17.8%: Higher end of optimal. It's fine, and it's helping to push your pH up a little. No big deal.

Potassium 1.8%: Low-ish. The number from above (-104) is even lower, saturation tends to look better than the actual numbers. We usually potassium sulfate (sulfate of potash) to fix this, but because of your slight phosphorus shortage, and sourcing problems this year, I'm recommending a balanced fertilizer. Whether that's 20-20-20, 19-19-19, 10-10-10, or something else, it really doesn't matter. Whatever's cheapest for the amounts going down is fine.
The amount going down is 100/the first number in pounds per thousand square feet. So for 20-20-20, 100/20 = 5 pounds per thousand square feet. For 19-19-19, 100/19 = 5 pounds per thousand, close enough. 100/10 = 10 pounds per thousand square feet. And so on. Ask if you're not sure, of course!

Sodium at 1.5% is a bit high, but I'm used to that this year. It's of no great concern at the moment and won't be a major problem. It's helping to push your pH up by quite a bit, but...we'll just keep an eye on it.

Minor Elements:
Boron is absolutely nose-on perfect. Iron is great (but you can still use Milorganite now and again if you want, there's really no realistic upper limit). Manganese, copper, and zinc all look great. We don't care about aluminum.

Recommendations:

Late May: Apply balanced fertilizer at the calculated rate per thousand square feet.

September 1: Apply balanced fertilizer at the calculated rate per thousand square feet.

October 1: Apply balanced fertilizer at the calculated rate per thousand square feet.

When Growth Stops (probably mid-late November): Use a high-nitrogen fertilizer, low everything else after your last mow to winterize the lawn.

bazilbrush
Posts: 8
Joined: April 30th, 2021, 6:15 pm
Location: Monmouth County, NJ
Grass Type: Fescue
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
Level: Some Experience

Re: Bazil's Soil Test For Interpretation

Post by bazilbrush » May 13th, 2021, 4:18 pm

Thank you for the analysis and the recommendations. These numbers really meant very little to me without your insights. I don't think I have ever used a balanced fertilizer on the lawn before so this is all new for me.

On sodium, I should have mentioned that I live near the ocean and my lawn flooded with (salty) river water during Hurricane Sandy. That was some time ago (2012) but I don't know how long lasting those effects can be on a lawn.

Regarding mulch mowing, should I worry about bagging when the POA Triv has seed-heads or is that not necessary? I hate to think that I might be spreading that thing. Thanks.

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MorpheusPA
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Re: Bazil's Soil Test For Interpretation

Post by MorpheusPA » May 13th, 2021, 6:10 pm

The full roll-up on the soil is, "It's a pretty nice soil with one or two things that need adjustment. Neither of them are causing severe problems."

I'm not seeing any long-term damage from Sandy or any other sodic sources; most of our soil tests are coming back higher in sodium from the last winter we just had and the amount of salt thrown around by every city in the Northeast. That should wash out on its own, and if it doesn't in a year or three, there are ways to get it to move. I don't foresee that it'll be a problem and I've made moves to counter it exactly once this year.

When the triv is seeding out, I might be inclined to collect it that one time and compost it before use (at 165 degrees minimum with other stuff because grass turns to goo), or simply discard it somewhere where you don't have to look at it. Usually I'm not too particular about it in my own lawn (with very minor annua and triv issues), but I'm not sure about the status of yours and haven't seen photos. I also know that I'm Death On A Stick when I see the stuff, so any developing seeds aren't going to be particularly viable.

bazilbrush
Posts: 8
Joined: April 30th, 2021, 6:15 pm
Location: Monmouth County, NJ
Grass Type: Fescue
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
Level: Some Experience

Re: Bazil's Soil Test For Interpretation

Post by bazilbrush » May 13th, 2021, 7:04 pm

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My lawn varies from areas of greatness to POA hell as you walk around it. I’m kind of at a loss as to what do do about it, though that is maybe for another thread. I wonder if the only solution is total renovation where the infestations are so bad and dense. It is good to know that the soil is in decent shape though, so I can focus on these problems.


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MorpheusPA
Posts: 17162
Joined: March 5th, 2009, 7:32 pm
Location: Zone 6 (Eastern PA)
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Re: Bazil's Soil Test For Interpretation

Post by MorpheusPA » May 14th, 2021, 1:37 am

It's not that bad, really. No, seriously. Spray with Tenacity to control it, don't over-irrigate, and collect it when it seeds.

Check some of the threads; I've recommended using distilled water if your water is hard. It...well, seems to help. Hard water gets in the way of herbicides, this we do know. Just get the cheap stuff from the grocery store, there's no reason to go triple-distilled or anything. I simply use my tap water, which happens to be extremely soft naturally. Hard water people find that Tenacity doesn't work well.

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