Logan Soil Test results

ranger481vsJuly 24, 2014

Hello, I just received my soil test results on my lawn, and would like advice on improvements. Thanks much!

Also, I would like to overseed in the fall. I think my lawn is made of mostly of fine fescue, and the grass never really stands up straight. Even makes it hards to follow mowing lines in some areas. This partly due to not having a dense lawn yet, but it also seems like the blades are just too delicate and thin, So, I would like to overseed primarily with KBG. Thoughts? Still need need to research seed types yet.

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morpheuspa

I'm going to presume you read Daniel's soil results so I won't go quite so in-depth (typing the specifics every time makes my hands hurt).

Overall, this isn't bad, but does need a bit of work. I'm going to shift my recommendations to the top of the post to make it easier to find.

Recommendations:

General: Consider organic feeding to raise OM level.

Mid August: 4 tablespoons boron per thousand square feet in Milorganite carrier.

Late August: Apply 2 pounds per thousand of potassium sulfate.

Early September: Apply bag rate of any starter fertilizer.

Mid September: Apply 6 pounds of calcitic lime per thousand square feet.

Early October: Apply bag rate of any starter fertilizer.

Mid October: Apply 2 pounds per thousand of potassium sulfate.

Early May: Apply 2 pounds per thousand of potassium sulfate.

Late May: Apply bag rate of any starter fertilizer.

***
Soil test reading and some explanation

Exchange Capacity 11.3: Quite nice! It could be a silty soil, or a mix of very light clay, but this is in a good range.

pH 6.2: Like I always say, a symptom and not a cause. While this is OK, we're going to play with it.

Organic matter 2.5%: In the fair range. Consider organic feeding to slowly raise this over a period of years.

Sulfur 9: Fine! We'll be raising this, but we have the margin to do so and then some.

Phosphorus 74: Low. I've recommended starter fertilizer to push this closer to the optimal point of 200.

Calcium 57.7%: While the low end of OK, I'm not happy with the deficit in the numbers and the excess hydrogen kicking around. I recommended calcitic lime above, use Encap or Mir-A-Cal (the latter is by Jonathan Green)--not cheap lime as it's not very effective and takes forever to work. I shot a little low to avoid slamming the top soil layers, so expect to repeat this at a lower level next year.

Magnesium 23.5%: High, but certainly not a problem. While we'll hope the calcium knocks out a little of the magnesium, it doesn't matter if it does or not. However, avoid magnesium sources, so dolomitic limestone is doubly banned. :-)

Potassium 1.0%: Very low, but probably not quite deficient yet although it's not far off. I've recommended potassium sulfate above, which you can find online or (probably cheaper) local smaller garden stores and landscaping places will generally order for you. Potassium is important for disease resistance, cold resistance, heat resistance, general structure, water retention, enzyme creation, photosynthesis, starch synthesis, and protein synthesis, so this isn't a great one to be short on... My recommendation is as high as I'm comfortable going on the lawn, there will probably be a much smaller correction next year.

Sodium 0.6%: Great! It has no major use in plants, so low sodium is best. Yours is quite low.

Manganese, Copper, and Zinc: While copper might be a touch low, I'm disinclined to play with it while manipulating the others. We can safely put that and twiddling with zinc off for a while.

Iron 97: Kind of low for good green colors in the lawn, but definitely not deficient and not a problem. Combining this with the OM recommendation above, feed regularly with Milorganite to raise the OM and slowly add iron. It takes years to bring iron up, so there's no big rush and no specific recommendations. You can certainly spray ferrous sulfate for color in fall if you want, but it's not necessary in the slightest.

Boron Boron is slightly risky to adjust, but in this case I don't see a choice. In the laundry section of your grocery store, you'll find 20 Mule Team Borax. The prescription is for 4 tablespoons per thousand square feet--and don't make a mistake on that.

Take a bag of Milorganite, empty into a wheelbarrow (or anything else shaped like that).

Mix 10 tablespoons of borax into the bag, using a water spray bottle to very lightly damp the Milorganite occasionally as you turn it repeatedly until it all sticks. Apply over 2,500 square feet--and be very, very careful that you're accurate on that.

We'll be repeating this, but boron perks down slowly and it would be a really bad idea to make the top soil layer boron toxic.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 12:50PM
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morpheuspa

I always forget the aluminum, don't I? That's because it usually doesn't come into play.

Aluminum 379: Fine. While toxic, it's not going to be available to plants until a much lower pH than you have, and your amount is pretty low to begin with.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 12:54PM
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morpheuspa

>>the blades are just too delicate and thin

Try the boron prescription in late August, give it a bit to perk in, and see what you get. Boron is critical for meristem development and separation. Without it, cells tend to extend without properly differentiating, resulting in weak and gangly growth.

You can certainly overseed with KBG if you want to in a fescue lawn, but I think the KBG will end up being weak and gangly as well until the soil issues are corrected.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 12:56PM
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yardtractor1

Just a point of emphasis. Milorganite can come in different weight bags. The recommendation is 10 tblsp/ bag. That would be the 50# bags.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 2:15PM
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morpheuspa

Whoops! Actually, I was envisioning the 36 pound bags that are common to big box stores. At least around me.

But if the OP wants to put that in fifty pounds and spread it over 2,500 square feet, more power to him. It'll just increase the amount of organic material a tiny bit and I'm always cool with that.

As long as 4 tbsp per thousand goes down, the amount really doesn't matter as long as it's sufficient to evenly spread the material.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 2:37PM
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yardtractor1

Gotta love the Milo folks. I went to their site and it appears no matter what size bag, the application rate is 2500 sq ft. Go figure. My bad, carry on.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 2:54PM
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morpheuspa

>>Gotta love the Milo folks. I went to their site and it appears no matter what size bag, the application rate is 2500 sq ft. Go figure. My bad, carry on.

That's hardly a "bad" as it simply doesn't make sense for them to do that. Unless they have different nitrogen levels, then maybe, but even so. Organically, you can pour it on pretty stiff before it becomes a problem.

Actually, the more I think about it, the less sense it makes for the product to be marketed that way.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 5:31PM
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ranger481vs

Thanks for the help and, especially taking time to do it. Your post is very well detailed, clear on what do, and easy to follow. Really appreciated.

Should I not overseed this fall, and just concentrate on improving the soil?

Also, I'm curious, why did this test not include any nitrogen levels?

I have started with organic fertilizing this year, in the way of Alfalfa pellets at around 30 or so lbs per 1000. Will continue to do that along with your recommendations above.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 11:10PM
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morpheuspa

>>Should I not overseed this fall, and just concentrate on improving the soil?

You can overseed this fall if you want to! Shift the boron addition to early August, and slip in an extra starter fertilizer application at seeding time. You're going to need the P to bring in the new plants.

Your soil isn't in bad shape, it's just needs some adjustment. Potassium is the worst shortage, followed by phosphorus. But you have enough to seed.

>>Also, I'm curious, why did this test not include any nitrogen levels?

Too variable. They'll give different results depending on time of day, weather conditions, and I suspect sometimes the phase of the moon.

It's entirely normal for well-fed lawns done synthetically to read nitrogen deficient between feedings with a massive spike at feeding time. Organically fed lawns tend to show modest amounts all the time.

But again, that will vary. A lot. Almost at a whim.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 11:39PM
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