Soil sample says Very Low Phosphorus... What can be done?

kerig01February 24, 2013

Attached you can see my soil sample results just received back from Texas A&M. I was hoping to use this to come up with initial complete fertilizer mix for this Spring and am shocked to see how low the Phosphorus levels are. The issue I'm finding is the "standard" fertilizers around town have very little Phosphorus. The only thing I've found that can get the suggested rate into the soil is this 0-45-0 super phosphate stuff. I need to put around 5lbs of that per 1000 sqft to hit the suggested rate from a&m. This sounds REALLY drastic. Looking for advice or tips or experience with this. The stuff is cheap enough but throwing out 25lbs in my 5k yard of 0-45-0 scares the heck out of me.

My turf is Bermuda tiff 419 in the Austin area and the soil/sod is one year into a new house. The nitrogen, potassium and other factors all look healthy and should be able to follow normal Bermuda practices. Thanks for the help as I get into the growing season. I put down AMAZE two weeks ago and hope to put the complete + phosphorus additions in the next 2 or 3 weeks. Thanks!

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No need to put it out all at one time.

Use whatever phosphorus containing fertilizer you want over the course of a few months to hit your desired mark.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 10:58PM
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5 lbs. per 1,000 sqft. isn't excessive and won't have a negative effect, however if you are looking for a more complete fertilizer ask your local nursery for Starter fertilizer. This usually has a formulation like 18-24-12, and depending on the brand, will be a mix of slow and quick release Nitrogen. At 5 lbs per 1,000 sqft you would be delivering close to 1# of N and 1.2#'s of P, which would correct your deficiency by the 2nd application of the growing season, while providing the necessary N. I'm not sure what you're soil temps are, but don't use the Nitrogen on the lawn until it has greened up at least 50% of the way.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 10:43AM
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apundt-tx(8 SW Austin)

What part of Austin are you at. I have never seen phosphorus that low in Austin soils. The starter fertilizer recommended above will do the trick but late April is probably a better time since the bermuda is not awake right now.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 2:24AM
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Thanks everyone, I did get a bag of 18-24-12 and will put it down in the next week or two. Grass is greening up and I just scalped it to start the season. It should be nice and green soon.

I'm in Northwest Austin near Parmer and 1431. It is a new house and I think the soil was predominantly trucked in. I dug pretty deep but the top soil seems to be that from the builder, not natural. I'd have to go quite a bit deeper to get to the original stuff. Probably explains why the Phosphorus looks so low. Local nursery guy agreed that was abnormally low for the area as well.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 5:07PM
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Looking at soil sample did you get sample at 4 inches deep and at at least 10 places?if not you should repeat sample .with these results I would use 19-19-19 at slightly over 5 ponds per 1000 sq ft.or 10-10-10 at 10 pounds per sq ft.and use it all monthly from may-sept. the lab didn't test for iron,zinc,cooper,mag.,boron,etc then you need to find a lab that does.these are very important minerals that all yards have,and if they are low you improve your in one season by adding these minerals to your yard.example low boron -add 20 mule team laundry detergent.low zinc or cooper you buy zinc sulfate or copper sulfate comes in granular or powder can order them from amazon.zinc sulfate for example you would buy a pound for the year and use 2 tablespoons of a bag of mil granite pour bag in wheel barrel put 1 tablespoon in and mix it for 5 minutes then very lite spray not a soaking after mixing well put other tablespoon in and mix for a couple more minutes.the put in a spreader and put down like fertilizer .if you are low on boron 2 tablespoons of twenty mule team low on zin then 2 tablespoon of zinc can add everything in the wheel barrow at the same time.and what you are doing is putting all the missing minerals back into the soil.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 11:40PM
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OK I will give you what you want to know for as cheap as possible. The least expensive fertilizer to fix your lawn is found in every lawn care center in town. Buy you enough 10-20-10 fertilizer for 2 applications and your problem is fixed.

Around here a 50 pound bad cost $9.90 and that is enough to cover 5000 square feet. You apply it at a rate of 10 pounds per 1000 square feet 30 days apart.

One you have two applications down, use a straight 36-0-0 slow release urea until October every 30 to 45 days.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 2:40PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

You need to find the Bermuda Bible online and memorize it quickly.

If you decide to get a second soil test, the lab to go to is Logan Labs in Ohio. Their standard test is $20 and gives you everything you'll need. And before you go adjusting the boron level of your soil, get help from someone who can be a little more specific. Boron is one of those essential micro nutrients which has a threshold limit. Up to the limit it is fine, but go beyond the limit and the soil will become lifeless forever until you can dilute it out again.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 7:08PM
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