Soil Test Report - How To Fertilize

brh7727August 14, 2012

I am attempting to implement organic practices for my lawn. I am completely new at this, so feel free to correct my calculations, information, or thought process. March was the last application of synthetic fertilizer on my lawn, which is also the last recommended application of fertilizer for fescue in my area. My lawn type is mostly turf-type tall fescue. I�m located in the piedmont of NC. The soil in my yard is generally red clay (although, the CEC below may indicate otherwise). In an effort to get the most out of my lawn, I finally had a soil test performed. P & K index values were above optimum at 127 for P and 105 for K. The recommended fertilizer application is 5lbs per 1000 sq ft 21-0-0 (5*21%=1.05 lbs N/1000 sq ft). My yard is about 12,000 sq ft total. The PH is 6.0, so no lime application was recommended.

I plan to overseed in late August through early October based on NCSU�s turf file recommendations. I will likely overseed with fescue, but may incorporate some KBG or PRG in the blend. As a result, I�m somewhat hesitant to apply corn gluten. I am thinking about trying to find some blood meal (1.05/13% = 8 lbs of blood meal / 1000 sq. ft.). I have also thought about just applying alfalfa pellets since they are readily available at feed stores in my area. I see the only drawback being the additional P & K from the alfalfa pellets. Based on what I have read, it�s clear that you�re looking at more than N-P-K regarding organic lawn care, so would I be better off to just apply the alfalfa pellets?

I do have some zoysia that was plugged in a few bare spots in the front yard over a year and a half ago. I haven�t fertilized it during the summer, but it has continued to spread in a few places. If my yard eventually transitions to zoysia, that would be great! However, I think I have far too much shade in parts of my yard. The blade on the zoysia variety I have matches the fescue pretty well, so I�m not super concerned about it being there. My plan is to only manage the lawn for fescue or other comparable cool season grasses.

Please feel free to provide your recommendations on management for my lawn overall.

Other results from soil test:

HM% = 0.32

W/V = 0.91

CEC = 8.2

Mn = 248

Zn = 128

Cu = 87

S = 200

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Where in the United States are you? There are many, very different, growing areas that we need to know about before giving any advice on turf grass. Are you in a cool season are? Are you in a warm season area? Zoysia is a warm season grass although many people in Michigan have been suckered into planting it.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 7:30AM
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I'm in North Carolina and usda zone 7b to 7a. Yes, i'm in the transition zone within the U.S. Both warm season and cool season grasses grow in my area. The zoysia that I have does well. It's brown and dormant for about four months. However, my yard is still 95% fescue, so that's what I intend to manage for. It also has lots of shade. Thanks for posting. I will be happy to supply whatever info I can.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 9:20PM
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Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) is a measurement of how certain nutrients (Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, etc.( are held onto by the soil particles and/or organic matter in the soil. Clay soils and soils with high levels of organic matter tend to have higher CECs then do sandy soils.
At 0.32 percent your HM, soil humus level, is quite low and I would suspect your soil is compacted which hinders plant root development.
I would concentrate, right now, on putting down materials, compost and other forms of organic matter, that will help bring that up to open up the pore spaces between the soil particles so the plants roots can move around and thicken the turf grass easier. Blood Mea is tricky to use since the Nitrogen is so readily available it can easily burn and plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: About CEC

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 7:35AM
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Fantastic! Thanks for your help. My soil is very compacted.
I will focus on spreading a thin layer of compost, and I will probably fertilize with alfalfa pellets.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 9:31PM
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