Soil test results

ranger481vsApril 26, 2012

pH - 6.5

Phosphorus - 26

Potassium - 78

Organic Matter - 4.0

It seems that my soil is very high on phosphorus & potassium. The report did not go into detail about what steps I should take based on these results, so I'm hoping to get suggestions here. Thanks for your help!

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pH is fine, but that is an incomplete soil test. 26 and 78 what, ppm? Pounds per acre? No CEC, or base saturations? How about Ca and Mg levels?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 11:11PM
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tdscpa(z5 NWKS)

My recent Soil Test Report Shows Soil pH, organic matter %, Nitrate Nitrogen ppm, Phosphorus ppm P, Potassium ppm K.

My test: pH 6.8, organic matter 3.6%, N 27, P 145, K 820.

The nutrient levels my recent soil test report show:

Phosphate 0-25 (low), 25-100 (medium), and >100 (high).
(Mine was 145).

Potassium 0-125 (low), 125-250 (medium), and 250+ (high).
(Mine was 820).

When I submit my soil sample, I complete a sheet detailing my crops, procedures used, recent results, and noted problems.

I then note on the bottom of the sheet that I would like fertilizer and soil amendment recommendations.

The agent then gives me a detailed fertilizer program for the complete growing season.

I have always just added nitrogen (urea 46-0-0), and every few years a dose of sulfur to reduce the pH.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 10:15PM
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tdscpa(z5 NWKS)

I should have stated that this is the test for my vegetable garden, not my lawn. I provided the detail to show what should be available from a good soil test, and what the numbers do usually show, at least around here.

I do not test my lawn soil. I pay a service company to fertilize that and control pests. I only water and mow the grass, and dump the clippings into my garden to increase the organic matter level.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 10:28PM
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I have to disagree with you tdscpa, your soil test is very basic, and while it might be sufficient for a garden, it isn't sufficient for a lawn. Not sure why you even answered since you clearly state that you don't test your lawn soil. This is the lawn care forum, not the garden forum. A lawn is really millions of individual plants, all using resources for 8-9 months of the year. The soil is not tilled every year, nor can you add large amounts of organic matter and other amendments via tilling. One of the most important aspects of a complete soil test for a lawn is the base saturations. CEC is another important part. Ca and Mg levels will be part of the base saturations, but those levels are important as soil structure is determined somewhat by their ratio. Micronutrients are also a piece of the puzzle. Some lawns suffer due to the lack of these, and correcting deficiencies in them will go a long way in improving your lawn. Logan Labs provides one of the best soil tests for $20, it includes everything you need to know about your soil for your lawn.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 8:44AM
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tdscpa(z5 NWKS)


My main motivation for posting was to show what the numbers the OP posted from his soil test probably showed, and to provide my opinion as to what the answers are to the questions you asked in your worthless reply to the original poster.

So sorry about your reading and/or comprehension disability.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 12:27AM
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@tdscpa, If tiemco has a "comprehension disability", then I do too. He's right, I know exactly what he is saying.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 1:08AM
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"I provided the detail to show what should be available from a good soil test, and what the numbers do usually show, at least around here. "

Your soil test has the same basic info as the OP, a pH, K and P levels, and an OM percentage (the N number is basically a throw away). So you are calling your test a "good soil test" when in essence it is not a good soil test, but basically the same test. I think it's funny that you think I have a reading and/or comprehension disability when you can't A)Realize you are in the lawn care forum. B)Tell that your test is the same as the OP's. C)Actually read my post and see that there is a lot more to a good soil test than the small amount of data the OP and you presented. D)Realize that there are many different ways labs present data, and test soil.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 1:10AM
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tdscpa(z5 NWKS)


This is your worthless first post:

"pH is fine, but that is an incomplete soil test. 26 and 78 what, ppm? Pounds per acre? No CEC, or base saturations? How about Ca and Mg levels?"

"26 and 78 what, ppm? Pounds per acre?"

My first post said my test reported a number and indicated they were expressed in PPM. It also showed what ppms the agricultural university that ran my test considered low, medium and high levels of these nutrients.

These might have allayed the fear that his levels were too high. I also mentioned that it included recommendations for fertilizer throughout the growing season. (I mentioned in my first post that I specifically asked for that, so I did not experience his problem with his report.):

"The report did not go into detail about what steps I should take based on these results."

I am not a chemist or soil scientist. What the hell would I have done with the information if they had told me my "CEC, or base saturations? How about Ca and Mg levels?"

You also threw this away: "the N number is basically a
throw away".

This was included by the lab that did the test, so the local county Ag. extension agent of the university could make his recommendations as to how I should fertilize. (How much Nitrogen to add!) Idiot.

So, firstandgoal fumbled too!

tiemco and first and goal:

This is as good as I can explain my post to you. I am not going to diagram the sentences for you. If you can not understand this, you should contact your local elementary school and see what remedial classes they offer.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 2:22AM
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andy10917(NY 6a)

Hey, Tiemco - does this give you any idea why I stopped doing soil test interpretations on GW? The tolerance that this site has for people that would call someone that is trying to help "an idiot" and "worthless" is beyond me. I interpret hundreds of soil tests a year on another site without facing that kind of abuse even once.

BTW, the info that Tiemco is looking for is very important in the proper interpretation of a soil test. For example, you can't recommend an amount of a nutrient without a CEC or TEC - it is the equivalent of saying that a gas tank is half-empty without knowing how many gallons the gas tank holds.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 7:51AM
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Thanks Andy, I agree with you, definitely people on here that get very combatative when they think the know more than they do.

To the OP, my first post I still stand by, but perhaps I could have been a little less vague on why your test is very basic, and somewhat worthless.

To tdscpa, you should stay in the garden, as it's clear you don't really have a grasp on lawn care, seeing that you hire someone to take care of your lawn. I find it funny that someone that calls me an "idiot" would have trouble doing a little online reading to learn about CEC's, base saturations, and Ca and Mg levels. I am not a research chemist, yet somehow I, and many others, have learned about these important values. Also the OP's test didn't include an N number, so I guess the testers are idiots too? Nitrogen is a transient soil nutrient, and the number for lawncare is fairly meaningless for a few reasons. Again, lawn care and garden care are two separate endeavors, but any idiot would know that.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 9:43AM
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Wow! After a very quick skim down this thread, what I was able to gather, is that the soil test I had done from our local UW lab was pretty much a waste of $15. Thanks though, Tiemco, for posting about the $20 test from Logan Labs. I will have to send them a sample and post back later with those results.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 8:59PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

tiemco is one of a fading breed on GardenWeb - those who are willing to become an expert at something and share. One of the challenges at GW is to stay out of editorial trouble when provoked by trolls. As you have read, Andy has given up in frustration with the GW users and spends his time on another forum. Tiemco and I participate on that other forum as do Texas-Weed, morpheusPA, and many of the former GW gurus.

The $20 test at Logan Labs has become the Gold Standard in lawn soil testing. University of Massachusetts is a close second (Silver Standard??). Texas Plant and Soil Lab is the only other test lab I am aware of that is even close. All the rest of the university and private soil test facilities lack many features that all come standard with the $20 test at LL. Sure you could order a soil test similar to what you get from LL at a university but they would have to charge you an extra $50 to $75 to order the special chemicals and relearn how to perform the tests. Logan Labs does one test all the time so they are very good at it. They buy their chemicals in volume and charge less for the tests.

I consider a soil test to be a waste of time if you have not mastered the basics of lawn care. Those include proper watering (deep and infrequent), mowing (high for most grasses and low for bermuda, centipede, and bentgrass), and fertilizing (3x per year for chems and unlimited for organic). Follow those for a full year and then consider a soil test. An exception might be if you absolutely cannot grow grass at all - then get a soil test. With a LL soil test, repeated after 1 and 2 years, you can take your lawn from average to best in the neighborhood, city, and even state.

This image illustrates the difference between a world class lawn and an average lawn.

That is Morph's lawn from July of 2010. All the lawns in the picture are Kentucky bluegrass. Morph renovated to Elite blend of KBG seed but you can get the same results without a full reno. He proved that with a contractor installed lawn and is getting world class results with that, too. If you want a world class lawn, tune up the soil and follow the watering, mowing, and fertilizing guides posted over and over in this forum.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 12:38PM
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