Soil test asking for a descrition, I don't know how to answer?

wertach zone 7-B SCFebruary 19, 2014

On my soil test mail in kit from Clemson it asks for a description of the soil.

Sandy (soil is gritty)

Sand/clay mix (soil may be gritty but it sticks together)

Clay (soil is thick and hard)

It say's to dig 8 to 10 inches deep.

@ 8 to 10 inches it would be Sand/clay mix, sandy but will stick together. But it has more clay as you go deeper.

I plan to do a deep dig with my turn plow when weather allows this spring so that will probably change the structure, since there will be more clay mixed in.

Should I get a deeper sample to mix in since the turn plow will go about 18' deep?

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You have got to be pulling our legs, A turn plow at 18 inches deep? Any how vegetable crops go about 8 inches. Any deeper and aeration becomes a problem. so go with the sand/clay.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 5:54PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

They should be telling you what the soil is. This is strange.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 10:40PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I was just wondering, as Minnie just said. They should take the soil sample and analyze it and figure out what it is.

About the dept (where you are supposed to take soil sample), Farmerdill gave a good comment.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 7:11AM
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You may want to follow their directions and dig to the depth they requested.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 7:52AM
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Take the sample as directed and write "don't know" on the texture question. You also can probably look up your county on the state soil survey map to make a better guess.

Here is a link that might be useful: SC Soils

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 8:30AM
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I send in soil samples every year to Clemson and I've never been asked for a description of the soil. I hand deliver mine and all I have to do is fill out my name and address pay the fee and tell them what crop I'm going to plant.
You have to be careful with the written results of the test. They sometimes can be fairly generic. It's best to call one of the agents that specialize in whatever you're growing. He can look up the test and give you a personal reading of the test results with specific recommendations tailored to suit your conditions. The written test write up is fairly standard and really not much use.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 8:57AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

farmerdill, I meant to say subsoil plow instead of turn plow. I need to break up the hardpan, I haven't done it in about 5 years. I think you are right about sandy/clay. And I'll go with 8 to 10".

rayrose, I have always delivered mine also and was never asked that question. I decided to do the mail thing this year because of the gas prices. It was $15 for the mailer vs $6 to hand deliver, my county office is 25 miles away so it will save me some money and time.

"They sometimes can be fairly generic." Yes it is! I've gotten a pretty good grip on interpretation over the years but I still usually end up calling them.

planatus, Thanks for the suggestion and link, but that wouldn't apply to my soil. Mine is different than the surrounding area. Red clay is the normal around here, I think that a long time ago my property was actually under water. My community is called Greenpond and one of the old timers said that he was told by his Grandpa that the pond was here. I have to go down about 3' to hit red clay. I find arrow heads all of the time, so that kind of enforces the idea that it was once covered with water.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 12:02PM
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Of course the recommendations are going to seem generic because they are computer generated. You can't expect a personalized interpretation when the test facility probably is testing 20,000 to 30,000 samples per month in the Spring.

Most soil fertilizer recommendations are based on a 6.66" depth of soil mainly because that figure computes to 2,000,000 lb. of soil and makes those computer generated recommendations work. If you til deeper or more shallow you probably should be making adjustments to the recommendation because you are either concentrating or dilution the lime and fertilizer that you apply.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 8:28AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I got the test results back yesterday. They are much easier to understand now. Years ago you had to be a scientist to understand the results!

It's in pretty good condition.

Sufficient on everything, put P is excessive.

I can pull the P down a little since I planted a cover crop of annual rye if I mow it and remove it. I was planning on turning it under.

They are recommending 15-0-15, 6lb's per 300' of row.

I bought several bags of 17-17-17 last fall that was on sale, and have them stored in the barn, bummer.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 12:42PM
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