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Introduction to Soils for the Master Gardener

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Extension Soil Scientist ... tilth chemical fertility nutrient supply soil testing nutrient additions biologically fertile microorganisms organic materials soil ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to Soils for the Master Gardener


1
Introduction to Soils for the Master Gardener
Dick Wolkowski Extension Soil Scientist Departme
nt of Soil Science University of Wisconsin -
Madison
2
  • 700
  • different
  • soils
  • in Wis.

3
Productive soil must be fertile
  • physical fertility
  • texture, structure, drainage, tilth
  • chemical fertility
  • nutrient supply
  • soil testing
  • nutrient additions
  • biologically fertile
  • microorganisms
  • organic materials
  • soil environment

4
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5
Soil formation-weathering
  • physical
  • freezing, thawing, wetting, drying, organisms
  • chemical
  • dissolved minerals moved in water
  • soil horizons formed
  • 1 inch - 100 years

6
Soil f (Climate, Parent material, Living
organisms, Topography, Time )
Deciduous
Coniferous
Prairie
7
Soil texture
  • classes - sand, silt, clay
  • names based on proportions
  • loam, silty clay, loamy sand
  • changing proportions not recommended
  • clay also group of minerals
  • montmorillinite, kaolinite.
  • nutrient storehouse

8
Textural classes
9
Soil organic matter
  • plants, animals, microorganisms
  • living, dead, decay products
  • humus
  • complex, dark-colored, reactive
  • soil acidity reservoir
  • nutrient storehouse
  • difficult to significantly increase

10
Soil structure
  • particles glued into aggregates
  • organic matter, clay, bacterial secretions, Fe/Al
    oxide coatings
  • granular, platy, blocky
  • finer aggregates in topsoil, massive in subsoil
  • improve by adding organic residues
  • decay 90 CO2 H2O

11
Problem heavy soil
  • aggregates tightly packed
  • small pores
  • poor drainage, roots suffocate
  • cloddy if tilled wet
  • compact easily
  • improve with organic residues
  • better crumb stability
  • larger pores
  • sand clay cement

12
Problem light soil
  • aggregates too big to pack tightly
  • large pore spaces
  • droughty
  • improve with organic residues
  • sponge
  • better water holding capacity

13
Organic residues
  • compost, grass clippings, crop residues
  • annual gardens - 1 bu / 20 sq ft
  • perennial gardens - 1 bu / 10 ft
  • do not add to tree/shrub planting hole
  • green manure, fall cover crops
  • green topgrowth tilled under
  • extra N needed for high C residues
  • microorganisms tie-up N
  • wood chips, sawdust, oat straw

14
Organic residues
  • provides food for microorganisms
  • for every 100 lb. added, 90 lb. converted to
    water, carbon dioxide
  • 10 lb. stable 1st year
  • 1 lb. stable 2nd year
  • microbial decay process
  • more glue for better crumb stability
  • nutrients released
  • fresh surfaces for nutrient holding

15
How to remember the 17 essential elements
  • C HOPKINS CaFe is Mighty
  • Nice, But Many More
  • Prefer Claras Zany Cup
  • Required for the plant to complete life cycle
  • Directly involved in metabolism
  • Can not be substituted by another nutrient
  • Essential for a wide range of plants

16
Food for plants?
  • plant, animal nutrition very different
  • plants manufacture basics
  • protein, carbohydrate, sugar.
  • framework with C, H, O
  • 14 essential soil elements
  • N, P, K - primary
  • Ca, Mg, S - secondary
  • B, Cl, Ni, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Zn trace or micro
  • animals (we) eat basics

17
Nutrient supply
  • clay main nutrient storehouse
  • negative charge
  • attracts, holds positive ions
  • Ca , Mg , K , NH4
  • easily displaced, exchanged
  • plant uptake
  • some leaching on sandy soils
  • negative ions remain in soil solution
  • NO3-, Cl-, SO4

18
Nutrients must be soluble
plant root
pore space
soil solution
Nutrient exchange between clay and soil solution
19
Would Calvin be a good master gardener?
20
Soil testing is the only preplant method of
knowing nutrient need!
  • WHAT SOIL TESTING TELLS US
  • Crop N need
  • Plant available P and K
  • Crop P and K need
  • Soil organic matter
  • Soil pH and lime requirement
  • Other tests if requested

21
A shovel is OK too, mix a small amount in a clean
bucket
22
Soil test
  • rapid chemical analysis
  • index of potential nutrient supply
  • deficiency
  • excess
  • sample to show true variation
  • Composite
  • UWEX lab in Madison

23
Sampling soils
  • sample depth
  • established turf - 4 inches
  • new turf, gardens - 6 inches or tillage depth
  • raised beds - depth of bed
  • probe best, spade OK
  • combine 5 subsamples composite

24

Avoid unusual areas backfill, wet spots, etc.
25
Sampling soils
  • when
  • annual gardens, new turf
  • fall, spring before tillage
  • perennials, problems, established turf
  • anytime
  • suspected salt damage
  • very early spring
  • sample each area separately
  • repeat every 2-3 yrs

26
Useful laboratory tests
  • routine
  • soil pH, buffer pH
  • organic matter
  • available P and K
  • other
  • Ca, Mg, S, Zn, B, Mn
  • no good test/need
  • N, Fe, Cu, Cl, Mo, Ni
  • problem solving
  • texture, soluble salts
  • Cl, Pb, As,...

UW Soil and Plant Analysis Lab 8452 Mineral Point
Rd, Verona 53593 (West Madison Ag. Research
Station)
27
Soil test report
  • potential for deficiency
  • which nutrient needed
  • how much to apply
  • fertilizer for nutrient need
  • lime, sulfur amendments for pH change
  • when to apply
  • when to STOP!

28
Soil test results
  • excessively high
  • common for residential areas
  • not detrimental
  • adding more not beneficial
  • avoid balanced blends, most organics
  • low
  • build to optimum
  • turf fertilizer blends

29
Soil test results - pH
  • measure of acidity, alkalinity
  • scale 1 - 14, optimum 6 - 7
  • add lime only if recommended
  • incorporate 6 - 8 inches
  • add aluminum sulfate to acidify
  • new turf
  • if strongly alkaline
  • blueberry, rhododendron

30
Effect of soil pH on nutrient availability
31
Optimum pH for turf and gardens
  • depends on species pH range
  • kentucky bluegrass 6.0 - 7.6
  • creeping red fescue 5.3 - 7.5
  • sweet corn 6.0
  • potato 5.4 6.0
  • green bean 6.8
  • tomato 6.0

32
Soil test results - organic matter
  • 2 - 4 most soils
  • impractical and difficult to change
  • nutrient reservoir
  • used for calculating N and lime recommendations

33
Soil test results - N
  • no direct measures on report
  • N rec from crop need, organic matter
  • promotes leaf growth
  • excess N
  • delays maturity
  • moves below root zone and may contaminate ground
    water

34
Soil test results - P
  • stimulates root growth and flowering
  • shallow rooted greater need
  • optimum soil test P for turf and gardens
  • - established turf 11 - 15 ppm
  • - sweet corn 16 - 25 ppm
  • - green bean 16 - 25 ppm
  • - tomato 31 - 45 ppm
  • - potato 161- 200 ppm

35
Soil test results - K
  • promotes disease resistance, winter hardiness
  • root crops require most
  • optimum soil test K for turf
  • - established turf 41 - 60 ppm
  • - sweet corn 101 - 120 ppm
  • - green bean 101 - 120 ppm
  • - tomato 121 - 180 ppm
  • - potato 121- 160 ppm

36
Inorganic fertilizer
  • sold on a percent by weight basis
  • N P2O5 K2O
  • chemically simple
  • N in air plus natural gas
  • rock phosphate, potash mined, sized and cleaned
  • very soluble salts
  • easily blended
  • must be careful with rates

37
Inorganic fertilizer
  • Nutrient
  • Type N P2O5 K2O
  • -------------- ---------------
  • urea 46 0 0
  • ammonium nitrate 33 0 0
  • triple super P 0 46 0
  • ordinary super P 0 20 0
  • muriate of potash 0 0 60
  • potassium sulfate 0 0 50
  • di-ammonium phos. 18 46 0

38
Recommended fertilizer
  • Gardens
  • avoid high N fertilizers for most crops
  • sweet corn, potato are exceptions
  • uniform, low grade (e. g.10-10-10)
  • does not match plant need
  • over supply P and K
  • micronutrients generally not needed
  • adjust pH as necessary

39
Organic fertilizer
  • chemically complex, contains C
  • naturally occurring
  • byproducts
  • microorganisms must degrade
  • slow release, rate ???
  • improve structure with long-term use

40
Organic fertilizer
  • Nutrient
  • Type N P2O5 K2O
  • -------------------------------
  • blood meal 13.0 1.5 0.6
  • bone meal 2.2 27.0 0
  • seaweed 1.5 1.0 4.9
  • tree leaves 0.7 0.1 0.8
  • greensand 0 1.4 6.3
  • activated biosolid 6.0 3.0 0.2

41
Organic fertilizer
  • may contain
  • unnecessary nutrients, compounds
  • nonessential elements
  • does not add nutrition, improve flavor, enhance
    food safety and quality
  • often more expensive per pound of nutrient

42
Foliar sprays fruits, sensitive ornamentals
  • trace, secondary elements
  • soil Fe, Mn fixed at high soil pH
  • supply by spraying leaves
  • temporary fix, requires repeating
  • emergencies
  • no substitute for soil applied nutrients
  • leaf burn, expensive, extra work
  • most spray falls on soil

43
Recommended fertilizer
  • Turf blends
  • regular or maintenance - high N
  • soil test P, K optimum, above
  • starter - high P2O5
  • soil test P below optimum
  • winterizer - high K2O
  • soil test K below optimum
  • use a Holiday schedule
  • sweep off driveways and sidewalks

44
Other turf management considerations
  • Mowing
  • no shorter than 2.5 in.
  • cut no more than 1/3 at any time
  • normal height in fall
  • Thatch
  • natural buildup
  • verti-cut, power-rake, core
  • Water
  • 1 in. per week in summer, less in spring and fall
  • soak rather than sprinkle
  • Shade
  • seed fescue
  • prune trees
  • mow higher
  • less water and fertilizer

45
Compost
46
What is Compost ?
  • Material left after the aerobic decomposition of
    organic material(s)

Organic Material bugs O2 ? Compost
CO2 H2O
47
General Characteristics
  • N availability much lower than fresh materials
    like manures, biosolids, food processing wastes
    (lt10 of TN)
  • Diverse array of feedstocks used to make
    compost
  • Variability in quality of finished compost
  • Comes with lots of things besides
    macro-nutrients

48
Assessment of maturity
  • High concentrations of ammonium-N indicate
    immature compost
  • - should be less than 40 ppm
  • Measure microbial respiration under optimal
  • moisture, temperature conditions
  • - High respiration high activity unstable
  • - Low respirationlow activity stable
  • Test compost or compost blend BEFORE using

49
Fresh Vs. Composted Organic Matter
  • Fresh Wastes
  • High biological activity
  • Some have high nutrient availability
  • Can immobilize nutrients during early stages of
    decomposition
  • Highly variable in physical traits
  • Instability can increase Pythium damping off of
    certain crops
  • Compost
  • Already gone through decomposition, stable
  • Mature compost should provide some nutrients
  • Improves drainage and other physical properties
  • Provides for biological control of Phytophthora
    root rot

50
Making Your Own Compost
  • Build a bin 5 x 5 x 5 ft.
  • Add organic materials and adjust to 40-60 water
    content
  • Use bulking agent for wet materials, add water to
    dry materials
  • High CN materials take longer
  • Maintain aeration by frequent turning
  • Compost is finished when pile doesnt re-heat and
    it is difficult to distinguish initial materials

51
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