Soil sample & analysis

Discussion in 'Food Plots for Wildlife' started by coolbrze0, Mar 5, 2019.

  1. coolbrze0

    coolbrze0 Member

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    Location:
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    Hardiness Zone:
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    Hey guys - I got the results back from the soil sample on my food plot & could use some help figuring out what to do. Soil pH went from 5.3 last year to 6.2 right now thanks to my Lime applications. P is still low (went from 5 to 12 ppm), K is still a little low (went from 46 to 100 ppm), Ca is good (went from 131 to 1429 ppm), & Mg is still a little low (went from 19 to 59 ppm). CEC went from 1.3 to 9 and organic matter went from 4.0% to 5.3%. Any help is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. swat1018

    swat1018 Well-Known Member

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    Some of those jumps seem too extreme. Possibly a result of your sampling. Pretty to get a 1.3% jump in organic matter in a year. You seem to be headed in the right direction, regardless.
     
  3. X-farmerdan

    X-farmerdan Well-Known Member

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    I agree and always argue how difficult it is to get a representative sample once, let alone twice. The point is, you amended the soil and have done great things. To what level of greatness is still on open question. What to do? Go plant something!
     
  4. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    Can you post the actual report? Be sure to block out your name and address if you've got concerns about some of these devils. That may be a good place to start. Also, as these other guys mentioned, how did you take your sample?

    This is why I bought a probe. Still not fool proof, but it is a lot simpler and more accurate than a shovel.
     
  5. coolbrze0

    coolbrze0 Member

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    That's almost what I was thinking also, all I did was put down a boatload of lime twice & fertilize a few times. Horrible mountain soil up here. Not my 1st time doing a soil test (used to do them for a living) I used a good soil probe, took random samples from all over the plot down to ~4" deep. Will post a pic of the report when I get back from work.
     
  6. dogghr

    dogghr Well-Known Member

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    Fields pasture or planted plots? Soil samples done same time of year? What really stands out is jump in CEC and OM and if its accurate that is a good thing. My land is mountain soils and while it is shallow,, all my tests are off the charts from ph to cec to om. It can be done. I'd suggest do rotational plantings as shown on the Lickcreek thread for several years and I think those other numbers will jump. And the aggravating fescue in most pastures is actually a great soil builder despite its other shortcomings ( don't do it Native). Good luck.
     
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  7. pinetag

    pinetag Well-Known Member

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    LOL at the "don't do it Native" comment.
     
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  8. coolbrze0

    coolbrze0 Member

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    Here's the 2 pages of the soil sample, sorry about the bad pics, had to snap pics w/ my cell phone & upload. I've got another sample (a different part of the property) off to another lab & should have those results back soon also...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. coolbrze0

    coolbrze0 Member

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    Sample was of my food plots in the crappy mountain soil here :) Yep - took both last years & this years samples in February.
     
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  10. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    If it's that's variable, you'll have to guess what your majority soil type is. It looks like you've got sandy/gravel type soil. If you put on any more lime, make sure it's dolomitic. That'll help get your magnesium up.

    Tractor supply is a great place to get dolomitic pell around the country. If you watch for it in spring, they usually have a sale on it, and you can pick it up for $2.99/bag.

    https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/lawnlime-pelletized-dolomitic-limestone

    pell.PNG
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
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  11. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    If you can find ag fertilizer near you, I'd try to get on 100 lbs/ac of MAP or DAP, and about 700 lbs/ac of potash over the next couple years.

    Throw in some gypsum and a spring barley crop, and you'll be throwing and mowing in no time.
     
  12. X-farmerdan

    X-farmerdan Well-Known Member

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    Well, look - you aren't going to do any production agriculture. Crappy mountain soil? Describe? My picture is of a thin layer of topsoil and little to no subsoil. Moisture will be a bigger problem than soil productivity. And I see trees, lots and lots of trees making shade and more shade. Yes? No? Which side of the Blue Ridge are you on? East I would guess?
     
  13. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    I plot in thin sandy soil that is a foot above swamp level. I really like it. That light soil is very easy to amend with lime and fertilizer.
     
  14. coolbrze0

    coolbrze0 Member

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    Here's the other soil sample analysis from another part of the property (never been limed, fertilized, etc.)

    [​IMG]
     
  15. coolbrze0

    coolbrze0 Member

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    Real sandy, rocky, loamy soil. Def. lots of trees up here but plots are pretty open. Yep, east side of the BR :)
     
  16. X-farmerdan

    X-farmerdan Well-Known Member

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    Pretty open?

    So, you're dealing with thin mountain soil, open ground that is open enough to say so. Did you Open it? Everybody's hope springs eternal, but you have work in front of you! East side of the Blue Ridge has very acid soil like your tests reveal. The good news is, the east side, on average, get 3 to 5 more inches of precipitation than on the western slopes and in the Shenandoah Valley. I'll let someone else offer opinions on what and how to amend and what to plant.
     
  17. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    I'd keep looking for a new lab. Those numbers don't seem to jive with a low CEC and low buffer pH. Those stats call for nearly 8 tons of lime per acre, and that is clearly not necessary.

    I'd start with a 1-ton rate of calcitic lime and test again in a year. Plant some low pH tolerant plants the first year. You've got really low Mg and Ca, and you can shoot right off the deep end with either nutrient based on your liming rates, so I'd do it over a couple years and keep testing. Your high K numbers point to some decent holding capacity. K can get harder to hold onto with a CEC under 10.

    Throw in a 300 lb/ac rate of pelletized gypsum too. I'd wait till spring thaw to put it on.
     
  18. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    That's great for small plots, but expensive for quantity. I buy bagged hi-mag lime for $92 a ton from my local ag supply, that's 1.84 for 40lb. In spite of the sales pitch you get someplaces, Lime values in ph value are about the same per lb. no matter where you get it. The main difference is how fast/slow it releases, and the ease of spreading it, as in the pelletized, where you pay an expensive premium for convenience. In buying lime, go for quantity per $ to get the maximum (ph) bang to get your buck.
     
  19. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Completely agree.

    Tractor supply also has a cheaper coarse ground option that is also dolomitic for less money. If I'm only doing a few bags for apple trees, or sweetening small select cuts on my timber, I'll use this stuff. If I'm doing over 300 lbs, I'll pay the premium for pelletized, simply for the ease of spreading and reduce wear and tear on hands. I'm working with just over an acre of plots, and I've been liming by hand and bucket for two years. I finally got done last summer.

    That being said, I still keep about 400 lbs of lime and 300 lbs of gypsum on hand. You never know when you're gonna wanna hit something.

    https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/waukesha-lime-barnlime-50-lb-bag?rfk=1

    wauk.PNG
     
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  20. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    I got lucky and picked up a 10' John Deere lime drop spreader for $175 at an auction. I paid it off in savings the first time I bought a ton of powdered lime instead of pelletized. But I agree with you, someone with no way of spreading except by hand is better of to spend the money for pelletized than to eat the dust.
     

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