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I'm new....I don't know what to do!  RSS feed

 
                                          
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So I've spent a lot of time reading through the forum but I've got fire-hose syndrome and I think I could benefit from some personal advice. Here's the scenario:

1) I live on a military base that requires lawn upkeep. This severely limits my creative options...basically, what I have is what I have. No xeriscaping, no trees, etc.
2) I live in Tucson. Obviously this means special considerations for heat, etc.
3) I deploy frequently for 3-4 months at a time. Sometimes my wife and kids go away also to spend time with family. When they do stay, they don't want to spend their time taking care of the yard. Maintenance level has to be low-ish.

Current problems:
1) Crabgrass and lots of it.
2) Rabbits and birds (see pictures of rabbit poop)
3) Uber-compacted soil. I can't even drive a screwdriver in to the hilt in parts.
4) Thatch >1"

Here's my basic question: How do I return my lawn to something that resembles a lawn in the shortest time possible while following my hippie roots and protecting my kiddos and pets, and still have something that doesn't require hours of work daily and looks good year-round?

This being my first time posting, I'm trying to get some pictures with this post, so we'll see how it goes.  Awesome site, and thanks for any help in advance!

http://i33.tinypic.com/s271g0.jpg
http://i37.tinypic.com/2qkplcz.jpg
http://i33.tinypic.com/34rfugx.jpg
[url=http://i37.tinypic.com/126emuq.jpg]http://i37.tinypic.com/126emuq.jpg

Cheers,
Jason
 
paul wheaton
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So .... freaky ......

The thing that gets me is the zone that is so dead.  What happened to make it so dead?

Did the previous tenant keep rabbits there?

Let's get to work ...

Dig a hole a foot deep.  Send me a picture of one edge of the hole and tell me how long it took to dig that hole.

Do you know how to get a soil test?  I only want a test of the dead stuff.  Get four spots, scrape off the top inch of soil and then get a tablespoon or two.  Mix the four samples thoroughly and then send a sample of that to a lab. 

What is the coldest it ever gets there?  Does it ever freeze?

 
paul wheaton
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Looking at the first pic again:  my guess is nitrogen toxicity.  Too much nitrogen in the soil.  Too much rabbit poop and pee.


 
Jeremy Bunag
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Posts: 231
Location: Central IL
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Can you get a dog to lessen the rabbits and birds?  Some is good, but if Paul's right about the N toxicity, you need to urge them off your lawn!  Some would be great, never have to fertilize again...especially rabbits if they're getting the alfalfa they want.  The first time through them the alfalfa is more or less in tact, and a great org fertilizer.

For me, the whole thing is just screaming for organic matter.  And I'd keep the fertilizer out of the yard until the grass asks for some, if it ever does.

Fast, expensive, herculean effort:
R&R dirt with living soil
Reseed  and care a la Paul's lawn care article


Slow, cheap, lazy (Boils down to getting the grass to grow in the soil instead of on the soil):
Get soil tested to find out what's going on
Fix dirt deficiencies
More energy:
Remove or break down thatch
Get some organic material into the soil by

  • [li]spreading OM on top and gossiping to worms that you have food for them (slowest)
    [/li]
    [li]core aerating and doing #1 (except now you have "bait holes"[/li]
    [li]making "worm homes" like Paul has described before and hoping worms are in the market.[/li]

  • ...and wait...and add more...and wait...
     
    Joel Hollingsworth
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    "R&R" means "remove & replace" here, right?  I only ask in case Jason has a hard-wired meaning for that already in place. 

    One small tip: not sure how much testing would cost you elsewhere, but a blogger looked through a bunch of labs a while back, and this was the best value ($9 as of September '09):

    http://www.umass.edu/plsoils/soiltest/
     
                                              
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    Jeremy Bunag wrote:
    Can you get a dog to lessen the rabbits and birds?


    We have one, but she was gone as long as we were. Hopefully with her return the rabbit population will decrease.

    paul wheaton wrote:

    What is the coldest it ever gets there?  Does it ever freeze?


    It has been known to, but very rarely. In the winter, the average low stays in the 40s.

    I'll get a soil sample done ASAP and post result here when able...what's the turnaround time on those?

    Joel, thanks for the link, I'll probably use them unless I can find something local here in Tucson that isn't outrageous.

    Reading back through the forum, it seems like I might be the first guy to actually try the "worm hole" concept if I do it...true? I've got the time and I'm very OK with slow, cheap and lazy.
     
    Joel Hollingsworth
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    ziggapalooza wrote:it seems like I might be the first guy to actually try the "worm hole" concept if I do it...true?


    You seem poised to be the first with photos of the results.  AFAIK two or three have reported trying it, and one (near me, with similar soil) talked about early indications of good results, but posted nothing concrete.

    I believe they were on the "main" forum thread, about 3/4 of the way through.  One trick to get all of the comments on a single page (rather than seven) is to click on "reply"...you can then search for "post hole" to read comments on that method.

    The soil tests will inform that work in your case: if it is N toxicity, mixing in raw "browns" might actually help more than mixing in compost: as Paul says, freaky.  If there is a salinity issue, you might have to discard the top portion of what you dig out, and organic matter will be all the more important.

    ziggapalooza wrote:I've got the time and I'm very OK with slow, cheap and lazy.


    Hm...in that case, I have an idea that I'd give an 80% chance of being bad, 5% chance of being usable as-is, and a 15% chance of being the start of a productive discussion:

    If it is nitrogen toxicity, what do the experts think of using a succession of grasses? Imagine a hypothetical annual grass with a high spreading rate, a high tolerance for nitrogen, perhaps naturally tall, and some combination of properties that would allow it to be killed (poor drought tolerance?) before it goes to seed. The thought I had was laying out small mats of coir spaced to fill in, seeding these with that annual grass, then watering fairly heavily and mowing extra often for a few months. I imagine this would smother the crab grass, soak up/leach down lots of N, produce a respectable amount of organic matter, and maybe allow for an OK lawn until the conditions are right to introduce a more-sustainable species.
     
    Brenda Groth
    pollinator
    Posts: 4437
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    get as many holes into the soil as possible..i know..maybe not possible..pitchfork..jackhammer..whatever.

    then spread some good organic compost over the entire lawn..don't worry about covering up what is there..you can use WOW ..a cornmeal product on it to smother the weed seeds ..but anyway cover up just about eveything..if you want to kill of the old first..use roundup it ...yes it is a chemical..or you could if the lawn is small use boiling water or vinegar?? you are likely to kill any earthworms in the soil doing that though.,

    buy some seed that is specifically for your area and your kind of soil..don't buy the cheap seed sold in bulk at walmart..it is mostly weeds..check the tags..

    water it well the first few weeks and you should have a nice lawn..

    you might be able to find one that doesn't require a lot of mowing..check the labels..
     
    paul wheaton
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    Joel,

    This might be the first time I've ever seen you post something that I know I don't agree with.  I'm comforted that you qualified it as a guess. 

    In this case, the mature grass is suffering and, probably, dying.  Baby grass isn't gonna do any better.  Nearly all grasses are N pigs, so their suffering from N toxicity means it must be huge!  I suppose it is possible that some grasses can cope with toxic N more than others, but I am not savvy to those varieties. 

    I think the thoughts about composting and the mentions of "browns" is wise.  If the soil does, indeed, have toxic levels of N then I think I would want to through some low tanin sawdust on the soil.  While an entirely half-assed solution, it might actually work.  Next up might be to get a lawn aerator in there and then push the sawdust into the little holes. 

     
                                              
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    UPDATE:

    I finally found some Ringer (it's harder to find than I thought it would be!) and will be doing a treatment of core aeration followed by fertilizer and a high mowing regimen. I think that with some patience and time, just introducing some organic material back into this stupid clay/dirt will prove useful.

    I've got some homemade compost, but not nearly enough to coat my lawn (nearly 2200 sq ft). Should I: a) get ambitious about making mass quantities. b) buy some from a landscaper and suck up the cost, or c) not bother?

    I'm sure you guys hear this all the time, but these forums have been amazing...so glad I stumbled onto them!
     
    Joel Hollingsworth
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    Paul: I was honestly asking for your (and other forum-goers' opinion.  I'm actually surprised at the warm reception my odd ideas usually get, and not surprised that at least one of them strikes you as off-base.

    ziggapalooza: I'd answer with a mix of options a and c.  I see lots of cuttings and leaves on curbs this time of year, and if there is space and you're not in a hurry to have the compost finish quickly, collecting a lot of it isn't too ambitious.  This is also the season where retailers suddenly find bales of straw less decorative than before, although you might want to check that they haven't been sprayed with fire retardant. 

    If you put a fairly well-packed pile of nitrogen-poor material in some back corner of your yard, you could layer a few inches of dirt on top and plant, for example, a drought-tolerant lupine for a while.
     
    paul wheaton
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    I would DEFINITELY hold off on the fertilizer until I saw the results of that soil test. 

    I suspect that your lawn is one of the very rare cases where you have TOO MUCH fertilizer already!

     
                                      
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    Here's what I would do;
    Buy some bags of cedar bark mulch, not the big chunk decorative bark, but the ground up cedar bark mulch.
    Cedar because cedar chases tons of insects, including termites.
    Get enough to put about 3 inches all over the lawn area, then till to a depth of 6 inches. That will give you a 50/50 ratio of cedar bark mulch and soil. The bark mulch will loosen the soil, and takes 2 years to compost, so the soil will stay loose long enough for the micro-organisms to work their magic and loosen it up good. Compacted soil will not let the roots grow.
    You will till in the thatch with the soil and bark mulch. The thatch will even decompose and add nutrients.
    Thatch is created by too shallow watering. The roots want water, and shallow watering only wets the top inch or two of soil, so the roots come to the surface to get water, instead they get heat, and exposure to air, and die. They trap other lawn debris, and that, over time creates a waterproof pad that will not let water or anything get through, so everything dies, and the ground gets even harder.
    I had to thatch the first year we bought this place, 43 years ago. I water to a depth of 6 inches, ( 1 inch of rainfall on a water gauge will soak 6 inches of soil. so use a rain gauge when you water or put a can or something in the lawn to catch water so you can measure it).
    I have not had to thatch since. We leave the clippings when we mow, and in early spring, we set the mower on the lowest setting, to cut the grass at about 1-1/2 to 2 inches. We have St. Augustine, and that helps the roots spread and thickens up the lawn. After a couple years of that, we don't do it any more, because if the grass was any thicker, you couldn't get a mower through it. the normal setting we use is 3 inches. this gives enough height to shade the roots from the heat and give some protection.
    Till in 1 pound sugar per 300 sq.ft of soil, or 3 pounds per 1000 sq.ft., as you are tilling up all the thatch and soil, and tilling in the bark mulch.
    If you can buy some alfalfa meal, ad that at the rate of about 10 pounds per 1000 sq.ft.
    That is all I would do now. That should make some nice soil by spring to let the grass come up ( a lot of the grass roots you till in will come up. In the spring you can plant grass seed or buy sod pallets and install your lawn. Water deply, and water when the grass shows it needs it.
    Grass and plants will tell you when they need water or nutrients. Burmuda and other thin bladed grasses will bend over as they need water. Broad bladed grass like St; Augustine will fold up vertically, so it looks like thin sticks. They do this to minimize the sun's drying.
    So look at your grass, and if it shows these signs, water to a depth of 6 inches.
    I water no more than once a week, even when our temps are in the triple digits.
    email me if I can be of help to you.
     
    paul wheaton
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    I wouldn't put in the cedar.  Cedar duff has a strong allelopathic effect that makes other growies sad.  Like grass.

    Alfalfa meal/pellets is generally okay, but I worry about it getting wet and rotting next to a grass plant.  So I prefer feather meal.

    As for sugar:  sugar (or, more preferably, molasses) on soil can be good.  Sugar on dirt won't do anything.

    I really think everything should wait until the soil tests come back.



     
    Scott Reil
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    I'm with Paul on the cedar thing. Bad idea...

    As to the damage, that big extra nasty patch looks a lot like chinch damage; that's how they roll. Starting from a central point and working out; look along the leading edge of that severely damaged spot for these guys. N toxicity is almost a negligible idea; as noted bacteria will use it and even the most depleted soils have SOME bacterial culture. If you do find them a mix of rosemary and mint oils (mixed with appropriate amounts of H2O) will set them to runnin'

    In the alkaline, water deprived soils of the Southwest, I suspect the major culprit is salt build-up. If Zig dug into his soil (if he can) he will find about three inches down, a layer of mineral accumulation called cleche. This is the accumulation of salts, clay fines, calcium,  and such that the limited rain washes down as far as it can, but... there it is, two three inches down and not helping anybody.

    Add chemical fertilizers (ammonia salts) and we are adding to the problem, not helping it. Even water cannot penetrate cleche readily; gardening at Dad's (also Tucson area) I quickly learned to dig holes to cleche, fill with water, and come back tomorrow to finish planting  :roll Tilling to a depth of six inches? Not a proverbial snowballs chance... (besides tilling kills fungal hyphae and we want to keep what little fungal life might be left there...)

    Assuming the expense of sod is out (I too have been in the military and doubt the pay has gotten heaps better in the interceding decades), this isn't the best time for seeding; fall means you are getting grass without competition from warm season annuals like crabgrass. But your soil is so bad it's going to take that long to get your soil right anyway. Thank whomever for small mercies...

    One word, zig. Compost. You are simply going to lay on a half inch of compost, back rake it to level and work it into the crowns of the grass, and water it in. And wait. (Paul's Zen Masters of laziness all nod sagely at this pronouncement  :wink.

    The compost restablishes not just the bacteria and fungii that the salts have wiped out, but the higher level predators that eat the bacteria (so if it is nitrogen poisoning, it'll help with that too). The weak acid reaction from the biological processes will start to dissolve the cleche (eventually) and the humus in the compost will provide a place for all these soil biologies to live (The ONLY place they WILL live is in humus, ,best around 5-6%, usually about 2-3%, and in the mess I am seeing in theswe pics, hardly there at all).

    Watch the grass still left start to perk up (this will happen in nearly the first day). Then it will start to spread out some. Keep watering, not tons, no more than a half inch at a time (more than that will pool up in the cleche and redistribute that salt, not good). As the weather FINALLY begins to cool off some (below the 80's anyway), start to think about seeding, and top that with another quarter inch of compost...

    Compost is just Nature's innoculation, like yeast for bread. Dead yeast means flat bread, and Zig, you got flat bread, man...

    A shame about the need for grass; not a permaculture solution for Tucson. Da's place was naturally landscaped before he bought it; ocotillo and brittlebush and saguaro. He's added his citrus trees and his bougainvillea  , but no grass. Check out the native garden at Tohano Chul (love that place); they even have a greenhouse to buy native plants... THAT'S the way to garden in the Sonora...

    Paul, got to agree; black strap molasses is the finest bacterial food I know. High carbs on soil can stimulate bacterial growth, which if you have enough higher level predators like protozoa, can lead to massive nitrogen releases. But you have to get the biology back to good first to make that work. Two cents...

    Hope that helps

    HG
     
    paul wheaton
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    Excellent response.  The only thing I want to add is to wait on the compost until the soil test results come back.  If there are toxic levels of N, P or K there, then adding compost would be less than ideal.  With more information I think we can all offer better advice.


     
    Scott Reil
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    While the soil test is always a good idea (can't tell the players without the scorecard), the only real problem compost MIGHT exacerbate would be a high phosphorus deficiency. PSB's or phosphorus solubilizing bacteria could release excessive P levels and in a water soluble state like that it could wash away. But that's not a huge problem in the Sonora Desert.

    Nope I'm betting zig's humus levels are like zero, his pH is high and getting higher, his soil is so bacterial it's nitrogen locked, the salt's are through the roof and there isn't a scrap of soil fungi within a mile, so weak acid responses aren't etching a dang thing back out of an overloaded cation exchange capacity (that is, the soil is chock full of goodies and there is nothing to release them).

    Really, Paul, look at the pics. What could you hurt with compost? Not much there you could hurt more with a flamethrower Biology will start putting things back to right no matter WHAT the conditions are that we find there.

    I'm assuming a bacterial lock-up of N. Compost will offer a nice culture of protozoa that will bein eating bacteria like fat folk at the shrimp bowl in the buffet line. An amoeba eats ten thousand bacteria a day, and there are ten thousand amoeba in a gram of good compost. That out to get some nitrogen unlocked.

    Too high a pH? The bacterial side is favored by higher ph, which encourages higher level predators and we get increased N from the poop loop and the weak acid response begins slow etching of some of our overloaded nutrients and salts; they gotta go sometime. That's one reason why we need to keep up with the watering  to keep solubilized nutrients dilute (it's a fine line between fertilizer and salt).

    There's just not a chance it's too fungal; not in that region. If we are trying to set up for grass we want a slightly bacterial soil rather than a fungal one, but there's no doubt in my mind that there is an almost complete lack of fungal culture in that lawn, as that is the nature of the area. Compost is a great source of fungal cultures as well. The acidic responses fungi bring are stronger than the weak acid responses from predation, and we will start to get back from the pH of eight I'm betting we're looking at towards that 6.5 we want for turf. There's still going to be salt issues, which fungi hate, so this is going to be slow anyway. Might as well get started as soon as possible...IMO.

    There's no more hurting that lawn; it can't feel pain anymore. It's gone to a better place...

    HG
     
    paul wheaton
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    Wow, it's been years since I've had a conversation with anyone where cation exchange capacity was brought up.  I feel like this whole part of my brain is getting the rust kicked off of it. 

    If the poop and urine led to N toxicity, then my recommendation would be to add some form of OM that has about zero NPK.  A yummy sawdust perhaps.  I'm not too big of a fan of peat moss (low pH and deflocculation) - but it is a possibility. 

    Plus, I have a lot of concerns with most commercial composts.

    So, lots of ifs. 

    Maybe a big part of being cheap and lazy is that "wating for the lab results to come back" fits well.  That hideous lawn can be hideous and patient.

     
    Scott Reil
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    If we review zigs early pronouncements with an eye towards natural systems, the mystery is readily apparent...

    "Crabgrass and plenty of it" No mystery at all here. Dry hot soil and crabgrass; a match made in heaven. It does tell us there is little fungal presence in a meaningful fashion...

    "Rabbits and birds" When manure does not incorporate into soil, we have an obvious lack of biology. Dr. Ingham once told me that the most sure sterilant is dessication, and that is surely the case here. We have lost soil biology through dessication, and that surely means that rather than excess of nitrogen we have nearly none. It has long since volatilized as gaseous nitrogen, as the salts will have tied up the CEC badly and beyond that, biology IS the available pool of N (and P, among others). If they are gone, so is our nutrient pool beyond the CEC, and THAT is locked without said biology... the supposition of excess N does not make sense to me in any fashion... an excess of N would lead to rampant growth of the obviously hungry grass, right?

    "Uber compacted soil" Certainly a function of the lack of moisture, but it is not just the cleche at fault here; again it is a lack of biology. No bacterial polysaccharides to aggregate soil particles, no fungal hyphae to act as girders and beams, holding open soil porosity, and it collapses on itself. Beyond the inherent nutrient pool it provides, biology gives us our tilth...

    "Thatch>1" " IF we had sufficient moisture and biology present, we do not get thatch. As grass is considered a green for composting because of it's nitrogen content, it tends to be bacterial food. Lignin eating bacteria do the heavy lifting of breaking down thatch, and the complete lack of that leads us to conclude that there is either no bacteria or not enough moisture to sustain said bacteria.

    At every point along this way, biology offers sure explanation for our lacks, and solid science for our excesses. We can get a soil test denoting this lack or that excess, but the root causes are not chemical but biological. So what steps are to be taken once we do have our sheet of "facts" in hand? A bag of this? A squirt of that? How do we rectify the obvious lack of biology?

    While there are still a few ifs, Paul, I do not find them to be many, but a slim few. IF we find an excess of N, then everything I know about the soil food web, everything that Elaine Ingham has taught for decades, is incorrect. I find that likelihood to be slim indeed... IF the soil tests come back as I predict, then it is a clear case that biology and attending moisture are our severe lacks, and a handbill of chemical constituency will do very little to help with that lack. Compost and water will. But an excess of N? THERE is the biggest if...

    Paul, your concern on commercial composts is noted, but it has been my experience in working with some producers and experts that they are for the most part conscientious and committed to good product. While the quality of your average airtight bag does not begin to compare to a fresh, well-crafted heap (and I know of some who have gone to great lengths to procure breathable bags); I have sometimes found homemade composts to be lacking in diversities such as thermophiles or higher level predators in good quantity. Given the same list of inputs I would always expect better results from the larger piles and windrows.

    But all composts are not created equal; one must be diligent to assure quality ingredients (the USCC's current rush to embrace Class A biosolids as an "organic" input casts Paul's hesitation in a most reasonable light). But I purchase composts for my own yard regularly as their product exceeds the quality of my own. I know the men I get mine from by name, have shaken their hand and toured their operation, have even peered at their handiwork through a microscope, and found it well and good. Trust but verify (and trust that I am not often given to quoting Ronny Rayguns)  .

    So here is my prediction synopsis. Ridiculously high salts, characterised in a soil test as high calcium and some excessive traces (the metals mostly). Nearly complete lack of nitrogen and phosphorus. Potassium will be high to excessive. If zig went so far as to get a SFI analysis, we would find no fungal content to speak of, severely depleted bacterial counts, NO protozoa, NO nematodes and a serious lack of moisture. I am thinking biologically first; chemical is an afterthought. Indeed, that is how Nature thinks; I see no fertilizer elves or pesticide fairies in the wild. She deals in life, not chemicals...

    Needless to say, I await the test results with great anticipation...

    In the interim Paul, can zig at least water? 

    HG
     
    jeremiah bailey
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    Out of all the posts asking for help, this is the one I want to see the soil analysis the most. I think this mainly due to the severely polarized analysis of the description and pictures.

    Second, what is the driving force behind wanting a water and nutrient demanding lawn in the middle of a desert? I know zig is required by local (military) codes.  My parents live out in AZ. They moved there so they wouldn't have to have a lawn and had the perfect excuse not to. The desert landscape is unique and very beautiful in its own way. I understand wanting to make the desert green. But having a grass lawn that needs mowed, which increases its need for water and nutrients even more is absurd. There are other ways to green a desert. Then again, I've never heard of anyone claim that the government makes very many rational decisions.
     
    Scott Reil
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    Excellent question JB. The desert has attracted people from all over the nation; my Dad (CT) his new wife (SC) their neighbors (MN, WI) and they all bring with them their old standards of beauty. While Dad's place is more naturally landscaped (with noted exceptions), the surrounding yards could easily be Ann Arbor or Portland. Not to mention the 72 holes of golf available to Dad and neighbors in their gated community. Might I remind everyone again this is a DESERT?

    While water depletion had decreased between 1974 and 1994 (date of study), it is because the worst was done and the old irrigation ag in the area had ceased as it became unsustainable (hard to believe as you fly into Phoenix over the green circles of pivot irrigated fields). But the area has seen a massive population influx since the 1994 study, and the emphasis on year round golf lures retirees nationwide. It is my understanding that the decrease has begun anew with this crop of water hungry snowbirds, and the table has dropped to all time lows. Yet Dad has gone into local real estate, and I hear the 81st hole is soon to be completed at his community, yet another greensward in the land of sage and saguaro. Sustainability be damned...

    But my organic recommendations would help zig with these issues to a great degree. Increasing tilth will increase porosity, allowing better water penetration and extending the field capacity of his soil. Mycorrhizal fungi will make that limited surface moisture more available to the turf. Should zig follow Paul's lawn pronouncements (and I see no good reason why he shouldn't) the longer cut will shade soil, helping to preserve said soil moisture even more (assuming the authorities allow for such un-American, hippie freak, godless commie behavior as cutting the lawn at three inches plus). A shame that we could not extend Paul's lawn regimen to the region; it would likely be a game changer...

    But Jeremiah's question still remains salient; if the military command, as committed elsewhere to BMPs as they are, are still mandating turf for a quickly depleting desert, what makes me think they don't want the lawn scalped like a boot camp shave down? 

    HG
     
    paul wheaton
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    Trust but verify


    Quoting Duck Dodgers?

    Potassium will be high to excessive.


    Another good reason to avoid compost. 

    I really like the sherlock-holmes-esque analysis.  Far richer than my own.  I am very impressed.  I hope you do this sort of thing a lot here.  I feel I have a lot to learn. 

    CEC:  memory says parking spaces for certain nutrients.  And these parking spaces are provided by OM and clay.  And the parking spaces are for x-ium stuff.  Calcium being the biggest (hopefully) - something like 70%.

    Even after reading all this, I still wanna hold off until the test results are back.  they should be back by now!

     
                                              
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    Holy Cow...I've sparked a discussion! 95% of the stuff you guys are talking about is over my head at this point, but I'm slowly educating myself on the terms and concepts you're throwing around.

    So, about that soil sample.......

    I got tagged with a short-notice "all expenses paid vacation" (read: deployment) and just got back to the States. The sample never got sent. I know, I know...I'm a terrible person and I'm sorry for those of you who were waiting with baited breath for the results. I'm going to try and get it sent off this week as I get settled back in.

    New question: The weather has taken a turn for the warmer...started creeping toward the 80's the last few days. What does that change for me? Is it too late to consider doing any of the things y'all have suggested?

    Again, thank you and I'm sorry I've neglected this thread (and my lawn) for the last couple months. If you're still willing to help me out as I get back into this project I'll be grateful!

    Cheers,
    Jason

    03/23 UPDATE: Soil sample sent! Will post results when able.
     
    paul wheaton
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    You're back and ... able to type! 

    (sorry, a soldiers life seems .... scary deadly to me)

    I still think the thing to do is wait for those tests.  Sorry if it got technical - we kinda geeked out on your situation!

     
                                              
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    Sorry to disappoint you Paul, but my job is markedly pedestrian. I wish I was kidding, but my safety form actually documents papercuts and staplers as job hazards. You can't make this stuff up.

    I'll check back when my sample comes back from UMass.
     
                                              
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    DRUMROLL PLEASE!!!

    The soil test results are in...now how do I read these crazy things and what does it mean for me?!?!?

    Help!
    Filename: Soil-Test-Results.pdf
    File size: 513 Kbytes
     
    paul wheaton
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    So, first of all, your pH is high.  Do NOT add lime.

    Next, your P and K are quite high.  I think you should avoid any fertilizers that have P and K.

    I would say that your N level is pretty high. 

    How does the lawn look now?  New pics?   

    Did you get the soil samples from all over, or just from the area that is utterly devistated?

     
    We noticed he had no friends. So we gave him this tiny ad:
    Rocket Canner Fryer and Forge - Draft Plans
    https://permies.com/t/64465/Rocket-Canner-Fryer-Forge-Draft
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