Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

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oze
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Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by oze » May 14th, 2021, 2:45 pm

Hey guys,
I realize that I am submitting this a bit early for not having been so active around here lately, but I understand that I will be put at the back of the queue and am OK with that.

After the fire pit, trees, gardens and dog fence, my usable lawn is down to about 5000 square feet. I have an irrigation system ( that is probably contributing to some of my soil's horrendous numbers), and am several years into transitioning my crappy NoMix lawn into a somewhat less crappy perennial rye one. Bless me father, for I have sinned; it's been a few years since my last soil test, and the numbers have definitely taken a dive, imo. So far this year, I overseeded the front with a perennial rye blend from the Seed Superstore in early April, at which time I dropped 21.5 pounds of Scotts Starter Plus Weed Preventer 21-22-4 with Mesotrione at that time. I can't seem to find Milorganite at a decent price around here, so, in early May, I dropped 108 pounds of Menards Natural 4-3-0

Nitrogen..........3.5%/0.5% water insoluble/soluble (7:1 ratio)
Calcium..........3.4%
Sulfur..........1.0%
Iron.........1.5%

I'm OK with spending some money and time to get my back. Here's the soil analysis from Logan. I hope you're sitting down! Thanks!

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andy10917
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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by andy10917 » May 14th, 2021, 3:53 pm

Come again? You've been a steady member since 2014. And anyway, it isn't busy season after about May 10.

Morph, I'll handle this one...

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oze
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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by oze » May 14th, 2021, 4:48 pm

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andy10917
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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by andy10917 » May 15th, 2021, 9:04 am

Oze, I have two questions that I need answered before I can offer up a plan for this:

1) Were the soil samples taken before the two applications of Scotts Starter and the Menards Natural fertilizers, or after the apps?

2) Was the test submitted for Ammonium Acetate testing, or was it submitted without any special testing requested?

PS: While you are apologizing and going to confession over this, it's not a horror show...

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oze
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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by oze » May 15th, 2021, 9:39 am

Hey Andy,
No special testing was requested. The samples were taken about 5 weeks after the application of starter fertilizer, 2 weeks after the Menards-ganite.


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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by andy10917 » May 15th, 2021, 10:43 am

OK - we have to be a bit cautious here then - the samples could be overstating the nutrients somewhat from the fertilizer apps done a couple of weeks before the sampling...

The test is showing a heavy soil with a high TEC. This looks at first glance like a potential borderline calcareous soil. If you run another test next Spring, please request that they use Ammonium Acetate testing - the differences in results will tell me if it's calcareous or not. The reason to want to know that is that calcareous soils often look like they have "phantom shortages" that are really not there - and if we "chase the ratios" we can make the situation worse and make the money flow fast. I'm going to play this conservatively and not chase ratios this year.

The OM% is showing a very nice organic matter level.

Heavy soils hold lots of nutrients well, so we have to look and balance two perspectives - how the "desired values" see the soil, and how the "raw numbers" see the soil. The Magnesium and Potassium "shortages" may not be real, as the raw numbers are acceptable.

The Phosphorus numbers are good.

Iron levels are good, but at your pH level, the Iron won't be available to the grass plants. If color is not great, consider researching and using FAS applications as needed.

The micronutrient levels are good.

So, what is this telling me? Given that the current test was after a recent fertilizer app, and there is the potential for a calcareous soil here, I'm inclined to say to just apply Nitrogen monthly except in July and August. If the Nitrogen app contains a little Potassium, that's OK too.

Oze, I'm not recommending that you do a repeat test with Ammonium Acetate this year - but if you feel like you want "more to do" in 2021, I'm OK with another reading if you want to do it. I'm fine with just using the existing test, and I don't think your lawn will suffer given the current raw numbers. But as always, it's your lawn and soil, and your opinion matters a lot.

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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by oze » May 15th, 2021, 2:50 pm

Thanks for the detailed analysis, Andy. For this year, I'll go with your nitrogen only recommendation, and request the ammonium acetate test next spring, with samples taken before I do anything to the lawn.

Definitely will read up here on FAS; it's hard to describe, but my turf looks "weak". I'm attaching a picture I took a week or so ago. At a distance the yard looks pretty OK, but if you look at it at full size, you can see that it ain't. Thanks again!

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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by oze » May 16th, 2021, 3:41 pm

Andy, I'm reading about calcareous soil, and this reminded me that I did the "fizz test" a few years ago to see if there was any hope of reducing my soil's pH in a non-geological time frame. I recall that adding vinegar to the dried soul sample caused it to fizz like an Alka Seltzer tablet. Would there be value in performing this test again?

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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by andy10917 » May 17th, 2021, 7:13 am

Oze, a couple of points:

1) I haven't recommended the fizz test in a while, as I found that I got more false-negative results that later turned out to be calcareous.

2) A positive fizz test does not indicate that there is anything that can be done to lower the pH. On the contrary, calcareous soil indicates that there is so much Calcium present in the soil that even if you could affect the current Calcium in play, there are literal tons of Calcium just waiting for a shot to replace them.

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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by oze » May 17th, 2021, 7:03 pm

I do recall that part 2 is the gist of what the site said about a positive fizz test. Something about, yeah, you could lower your soil pH a bit, maybe in 10,000 years.

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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by andy10917 » May 17th, 2021, 7:25 pm

Your's is not a hardcore, definite case. Maybe cut a few thousand years off the 10,000.

FYI, here's a simple version of how we use the AA test to show a calcareous soil: if the AA test comes back with a big drop in the Calcium number and the TEC, then it is basically a diagnosis of calcareous soil. If the "standard" test and the AA test don't show big differences, we would say it's NOT calcareous

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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by oze » May 18th, 2021, 10:45 pm

Interesting information, thanks, Andy.

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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by oze » May 19th, 2021, 3:51 pm

The suspense was killing me, so I called Logan Labs and they are going to run the ammonium acetate test on the soil sample that I submitted, assuming that there is enough of the sample remaining to perform the AA test.

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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by oze » May 24th, 2021, 11:59 am

Just received the results of the AA test from Logan.

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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by MorpheusPA » May 24th, 2021, 1:43 pm

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oze
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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by oze » May 24th, 2021, 1:50 pm

MorpheusPA wrote:
May 24th, 2021, 1:43 pm
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Haha, Morph!

Also, FWIW, the fizz test was negative. Barely a whisper 2" from my ear.

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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by MorpheusPA » May 24th, 2021, 1:55 pm

That's a technical positive, for whatever it's worth. It should be silent. :-) Depending on the state of one's ears, too. Most people, even in their fifties, seem to have very poor hearing somehow. Even I say "What?" a lot, but I'm usually simply not listening to you.

The fizz test gives way too many false positives anyway.

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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by andy10917 » May 24th, 2021, 8:13 pm

Well, then the Fizz Test was right - there is a drop in the TEC, but it's not enough for me to call it "OH, YEAH!!". There's a bit of confusion in the report - the first was calculated for a 4" depth and the second was calculated at 6". Not to worry, I know how to factor that into the comparison. You're a little bit calcareous, but I was looking for more.

I'm sticking to my original plan for now - I'm tempted to push a little more for Potassium, but the pH really isn't giving me the headroom I need. And if I go by the raw numbers, you're OK anyway.

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Re: Oze Soil Test:May, 2021

Post by oze » May 24th, 2021, 8:49 pm

Thank you, Andy. I don't know why they changed the sample depth to 6", maybe a typo. They used the same sample that I sent in for both tests. 4" is correct.

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