Fescue Lawn Soil Test Results, help needed

OCDeverythingMay 1, 2012

How does it look?

A&L Eastern Lab

Soil pH: 6.2

Buffer pH: 6.83

Phosphorus: 53 ppm

Potassium 148 ppm

Calcium 1027 ppm

Magnesium: 213 ppm

Organic Matter: 4.5% enr 128

Calculated Cation Exchnage Capacity: 8.3 meq/100g

Calculated Cation Saturation

%K 4.6

%Ca 61.9

%Mg 21.4

%H 12.1

Hmeq 1.0

K : Mg Ratio


Recommended amount for the entire year:

3.5lbs of N

1.0 lbs of P

0.5 lbs of K

0 lbs of Mg

Per 1000 sq ft

Total amount to be split into three fall apllications

1) 12 lb / 1000sq ft 10-0-20

2 8 lb / 1000sq ft 16-4-8

3) 8 lb / 1000sq ft 16-4-8

Those fall NPK numbers will have to change because I will be overseeding.

I used bag rate milorganite in March and April, after this soil test.

What NPK synthetic fertilzer should I use when the right time comes later this month? The soil test did not say anything about a late spring application.

Location: Maryland

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Not too bad at all. pH is just a tad below the sweet spot. Your saturations are good, except you have a bit too much Mg in there, and your Ca:Mg ratio is a bit low. I would apply calcitic lime, 9 lbs./1000 square feet. That will bring up the pH a bit and raise your Ca levels. You could use some phosphorus (P). For MD I would probably do a spring fertilizing mid month. I would use starter as that will boost your P. Lesco's is 18-24-12, you can usually find it at Home Depot. Scott's is OK too, I think it is 20-27-5, so you get a tiny bit more P and N, and a bit less K. Your CEC says you have a sandy type soil, which is fine, offers good drainage, and is easier for roots to get into, but it can't hold as many nutrients as higher CEC soils. Increasing your organic matter will help with holding nutrients and you soil will be healthier. Make sure your lime and fertilizer applications are at least 2 weeks apart.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 8:42PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

You're The Man, tiemco!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 8:50PM
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Thank you very much! Your time is appreciated! I will use starter in two weeks and then lime the first week of June, or I can lime this week and then apply starter in around May 20th?

While I have your attention, how can I adjust the fall fertilization numbers to accommodate a fall overseeding? I'll do the first application with a starter fertilizer about a week after seeding. I will want to get two more applications in at one month intervals so I can be somewhat close to the soil test recommendation. Maybe another starter fertilizer application and finish up with 8lbs per 1000sqft of 16-4-8 as recommended in the results?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 9:36PM
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You can do either. If you have a good amount of rain coming this week, I would lime first.

Most soil lab fertilizer recommendations aren't very good. They are very general, the computer just spits them out. When you fertilize use enough to apply 1 lb of nitrogen per 1000 square feet. For most of your apps half quick release, half slow release is recommended (you can use Milorganite as a slow release if you want). If you are overseeding I would apply half an app of starter at seeding, the other half after you mow the new grass 2 or 3 times. So let's say you overseed on Sept. 1. Apply half an app of starter at seeding time and the other half will be in about a month or so. Then in late October a full app, you can use the starter if you want or regular 50:50 fertilizer. Then in late November/early December when topgrowth has stopped, but the ground isn't frozen a full app of all quick release nitrogen (urea, ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate). Make sure to always water in synthetic fertilizers to avoid burn.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 4:21PM
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I will lime asap. Does it need to be watered in right away like fertilizer? Only a 30% chance of rain for the next 2 or 3 days...and we have had consistent rain recently. Hard to justify turning on the sprinklers for a 1/2" - 1" of water unless I have to. Will I need repeat applications this year?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 5:27PM
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It doesn't need to be watered in, but without water lime just sits there. I personally use something called Cal Turf Pro (available at Lesco/John Deere Landscapes). It is calcitic lime that has been prilled with chelating agents. It dissolves much faster than straight calcitic lime, and therefore gets into your soil quicker. Whether or not you need to is all dependent on the effect it has on your soil. I think it won't move your pH up more than .2, and your base saturations won't move all that much either, but that can only be confirmed by testing. I would probably do a fall application then retest in the spring.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 12:30AM
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One single fall application or an application now and again in the fall?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 12:48PM
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An application now, and then again in the fall.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 2:50PM
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Thank you. Got my Cal Turf Pro today. I'm going to let the rain water it in if the forecast holds up. Does it need only a small amount such as a quarter inch or a full inch? Does the 2 week period between lime and fertilizer start when the lime gets watered in or when you drop it?

This is an informative thread!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 4:18PM
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Two weeks start when you water it. Cal Turf Pro breaks up quickly, any rain or watering will start the process. Looks like Maryland has thunderstorms predicted for most of the up coming days. That should be good enough, but if you want to give it 1/4 inch to start it off that would be great.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 5:43PM
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Are there any interactions or wait times between Liming and Insect Control like Grub Killer or general insect killer liquids and/or granules?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 5:45PM
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I doubt it. If it was a problem it would probably be listed on the bag.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 7:32PM
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