Organic Matter 7.6 VH
Phosphorus weak 210ppm Strong 211ppm
Potassium 77ppm rate M
Magnesium 69ppm rate m
Calcium 548ppm rate L
Soil pH 5.1 Buffer index 5.8
Cation Exchange Capacity meg/100g 6.0
Percent Base Saturation K 3.3%, Mg 9.6%, Ca 45.7%, H 38.6%, Na 2.8%
Nitrate 23ppm, 41 lbs/a,
Excess Lime rate: L
Soluble Salts mmhos/cm .2, Rate L
The one that stood out was the PH. The garden center gave me a plan of 12 pounds of lime per 1000 ft^3 now, again six weeks from now, again twelve weeks from now. Retest 3 weeks after last lime application.
I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts or advice. The goal here is a nice lawn that is chemical free. My tortoise and my parrot play on and eat the grass and anything else growing. Chemicals are not an option.
I applied nematodes a few weeks ago as grubs have been a problem. I put down Millorganite as soon as the snow was gone (very late this year). I aerated a bit last fall with a hand aerator. (It's not great but it does cut small plugs and isn't just poking holes).
I had salt damage next to the driveway, and the strip between the house and the driveway was super compacted. I put gypsum down yesterday to help some with that.
The grass looks great right now. It's a mixture of turf grasses and white clover (I like the clover.) But I know that as soon as it gets hot, the weeds start to take over, and there are sections that just burn out and die. I get so much crab grass that the show "Deadliest Catch" filmed an episode in my yard last summer. I suspect some of this is soil condition, some is topsoil depth.
I'm located just north of Boston. I'm about a mile from the Atlantic, but there is a hill between me and the ocean. I don't think salt is an issue. I think we are in zone 6.
I mow high and often. I do not bag the clippings. I water when the lawn looks like it needs it and when I do, I water 1" (which is a TON of water.)
I don't know if I can lime so soon after putting down the gypsum.
Forgive the long post.
My strategy towards soil is that it's easier to change the plants than the soil... Perhaps a different species of grass would handle the low pH of the soil just fine and look great when mowed as a lawn? Are there areas close by, with similar soil, where fine bladed grasses are thriving? Do you already have some of those types growing in your lawn?
As an example: I have an area in deep shape where grass wouldn't grow... One year a single clump of grass appeared and survived the summer. I mowed around it until it's seeds were mature, then I chopped and dropped the seed. I repeated for a couple of years. This spring, the area is about 30% covered with clumps of that grass. I am holding off mowing there until the seed is mature. Then I'll chop and drop again... I'd get faster results if I grew a nursery bed of the grass and sowed the seed into properly prepared soil. But slow and steady works for me.
I set the spreader to the setting that was supposed to put down 12lbs per 1000 ft^3. The 30 lbs didn't quite cover my 1700 ft^3 yard. I guess the setting number is wrong, or I'm using the spreader wrong. At any rate, the lime is down.
For a longer lasting increase in pH you would want to use Agricultural lime or Dolomitic Lime, both are longer lasting in the soil since they are calcium carbonate.
Quick lime is also known as Burnt lime since it is made by cooking limestone in furnaces, mostly it is used in cements and other construction materials such as asphalt.
I mowed on Friday night. It rained all weekend. We got about 3" of rain. On monday afternoon I mowed again and the grass has grown so much I had to bag the clippings as I was just taking too much off the top.
The milorganite fertilizer doesn't seem to work as quickly as the other stuff, but it seems to work better and longer. I top dressed with about 100 lbs of compost in places that seemed the worst. The lawn is now like a thick, cool carpet. The only real weed infestation is clover, and I don't mind the clover. In fact, I'm pretty sure I planted it years ago. The clover seems to grow best in spots where there used to be trees. I suspect that the stumps and roots left underground use up nitrogen making nitrogen poor soil in this spots in which the clover thrives.
Due for the second application of lime tomorrow.
I'm surprised that I have ended up with more clover while I've been adding N. Perhaps the gypsum or the lime is contributing to clover?
The clover is most likely responding to the combination. The lime and gypsum have a loosening effect on soil particles and that is a very good thing for roots.
By the way, very good looking lawn
Bryant RedHawk wrote:The blades on that swamp grass look a lot like Nut Grass, if you were to dig one plant up by the roots there would be little nodes (nitrogen fixing bacteria homes) in the roots of Nut Grass. Swamp grass usually has a tall growth habit instead of the growth habit those blades indicate.
By the way, very good looking lawn
I pulled some up and it has very shallow, hair-like roots. Maybe it IS crab grass and just can't spread because the lawn is fairly thick?