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Seeding/Applying Fertilizer

 
                                      
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Hi group,

I just completed soil pH testing at Michigan State University Soil And Plant Nutrient Laboratory and the results are listed below.  I'm getting ready to plant seed and would like a recommendation on whether to do it before seeding, during seeding, or at first cutting?  Any other recommendations based on this data would be greatly appreciated? (i.e. gardener's sulfur or mixing in some compost)

Soil pH:                      7.2
Phosphorus:              49 ppm
Potassium:                61 ppm
Magnesium:              328 ppm
Calcium:                    1941 ppm
CEC:                          12.6 meq/100g
% Exch. Bases:          K – 1.2
                                  Mg – 21.7
                                  Ca – 77.1

MSU SPNL Recommendations include:

Nitrogen:      1.5-3.0 lb./1000 sq. ft.
Phosphate:    None
Potassium:    2.4 lb./1000 sq. ft.

Maximum single nitrogen application is 1 lb./1000 sq. ft.  Nitrogen rate may be decreased 20 to 40 % if clippings are returned.  For shaded grass decrease nitrogen rate by ½ and apply primarily in fall.

Thanks,

Michael
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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there was no mention that I saw of what TYPE of seed you are planting..is this a lawn?
 
                                      
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Hi Brenda,

Yes, this is grass seed, 100% tall fescue.

Mike
 
                                      
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Hey Paul,

Any suggestions on this?

Thanks,

Mike
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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Sorry I didn't reply sooner!

I've been popping in as I have time and I figured that lots of folks have the permaculture forum covered because that's the fun and sexy forum.  I've been trying to patrol the lawn care forum because I know that most permies don't give a hoot about lawns, so I better. 

So!  Here we are in lawn care now, let me take a look at what you have.

Does your lab test report nitrogen?

7.2 is actually quite good for grass.  If you could get it down to 7.0 that would be rather perfect, but you probably wouldn't notice the difference.  If you already bought the sufur and you are going to start from seed, then this would be the best time for the next 20 years to apply sufur - mixing it into the soil. 

If you have coniferous trees (except cedar) I would probably lean more to mixing tree duff into the soil rather than sufur.  Did your lab test tell you anything about your sulfur levels in your soil?  (Conifer duff tends to have a really low pH - like 4.5 - so mixing some of that in would have a similar effect as sulfur)

Fertilizer does not get put down until after the seedlings are well established.  Baby grass can be kinda whiney about too much fertilizer when getting started.  Once the grass gets a few inches tall, then it can take the fertilizer just fine. 

What is your %OM?







 
                                      
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The lab test didn't report the nitrogen level, just the need for it. 

I did not buy any sulfur but I do have a pine tree that drops plenty of needles I can rake up and spread out.  Although, I can't do it immediately since I've done some landscaping.  Would you still recommend sulfur at this point?

Does %OM mean percent organic matter?  If so, how do I calculate this percentage?

Oh, yeah, what level/height (1/4 below, 1/2 below, exactly level) should the soil be from existing concrete (driveway/sidewalk/curb) when planting seed? 

Thanks, 

Mike
 
                                      
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Oh Paul, another question if I may.

I would like to control grubs in my yard and it seems that here in mid-Michigan they're just devastating lawns everywhere.  Actually, this was one of the reasons for tearing up my old sod and starting new, the grubs just chewed it all up and there really wasn't much sod left to speak of.  In the process I feel I eliminated a large percentage of the population but that does nothing to prevent them from coming back.  So, what is all this hype about milky spore?  Can I use this?  Should I apply now before I plant seed?

Mike
 
paul wheaton
master steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I would say skip the sulfur for now.  Use the conifer duff for a while.  Re-test next year and see how you fared.  And report back here!

Does %OM mean percent organic matter?  If so, how do I calculate this percentage?


Yes.  It should be on the report. 

I'm beginning to be concerned about the quality of the lab.

Oh, yeah, what level/height (1/4 below, 1/2 below, exactly level) should the soil be from existing concrete (driveway/sidewalk/curb) when planting seed?


Level.

So, what is all this hype about milky spore?  Can I use this?  Should I apply now before I plant seed?


About two days ago I updated the lawn care article to include a link on getting the milky spore.

I've never had grub trouble, so I cannot say.

Maybe if you follow my advice you won't have further grub trouble either.

 
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