Sent some soil out to get tested by my local Extension and I am a
little confused about what the results mean. I've linked them here.
Can someone go through each one and tell me if it's bad/good and what
I need to do? I have St. Augustine Grass and am located in San
It will be interesting to see what others say, but to me it looks
good, add a bit of nitrogen fertilizer, ammonium sulfate or urea,
whatever is available, and enjoy the good soil you have. Enough of
the good stuff you want, not too much of the bad stuff you don't want.
Thanks, but that's what I am talking about, I don't know what to look
for! I don't know anything about this. Is there a "one size fits all
bag" that has this for me or do I need to like buy a little of this, a
little of that, and mix it all up into one pot and then spread it?
Thanks for your assistance.
My Font yard is: 1578sqft
My Back Yard is: 1450sqft
I am only growing lawn.
I figured all I had to do was boost the nitrogen, but do stores sell
only nitrogen? I thought most fertilizers had all kinds of stuff in it
like potassium, phosphorus, etc.
Lastly, since my pH is 7.9 and St. Augustine is supposed to be around
7.0, do I need to bring it down to around 6.5? I currently am at 7.9ph
and I wonder if this is a big deal or can I ignore this?
Use ammonium sulfate fertilizer. The sulfate will reduce the pH a
bit, the ammonium converts to a form of nitrogen that the lawn needs.
Front yard needs :
1578/1000 = 1.578
1.578 * .3 = .4734 pounds of nitrogen
Ammonium sulfate is 21% nitrogen, so:
0 .4734 / 0.21 = 2.25 pounds of fertilizer
1450/1000 = 1.450
1.450* 0.4 = 0.58
0.58/.21 = 2.76 pounds of fertilizer.
And if you put on two or three times as much, it won't hurt. Water it
in well. Other fertilizers will have other stuff in them but what is
needed is just nitrogen, and it is cheap by comparison.
- pH is high, not dramatically so but at 7.9 there are quite a number
of plants that will not thrive. pH is a measure of acidity going from
0 (toxic acid) to 7 (neutral) to 14 (toxic alkali), many plants like
slightly acid (6-6.5) to absorb nutrients well, some like it lower
(4.5-5.5). I don't know about the grass you have but you need to
check out what it likes. A few plants will like your alkaline
conditions. As the bottom line says DO NOT add lime, it will make it
worse. I don't know San Antonio, is it a limestone area or an
evaporation basin? The high pH and high Calcium suggest that it may
- Conductivity This is a measure of the total soluble salts. High
levels kill plants (eg by the seaside) but yours is OK if I am reading
the units right
- The major nutirents (Nitrogen down to Sulphur) are all above the
critical level except N which they recommend you add a Nitrogenous
fertiliser to correct. This is a generalisation as different plants
like more or less of these nutrients and I cannot tell if they took
into account what you are growing to set this level, I suspect not.
Grass likes Nitrogen but don't overdo it.
- Minor nutrients, Iron to Boron, tests don't seem to have been done.
- Limestone is not required as I said your soil is already alkaline
- Organic matter 5% Is a bit low. Good rich soil it would be higher.
What to do? To grow grass add a Nitrogenous fertiliser. When you cut
it mulch it up and leave it to rot in, thus improving the amount of
organic matter. If you want to topdress use a compost that has NOT
got lime added, you don't care if it is somewhat acid (which most
compost will be naturally) as your soil will improve if it is.
If you have garden beds and not just grass you may need to take
further steps to increase acidity to grow acid-loving plants, it may
be simpler to just plant lime-loving plants instead.
On Apr 5, 10:40 pm, " email@example.com"
Thank you David. Every little feedback helps! Your post was
informative and it aligns pretty much with the notes I have been
taking from "lawn care" books. I was stupid not to pay extra for the
iron tests, and it looks like I should have. I just did not know
whether I needed that or if it was already included in the tests--the
books I had didn't mention iron as a requirement for testing.
Nonetheless, I purchased ammonium sulphate this morning (21-0-0) and
am going to first aerate the lawn before feeding it with this. One
quesiton I had was whether to kill the weeds before aerating/
fertilizing or could I do it after I do the former? I hand pulled a
lot of the broadweeds, but the real culprit is the crabgrass and they
had deep roots and I'm sure that hand pulling wont' do much. However,
I dont' mind handpulling--I love the exercise and even it comes back
out, I'll just give myself a reason to go back outside:)
I'm new to all this. I am learning as much as I can. I am a first time
home owner (26 years old) and am loving landscaping. I got a square
garden going in my backyard (it's above ground) so the current soil is
not an issue since i am using a special mix for this.
I hope to buy my own piece of land in the country soon, so I am
learning as much as possible. Thanks.
You could call the lab that did your testing and ask if they usually
find iron deficiency in soil tests from your area, or the county
extension agent, they should know.
Real crabgrass comes back from seed, not the roots. You can use a
pre-emergence weed killer for that. Make sure it is crabgrass, there
are a lot of things people call crabgrass that aren't. Your Saint
Augustine is one, it would be a weed at my house.
How are you killing the weeds? If you are using a poison, that
usually works better when the plant is actively growing, so if you
fertilize and water first then the poison should be more effective.
Do in this order:
This way the weeds will be easier to pull since they are in the loosened
soil from the aeration but not fertilized.
If you don't have one, there is a weeding tool that is basically handle
with a metal rod on the end that you poke into the ground and then pry
up. It is U-shaped and sharpened on the end so you can cut tap roots if
you have to.
You can get rid of crabgrass next year with preemergence weed killer.
If you are into organic materials or have pets, Corn Gluten Meal is a
preemergence weed killer that will reduce crabgrass by about 91 percent
over a three year period. Not exactly stellar performance.
Pardon my spam deterrent; send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheers, Steve Henning in Reading, PA USA
I have a book by Jerry Baker called GREEN GRASS MAGIC and he says
basically to kill weeds you just need to mix some gin, apple cider
vinegar, dish soap and warm water and put it in a handheld sprayer and
drench weeds to the point of run off. I did a search to see what other
people are saying about this and it seems to have worked very well.
Maybe I'll try this?
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