Interpreting County Extension Soil Analysis

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  #1  
Old 05-06-15, 07:26 AM
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Question Interpreting County Extension Soil Analysis

Hi everyone!

So, I am in my sophomore homeowner year

Last fall, I had a dust bowl in my front lawn. I rented an overseeder and this spring things are MUCH improved. I have some dead spots (I suspect from animals digging around) but I think I can fix those this fall.

Based on recommendations from this forum, I sent a soil sample to the county extension office and got the results back (a week AFTER I fertilized, unfortunately)

As I have a 3 year old who has lots of friends over playing in the backyard, I have been buying a pricey organic fertilizer (Dr Earth Super Organic Lawn Food). I think its a 9-3-5 mix? (this is where I am still trying to learn--what does 9-3-5 mean?).. The garden supply place says that this stuff is completely natural--could roll around in it if you are crazy enough and want to stink. Also they say that if I put too much of this on, worst that would happen is I'd spend a lot of money for nothing (ie, I wont 'burn' the lawn)

So, here are my questions:
  1. I live in south 'north jersey'... How many times a year should I fertilize? Just fall? Spring and fall (what I plan on doing)? Once in april (done), once in early june and once in september?
  2. County extension says I should use "Use fertilizer with N:P:K ratio of: 1:0:0 (nitrogen only) or 4:0:1 or 2:0:1 or 1:0:1 (representing increasing amounts of potassium; supplemental potassium may be necessary for sandy, low organic matter soils) to achieve 0.75 pound Nitrogen per 1000 square feet"

    I think that the Dr Earth stuff is 9-3-5... Should I be using a different product?
  3. Should I be concerned about areas on my soil analysis that show 'above optimal'?

Here is the first page of the soil analysis:


Page 2:

Page 3:
 
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  #2  
Old 05-06-15, 07:40 AM
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In a nut shell use this as rule of thumb: Nitrogen (N): promotes up growth (the green stuff). Potassium (K): promotes down growth (the roots). Phosphorus (P): is being phased out as it tends to be detrimental to the environment. Increased amounts of phosphorus entering water run off in the water table and eventually in the streams and rivers cause algae growth and fish kills.

Go to the Scotts web site to get a good education on lawn care.



 
  #3  
Old 05-06-15, 11:30 AM
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Thanks for the reply!

I just went thru the Scotts site. As expected, much of it was dedicated to 'educating' me as to what Scotts product to use during the year

I am wondering if
  • Dr Earth is 'bad' for my lawn as I dont need the middle number (Potassium)
  • What fertilizer I should look for to use only what the extension recommends? Maybe something less expensive
  • Do I need to do anything to get the 'above optimal' or 'very high' levels down? Are they related to using Dr Earth?
 
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Old 05-06-15, 12:59 PM
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I'm not a lawn expert nor do I go crazy with my own lawn. As long as it's green I'm happy. However, at our store we sell Scott's and GroGreen products. I also must be familiar with the basics to advise my customers. I'm not familiar with Dr. Earth brand. That being said, Scott's seems to be the go to brand if you want the best. They also promote big with rebates and sales. The main difference with Scott's and other brands such as GroGreen is the method of manufacture. For instance, Scott's WEED and FEED has the fertilizer mix (N,P,K) granuals all combined into one grain for even spreading. Whereas GroGreen and others have separate granuals for each chemical. If not thoroughly mixed before hand you will get an uneven distribution of chemicals on the lawn. Scott's EZ Seed is guaranteed to grow even on a brick (we tried it, it works) if watering is properly applied. Scott's also will guarantee less inert and weed by products in all their grass seed brands.

All that being said any reputable brand (local or national) should be OK if directions are properly followed. Watering being the most important. There are experts on this forum who can guide you very specifically for certain conditions. Maybe we can get one of them to respond.
 
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Old 05-06-15, 02:24 PM
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thanks for the reply!

Dr Earth seems to be a reputable brand. What I dont understand is: Ok... I did this soil test. It says to use .75lb N per 1000 sq ft. Dr Earth is 9-3-5 (who knows what Scotts is-- I havent looked)... So, according to the County Extension, if I use Dr Earth (or any other 9% N), I need to put down 8.325 lbs of fertilizer per 1000 sq ft to hit this .75 lb/ 1000 sq ft N target... I think

I messaged customer service for Dr Earth and they say to just follow directions on the bag--- 18lbs per 1000 sq ft!

Who do I listen to-- fertilzer manufacturer or county extension recommendation?

Dr. Earth Lawn Fertilizer | Planet Natural
 
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Old 05-06-15, 02:58 PM
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Again, I'm no expert. But my experience and feedback from others indicate we tend to over do most things of that nature. If it were me I would go on the light side and prevent possible burning or killing of what little grass you might have. You can always repeat in about a month or so.
 
  #7  
Old 05-07-15, 05:15 PM
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Analysis

9-3-5 means 9% nitrogen, 3% phosphate, and 5% potash. A total of 17 lbs. of nutrients per 100 lbs. of product.

I need to put down 8.325 lbs of fertilizer per 1000 sq ft to hit this .75 lb/ 1000 sq ft N target... I think
I agree with your calculations.
 
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Old 05-07-15, 08:26 PM
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I would go with what your extension recommends, not your 9-3-5 mix. All your lawn needs is a little nitrogen, and more is not better. a 5-0-0 would probably be the maximum I would use if there is any tender new grass that is just trying to get going. Water eventually washes nitrogen out of the ground, so you might fertilize 3x per growing season, depending on your soil type. (Notice they recommend light applications every 3-5 weeks if your soil is very sandy). Since you actually had the soil analysis done, you know for a fact that you don't need any of the other nutrients or minerals. Norm is right on the money- we tend to overdo it, so don't. No you don't need to worry about high levels since you can't do anything about it, but it should be an indicator to quit putting that particular element on the lawn!
 
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Old 05-08-15, 08:04 AM
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thanks for the comments!

Yeah, the search engine on the county extension shows products over 10% N when I search for a 1-0-0 product. I'll head back to the garden supply place

If I search for a 1-0-1 product, they recommend Kelp meal. Maybe I'll look for that. I just really want something completely organic/not chemical back there. Bad enough I have to kill grubs (used Scotts Grub-X)... Front yard Im less hard-line on the chemicals as my daughter isnt rolling around out there.
 
  #10  
Old 05-08-15, 08:21 AM
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yeah. Choosing a fertilizer is a pricey and confusing endeavor

I used the county extension to search for a 'better' product and the result are below. My goals are:
  1. Not harm the grass I seeded last fall
  2. Avoid using unnecessary product inasmuch as possible
  3. Try to use a 'natural' or organic product that is completely safe for my 3 year old
  4. Spend less than the $45 for 40 lbs of Dr Earth if possible-- I have 2400 sq ft of lawn, so this lasts me approximately two-three applications, if I go by county extension rather than Dr Earth recommendation



So here is what comes up when I search for 1-0-0 fertilizer on the country extension:


Jonathan Green Natural Beauty --> 10-0-1
Feather Meal-->11-0-0
Dried Blood Meal (Espoma/Miracle Grow/Schultz/Vigoro) -->12-0-0
Dried Blood Meal-->12-1-1
Blood Meal --> or 13-0-0 or 13-1-0 or 13-1-1
Espoma No Phos Lawn Food --> 18-0-3
Alaska Fish Emulsion Liquid-->5-1-1
McGeary Organics Sidedress/Greenup -->8-1-1



Here is what come up for a 4-0-1:

Soybean Meal-->7-0-2


Here is what comes up for 2-0-1 search:

Ringer LawnRestore-->10-2-6

McGeary Organics P-restricted-->6-0-4


And finally, here is what comes up on a search for 1-0-1


Kelp Meal-->2-0-2
 
  #11  
Old 05-08-15, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by sirk98
". . . Bad enough I have to kill grubs (used Scotts Grub-X)... Front yard Im less hard-line on the chemicals as my daughter isnt rolling around out there . . ."

Have you considered t Gabriel's "Milky Spore" to control Japanese Beetle Larvae (Grubs) ?
 
  #12  
Old 05-08-15, 10:46 AM
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no, I havent heard of that before... I'll have to check it out!
 
  #13  
Old 05-08-15, 03:32 PM
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I see that I lost the "S" on St Gabriel's Milky Spore.

T looked up my last purchase of this stuff which was through Home Depot for $24.97 for 10 Ounces of the powder.

It will pay yo to shop around price wise; but St. Gabriel Organics owns the rights to the product, so there are no substitutes . . . . it's comprised of disease bearing spores (made of dead ground up diseased JB Larvae) which attack only other such larvae in your yard, so it spreads naturally as long as you supply more JB victims. And it carries a 10 year warranty.

It's working for me, and I inoculated over 3 acres with that 10 ounces.

PS: we didn't have a Japanese Beetle Grub problem until we introduced Raspberry patch, and they drew the Beetles . . . . who in turn, started having sex and then laid their eggs in our near by lawn.
 
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