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Soil Texture

Soil Texture

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Soil Texture

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  1. National Park ServiceMidwest Region Pilot Turf Stewardship ProjectPreliminary ReportFort Scott National Historic SiteFort Scott, KansasPrepared by Chip Osborne and Jay FeldmanFebruary 2011BEYOND PESTICIDES701 E Street SE , Washington, DC

  2. Soil Texture • Soil is the foundation of our landscape. • Comprised of sand, silt, and clay mixed with varying amounts of organic matter, water, and air. • Soil is very much alive. • Ideal soils are typically described as having the following characteristics: 45% mineral, 25% air, 25% percent water, and 5% organic matter.

  3. Soil Textural Triangle

  4. Soil Chemistry Basics • pH (Acidity or Alkalinity) • Nutrient Management • Organic Matter (OM) and Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC)

  5. Soil Biomass and Microorganisms • Soil biomass is the foundation upon which our nutrient program is based. • In taking a “feed the soil” approach, soil microbes are at the heart of our management strategy. • Natural, organic fertilizer is broken down by the microbial life to nutrients for the plant. • Synthetic fertilizers by their nature, and with high salt content, compromise the activity of the life in the soil.

  6. Managing the Biomass • Compost Tea • Large number of microbes to soil • Humates • Builds healthy soil; Increased organic matter which helps to reduce N loss through leaching; Contains carbon as an energy source for microbes; Improves soil structure, aggregation, water infiltration, aeration, and water-holding capacity; Increases nutrient availability to the grass plant; Facilitates mineral breakdown; Increases microbial activity; And, helps with root growth and penetration, and chlorophyll density • Compost • Increases soil organic matter; When combined with over-seeding, enhances germination and establishment; By virtue of its neutral pH and healthy microbial population, helps buffer the soil and counteract naturally acidic soils without the use of lime; During decomposition, continues to release nutrients

  7. Transition Period • When moving from a conventional program to a natural one, the length of transition is directly related to the intensity of current and past management practices and the overall turf quality. • After years of synthetic, water-soluble fertilizers with high salt levels, the soil microbiology has been bypassed and somewhat compromised. • Don’t expect a collapse or failure.

  8. Fertility and Turfgrass Nutrition • Nitrogen (N), Potassium (K) and Phosphorus (P). • Nitrogen not just from liquid fertilizer, also from compost topdressing, compost tea and humic substances, microbial inoculants, and grass clippings. • Synthetic fertilizers provide “quick green-up,” but pollute and require many applications. • Organic fertilizers work with soil microbial life.

  9. Cultural Practices • Irrigation • Deep watering • Cultivation • Need non-compacted, aerobic soils • Over-seeding • Maximum density of grass suppresses weeds • Mowing • 3 inches

  10. Site Analysis • Soil profile: clay loam base layer with 6” of topsoil • Limestone is the parent rock material • Two areas: Visitor Center, Parade Ground • Primary grass species is Buffalo grass (75%); other: Kentucky bluegrass and Perennial ryegrass • Weed issues (community pressure): Henbit and dandelions

  11. Site Analysis: History • About 20 years ago the Parade Ground was topdressed with 3 ton of sand/acre and the area was seeded resulting in a substantial thickening of the turf • Mowing has generally been done on a weekly basis at a height of 3 ½ “ to 4” • Mulching mowers are used and clippings are returned to the turf • 10 years ago the height was raised to 6” with no substantial increase in turf density • Seeding has been done in weak areas where trees were removed • Irrigation was installed 7 to 8 years ago • The Parade Ground is rarely watered, but the Fire Road receives water in dry spells to maintain green turf • There has been no aeration in recent history • Fescues are periodically treated with a glyphosate application when the Buffalo grass is dormant • Glyphosate is routinely sprayed on the bricks to control weeds and grasses • Dipel Pro F (Bacillus thuringensis) is sprayed on trees for control of a variety of caterpillar pests • For the past several years fertility and weed control has been managed with annual applications of Scotts Plus 2.

  12. Recommendations • Begin a low impact organic fertility program that will address both the health of the soil and the nutritional needs of the turfgrass • Aerate once or twice a year during transition to allow for good root development of the desirable grasses. • Buffalo grass prefers water in-soluble N (slow release), low dose fertility recommended • Compost tea was discussed as an input. This material could be prepared on site. • The ph should be adjusted slightly upwards • Humic acid as a soil supplement should be used • An inoculum of beneficial microbes should be applied to indroduce organisms that will colonize the root systems • Maintain 4” mowing height • Topdress with well-aged compost • General overseeding to improve turf density • On turf, move away from glyphosate use for unwanted plant control by using a topical burn down product • On sidewalks and walkways with unwanted vegetation, utilize hot water treatment machines

  13. Sample Schedule April Aerate Fertilize .75 lb N/1000 sq ft Seed bare spots May Mowing begins at 4” June Liquid or granular humate Microbial inoculum July 15 Fish hydrolysate 6 gal/ac spray August 15 Compost tea with humate 20 gal/ac spray September 1 Aerate Compost topdress .5 cu yd/1000 sq ft Fertilize .75 lb N/1000 sq ft General overseed thin spots November Final cut

  14. Sample Programs Level 1 Program 4lbs N  2 lbs N from granular product $7.50/1lb N $15.00/1000 1 Compost Topdress $30.00/cu yd $23.00/1000 2 over-seedings 5lbs/1000 $2.00/lb-$10.00/1000 x 2 $20.00/1000 *Other apps $15.00/1000 $73.00/1000  Level 2 Program 3 lbs N 2 lbs N from granular product $7.50 $15.00/1000 1 over-seeding 5 lbs/1000 $2.00lb-$10.00/1000 $10.00/1000 *Other apps $15.00/1000 $15.00/1000 $40.00/1000

  15. Sample Programs Level 3 Program 2 lbs N  1.5 lbs N from granular product $15.00/1000 $11.25/1000 Seeding to address thin /bare areas $10.00/1000 *Other apps $10.00/1000 $31.25/1000 Level 4 Program 1 lb N 1 lb N from granular product $7.50/1000 $7.50/1000 Minimal seed $7.50/1000 $15.00/1000

  16. Soil Test Data

  17. Soil Test Data: Soil Textural Analysis

  18. Soil Test Data: Soil Nutrient Analysis

  19. Soil Test Data: Soil Foodweb (page 1)

  20. Soil Test Data: Soil Foodweb (page 2)

  21. Supplemental Information • Weed Control • Nutrient Management • Soil Conditioner • Products that Address and Assist Soil Microbiology • pH Adjusting Materials

  22. Fort Scott Visitors’ Center

  23. Fort Scott Visitors’ Center Lawn

  24. Back of Visitors’ Center

  25. Fort Scott Parade Ground

  26. Fort Scott Parade Ground Rear

  27. Fort Scott Parade Ground Right Side

  28. Fort Scott Lawn

  29. Fort Scott Lawn

  30. Contact • Jay FeldmanBeyond Pesticides701 E Street SE, Washington, DC, 202-543-5450 • Chip OsborneOsborne Organics11 Laurel Street, Marblehead, MA, 781-631-2468