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Message Board - Football: Soil Analysis

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Aladdin
Posted 5 Feb 2006
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"It needs some of that stuff on it what makes the drains work"

There has been much mention on these pages of Soil Analysis - something which has never been done at our Club. At least not as far as I know.

Reading the articles and postings etc. it would seem that we may well be wasting a lot of time, money, and effort.

I see that the PC website offer various packages with regard to Soil Analysis so what would the board members advise for a lowly non-league football club?

I suspect that the "full monty" would be a little OTT for our needs so what would be the optimum package to aim for?

p.s. I can see me becoming a real pain in the lower lumbar region for you guys!!!
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Aladdin
Posted 5 Feb 2006
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"It needs some of that stuff on it what makes the drains work"

Since posting the above post I have found another post (!) entitled "Turf Soil Test Kit". This is further food for thought, especially the comments from Paul lowe and anne robinson.

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Anonymous
Posted 6 Feb 2006
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Aladdin, I would get a PSD and NPK test done as well as pH.

You need to know pH, so that you can keep the alkalinity /acidity balance of the soil within the preferred guidelines for healthy grass growth.

NPK will tell you the basic deficiencies/overloads of the key elements for growth i.e. phosphor and potasium. This will help you decide on basic fertilising needs.

The PSD test will tell you the soil make up, in other words how much clay, silt and sand particles there are, as well as the organic matter. It will also tell you the percentages of these in their respective sizes. This is important in particular with the sand content. The overall results will give you a good idea on what you need to do during the end of season renovation works to improve the soil profile.
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Hipper
Posted 6 Feb 2006
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It is a good idea to get some sort of pH and nutrient analysis done at the same time every year so you can see any changes or progress you are making.

As well as what's on offer in the shop here, you could ask your fertilzer supplier if he can arrange something. My supplier, Avoncrop, have in the past got a basic analysis for me for no cost but funded by Scotts fertilizers, on the understanding that I use Scotts products (which I did anyway). You get a basic analysis plus a programme for the year to address your fertilzer needs (using Scotts products of course!).

That is a good starting point. As you get more understanding of the goings on in the soil you may want to go further. These days I have an analysis done by Terralift (another fertilizer and soil additive company) costing £80, but far more comprehensive. This analysis also looks at other key nutrients (such as Manganese and Boron) and has measurements of cation exchange capacities (CECs, an indication of nutrient availability), as well as an annual programme (using Terralift products, naturally). Following their programme for the last four years I have seen definite improvements on my cricket square, both according to the analysis but more importantly, in the ground (deeper rooting for example).

I've been talking about chemical analysis, but it doesn't hurt to have a physical (soil partcle) analysis done occassionally. Certainly it's a good idea to know your soil.

If you wish to you use the shop products here, I would think the Package 2 (with chemical and particle analysis) would be a good start and then Package 1 (chemical only) on an annual basis.
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Aladdin
Posted 6 Feb 2006
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"It needs some of that stuff on it what makes the drains work"

Thanks Anon and Hipper. Some useful info there.

What I've done tho' is visited our feed and seed suppliers, Dalgety, who reckoned we only needed a "bog standard" analysis (£12 + VAT). So I've duly supplied them with a sample and I'll let you know the result.

By the way, I'm not ignoring your responses but this was cheap and convenient. A form of walking before running if you like. Until the results are known we won't know how good, bad, or indifferent this analysis is. Should give us an indication anyway.

Cheers.
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Aladdin
Posted 6 Feb 2006
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"It needs some of that stuff on it what makes the drains work"

Just a test to see if this works
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Aladdin
Posted 6 Feb 2006
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"It needs some of that stuff on it what makes the drains work"

Well, I was trying to put an avatar on but it appears that one or more pictures is an "illegal" format!!
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Aladdin
Posted 6 Feb 2006 Last edited: 6 Feb 2006
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"It needs some of that stuff on it what makes the drains work"

Partial success. Not exactly what I wanted

I have now succeeded. A proper avatar!!!!
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Anthony Asquith
Posted 6 Feb 2006 Last edited: 6 Feb 2006
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Aladdin said

"I can see me becoming a real pain in the lower lumbar region for you guys" !

At least your wanting to improve your knowledge and turf management skills.

I know a few Pro`s (For want of a better word) who throw a roller and a mower on a wicket and generaly don`t give a toss !

Never be afraid to ask questions !

That`s what Pitchcare is all about.

Keep em coming.

thanks


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Aladdin
Posted 6 Feb 2006
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"It needs some of that stuff on it what makes the drains work"

Thanks for that Anthony. What I want - what we all want - is to have a bloody good pitch next season. I've already learnt an awful lot from these pages. Thanks guys.
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Paul lowe
Posted 7 Feb 2006
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Posts: 397

Hi Aladdin
I think a soil analysis on golf green or bowling green is not important. Far less important than other sports field / grass species. Most Greenkeepers only use nitrogen, seaweed and Iron. We are looking to starve the Poa out.

Football; you are after a yield, a healthy sward with quick recovery rates. This is the opposite with fine fescue / bents.

Your results should show, what you have (PPM) Parts Per Million
What is recommended (RPPM) Recommended Parts Per Million.

Ask them. What grass species the RPPM is set on?

And don’t be pushed into buying something you are not sure on, I suggest you ask our resident brain box Asquith first!!
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Aladdin
Posted 7 Feb 2006
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"It needs some of that stuff on it what makes the drains work"

Well, we won't know the results till towards the end of next week. On a personal level, I won't be pushed into buying anything because of the simple fact that I don't know.

Consultation with our groundsman will be the first priority. Depending on the outcome of that I may well ask Mr. Asquith (or any other board contributor) about anything I'm unsure of. Hopefully he'll keep it simple for me!!!!!

Cheers
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Paul lowe
Posted 7 Feb 2006
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Posts: 397

Hi Aladin

I do apologise! I thought you were a Groundsman.
It's excellent to see others on this forum, and taking such an interest in our profession.
well done and keep it up!





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Aladdin
Posted 7 Feb 2006
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"It needs some of that stuff on it what makes the drains work"

Thanks Paul. No, I'm not a Groundsman, I just help ours out with odds and sods!!! To be fair he must be doing something right as he recently got Groundsman of the Year for Liverpool County F.A..

Having said that, I think the info from this site will prove invaluable anyway. For example, none of us had ever heard of rubber crumb and, as you know, a soil analysis has never been done (to the best of my knowledge)

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Aladdin
Posted 14 Feb 2006
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"It needs some of that stuff on it what makes the drains work"

Got the results today. To a total amateur like me it doesn't seem too bad.

pH 6.1

Phosphorous (ppm) 47

Potassium (ppm) 135

Magnesium (ppm) 96

I forgot to ask what grass it was set for but, as they know it's for a football pitch, I assume it's appropriate.

The guy at Dalgety's seems to think we might have a layering problem in the higher impact areas. From what he said and from what I've gleaned off PC I take it an intense course of aeration is required.

Constructive comments are, as ever, welcomed.
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Anthony Asquith
Posted 14 Feb 2006
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Hi

Presuming you`ve got a Ryegrass Based Sward then 6.1 isn`t to bad.You could maybe increase slowly till you Reach 6.5 in the Long Run !

Anyway Layering or planes of Weakness occurs through using In-compatable Mediums

OR

Pans through constant Aeration to the same depths every year !

Aeration realy needs to be done To different Depths to prevent this.

Rootbreak and Hydraulic conductivy rates could be Affected by this !

thanks
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Aladdin
Posted 14 Feb 2006 Last edited: 14 Feb 2006
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"It needs some of that stuff on it what makes the drains work"

Thank you, Anthony.

Now then, why would we want to reach 6.5 when the guide in the analysis suggests that 6.0 is the optimum figure?

What exactly do you mean by incompatible mediums in this respect? Chemicals? Machinery? Top dressing?

I believe there has been little in the way of aeration over the years. What little there has, has been done by a contractor in the summer months.

Slitting was recommended.
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Aladdin
Posted 14 Feb 2006
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"It needs some of that stuff on it what makes the drains work"

Ah! Having read your post on "Moss/algae on square......" I think I now see what you mean.
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Anthony Asquith
Posted 14 Feb 2006
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Hi

Ok

Generaly 5.5 to 7.5 is an acceptable Range for Plant Growth,Nutrient Availability and Microbial Action to Occur !

for perennial Ryegrass Growth and recovery 6.5 is the optimum however 6.0 Is still good

Any lower or Higher than the spacific PH range could cause problems

Incompatability is caused through Using different materials with different

Particle sizes
Clay content
Shrink and swell characteristics

Ofcourse when using Clay structures it`s imperative that layering and Rootbreak ect is minimized to acheive Quick Bouncy Wickets!

If you Topdress without checking this (By chemical soil analysis) then the general health of the plant and it`s Structure will be tested

Aerate Aerate and Aerate to different depths throughout to minize Layering/Pans ect

Punch action tines are recommended rather than slitting as if you have a dry spell the worry is the slits will Crumble and De-stabilise the structure

However if slitting is the only route go follow then it`s better than no Aeration At all !

thanks

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Aladdin
Posted 14 Feb 2006
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"It needs some of that stuff on it what makes the drains work"

Thank you, Anthony. Appreciated.
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