High ph levels

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Polish Hammer
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High ph levels

Postby Polish Hammer » Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:00 am

Last year I bought some land and had a soil sample done where I wanted to plant an 1.5acre plot.. PH came back at 8+ so I was told if I really wanted to bring it down I’d need to add lots of sulfur or maybe get a farmer in to spread manure... I can’t afford the sulfur and unable
To get a manure spreader back there... so should I just leave it and plant? Most everything I read is add lime to get ph levels up..

This used to be an old Christmas tree field and is Darry wet.


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Re: High ph levels

Postby Bohmer » Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:35 pm

What are you planning on planting? If you want a good plot, i would suggest getting a variety that can tolerate the ph. and wet soil. Its odd to see the ph that high in NE WI as that's where I'm from also. When taking your samples, the need to get the correct depth or the sample may be skewed. Not sure on how much experience you have on all of this.
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Re: High ph levels

Postby DEERSLAYER » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:21 pm

It depends on how far above 8 you are and what you planned on planting, but it probably won't cost too much to bring it down where you need it with sulfur as your soil is probably not too high in clay. I'm guessing it's probably somewhat sandy since it was a Christmas tree farm. If it is high in clay it can take quite a bit of sulfur but there are always options. Check your soil test results and you can even call the lab if necessary.

Soil tests are always a good idea. Just think if you had assumed it needed lime and added some like a lot of people do instead of doing the soil test.
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Re: High ph levels

Postby Polish Hammer » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:16 am

So when I got the dirt for the test I dug 3 holes about 50ish feet apart dug to 4-6 inches then grabed dirt put in bucket n mixed up. The results came back at “very low nitrogen” phosphorus and potash where both “medium” the PH says 8+.. it says to add sulfur in fall and in spring and use fertilizer 9-28-30 and area to treat unknow.. I wanted to plant corn in the shape of a U but a long U and have about an acre of turnips radishes and winter peas inside it so the corn was like an outside screen roughly hoping for about 2-2.5 acres total
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Re: High ph levels

Postby Polish Hammer » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:24 am

This past year I plant imperial Whitetails tall tine tubers an winter greens in an acre plot not impressed deer hit it early kind of then nothing since didn’t grow well
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Re: High ph levels

Postby Bedbug » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:37 am

You should add the sulfur. The expensive sulfur you found was probably elemental sulfur.
I would recommend Calcium Sulfate. Or (gypsum) much cheaper. No more than $15 for 50 bag.
A local feed mill will have it or can get it.
If it was me I'd ad 100 pounds in the fall and 50 in the spring (per acre) $45 an acre well spent.
I could go on a tangent to why it's important if necessary but I personally would do it.
And as said above do not add lime
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Re: High ph levels

Postby Grizzlyadam » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:29 am

My garden was 8+ it took me four years to get it down to neutral with the sulfur. It takes a while to work. Sounds like you need to work on more than just pH. Depends on how far you want to go. I would find something that will tolerate those conditions best. We have good success with alfalfa in the soil with high pH.
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Re: High ph levels

Postby Polish Hammer » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:23 am

https://www.menards.com/main/outdoors/g ... 499457.htm

Like something like this it’s supper cheap I’d put a lot of it on?
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Re: High ph levels

Postby Twenty Up » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:36 am

Sulfur coated urea would help your low N and when routinely applied lower your PH. Organic matter helps too but that don't help since you can't get a truck out there. If you go the urea route, apply before a rain or the urea will burn everything.

Your PH is very high making uptake of multiple micro & macro nutrients limited. Personally, I'd spend the money to fix this before dumping money on seed/fert or go with a very cheap cover crop.
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Re: High ph levels

Postby DEERSLAYER » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:02 am

Polish Hammer wrote:So when I got the dirt for the test I dug 3 holes about 50ish feet apart dug to 4-6 inches then grabed dirt put in bucket n mixed up. The results came back at “very low nitrogen” phosphorus and potash where both “medium” the PH says 8+.. it says to add sulfur in fall and in spring and use fertilizer 9-28-30 and area to treat unknow.. I wanted to plant corn in the shape of a U but a long U and have about an acre of turnips radishes and winter peas inside it so the corn was like an outside screen roughly hoping for about 2-2.5 acres total

“very low nitrogen”? It sounds to me like you used one of those cheap home test kits from the store. They are junk and are usually wrong. They can be way off. I would highly recommend you get a real soil test before you do anything. Try to take the soil samples at the same depth for each spot and try to get an equally thick slice of soil from each spot as well. Normally 6" is the best depth, but if you can't get back in there with equipment that can go 6" deep you may want to do a 4" sample depth. Just make sure the lab knows the depth you tested too and pay attention to the depth on the results. Depth is very important so you know the correct amount of lime (or maybe sulfur in your case) to mix into the soil.

Also, if you have added any lime in the not to distant past that could skew your results, depending on how much you added and how you added it. I strongly suggest you do a proper soil test (reputable lab). Your local extension office is likely the best place to go but if that doesn't pan out your nearest co-op should be able to help or ask a farmer where they get their testing done.

The soil test results from a lab will tell you exactly what to use and generally speaking they will tell you the cheapest source to use.
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Re: High ph levels

Postby Polish Hammer » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:17 am

I didn’t add any lime I just used fertilizer when I planted the rest was done by the local co-op but they gave me a small booklet after that says accugrow soil test strips honestly it oooks kinda cheap but who am I to know where can I get a different test from or done... and also would the above product work if the results do come
Back the same just load it on?
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Re: High ph levels

Postby Rich M » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:43 pm

The guys who do serious food plots take soil tests very seriously. It is expensive to establish a good food plot but it lasts a long time - for the record, I would only do this if I owned the land. On leases, I plant cheap stuff and fertilize with 10-10-10 if I fertilize.

A proper soil test will surely help you figure out the actual conditions. If you just want to wing it - there are soil analyzer probes you can get that will put you in a ballpark for PH.

Lime lowers the PH. Lower PH allows the plants to "eat" the available minerals.

A rule of thumb I've heard is 1 ton of lime per acre to reduce the PH 1 point. If your PH is 9, it will take 2 tons to drop it to 7.

You can get lime a couple diff ways - bulk and by the bag. You can get bags of powder and granules. I've heard that the granules change the PH faster, they also cost more.

Start buying bags of LIME. Barn Lime is $3/50 pound bag at Tractor Supply. That's $120 for a ton (40 bags). You could always buy a couple bags here and there - you'll have enough before you know it. The fun is in spreading the stuff and tilling it in.

OR find a deer food that likes high PH and wet soils.
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Re: High ph levels

Postby Twenty Up » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:07 pm

Slayer Seed nailed it.

Also the lab will want to know what has been planted there, what's currently there and what your intending to plant. This could alter your input rates (N-P-K) but your lime will be geared to stay around 6.5PH. 6-7 is the sweet spot where nutrients are most readily available.

Also be sure to clear away any organic matter when taking the soil test and grid pattern it out where you pull cores. Good rule of thumb is 10 cores/ acre for smaller areas or 1 core per acre for large fields. This is with a soil probe, not sure what you're using to get soil.
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Re: High ph levels

Postby DEERSLAYER » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:34 pm

.
.
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Lime RAISES the pH. It doesn't lower it.

Nothing replaces a real soil test. By real I mean by a reputable laboratory. Once in a while you will get lucky and hit it right with a cheap test kit (same goes for probes that can cost from $10-$100+) but it's really a crap shoot and even if it gets the pH right there is no way to know how much lime (or sulfur) to put on to properly adjust the pH. Those silly little charts are ridicules. It all depends on soil type. It could take 1/2 ton lime per acre or it could take 3 ton per acre (or more). No chart can be counted on tell you the right amount. Plus those tests are not going to give you the right amount of fertilizer for your soil and the crop you plan to grow on it.

As far as pellatized lime being faster reacting than pulverized (powdered) that is pretty much false. The reason some experts say that is because the finer the lime is ground the faster it works and pellatized is ground very fine. The problem is the binding agent used and the formation of the pellets as well as the distribution of the pellets. The binding agent breaks down and you have a bunch of tiny little deposits of lime laying there with spaces between them. Most powdered lime is ground fairly fine and you can get better coverage with it, assuming you have a way to spread it. Powdered lime can cake in the spreader which is why they came out with pellatized lime for non farmers. Lime changes pH as small particles of it comes in direct contact with soil particles so the key to getting a fast pH change isn't just quality or "fineness" that the lime is ground too, but also how well you mix it with the soil. So disking in is good, but rototilling is better and one pass is good but a few passes is better. I have never had to lower the soil pH but I would expect it to work the same way for lowering. The better you mix it the faster it will get the job done.
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Re: High ph levels

Postby lmurray1080 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:50 am

I'm a little late to the game but Deerslayer is spot on. Lime definitely RAISES PH and being from WV I am definitely used to dealing with acidic soil and most likely I would stroke out if I tested a plot and it came back with a PH of 8+. The only time I have experienced a false high PH is when I accidentally hit a limestone rock in an old strip mine area. The previous post in regards to pelletized vs ag lime is also accurate based on scientific study showing no real advantage in soil neutralization over a period of time. One other thing I will mention though is something you may need to consider especially since access is limited is when you buy lime it is important to take into consideration the CCE or Calcium Carbonate Equivalent especially if you are spreading by hand. Most pelletized lime is in the neighborhood of 85%-99% and when you start talking about tons per acre that can save you spreading a lot of bags. The local stone quarry where I source my ag lime provides testing data for their lime and is usually around 85%.

I also don't understand when you say that you intent was to plant corn and turnips/radish mix and they recommended that you spread 9-28-30. Corn and brassicas are both heavy nitrogen users. The three numbers represent N(nitrogen)-P(phosphorus)-K(Potassium) and more importantly represent lbs of actual nutrient per 100lbs. Based on the fertilizer that was recommended it would seem more logical being applied to a legume like soybean, clover or alfalfa as they all fix their own nitrogen so by applying limited nitrogen fertilizer you can sometime reduce weed competition. Same as with the CCE of lime if you are spreading fertilizer by hand with limited access and quite frankly anytime I would recommend you get the strongest fertilizer possibly to deliver the required nutrient as long as you can spread it evenly across the entire plot. In our area if a plot requires nitrogen(IE: corn, oats, wheat, brassicas etc...) I apply urea which is 46-0-0. As another has said it is good to apply this just prior to a rain or till it in as it can not only burn your planting but it also has issues with volatilizing or evaporating into the air causing up to 40% loss in hot conditions. If we need Phosphorus we spread DAP - 18-46-0 and if we need potassium we spread potash - 0-0-60. From a financial standpoint it is always cheaper to apply the strongest fertilizer you can get your hands on not to mention the time savings.

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