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Global Soil Survey: Individualized Survey Report

Each participant in the Global Soil Survey will receive an individualized report that assesses current soil nutritional conditions at each of the three sampling locations from their facility. The report will be emailed in a printable, pdf format. Each report will contain the following information:

  • Nutritional evaluation: All soils will be analyzed for 21 chemical measurements, including major and minor nutrients, pH and electrical conductivity (see list below) by Brookside Laboratories (New Bremen, OH). All data will be evaluated by Dr. Micah Woods of The Asian Turfgrass Center and Dr. Larry Stowell of PACE Turf . All data will be presented using both metric and U.S. units.
  • Recommendations: The report will also quantify any nutrient deficits or excesses, and will provide recommendations on how to correct them.
  • Documenting progress towards sustainability: The report will also calculate a sustainability index for each major nutrient at each of the three sampling sites. This numerical rating will document how close each soil nutrient is to the minimum identified in the MLSN guidelines, and how much lower that level can go before it reaches the minimum threshold. The sustainability index provides a great snapshot of the current condition of the soil, in terms of meeting minimal guidelines. But even more importantly, it sets a clearly defined benchmark against which you can track and quantify your progress towards sustainability over time.
  • Tools for doing the right thing: While everyone wants their facility to reduce inputs, be more environmentally sensitive and generally more sustainable, it's not always clear how to approach these goals in a safe and responsible manner. Your personalized report will provide clear, science–based and data–based guidance on deficits, excesses and fertilizer requirements that will allow you to sensibly reduce inputs, without sacrificing turf quality or playability.

Parameters evaluated in Global Soil Survey reports

Nitrate nitrogen (NO3–N) pH
Ammonium nitrogen (NH4–N) Electrical conductivity (EC)
Total nitrogen Boron (B)
Phosphorus (Mehlich 3) Iron (Fe)
Phosphorus (P–Bray) Manganese (Mn)
Phosphorus (P–Olsen) Copper (Cu)
P saturation index (PSI) Zinc (Zn)
Potassium (K) Aluminum (Al)
Calcium (Ca) Chloride (Cl)
Magnesium (Mg)  
Sulfur (S)  
Sodium (Na)  

Analytical methods used

All chemical analyses are conducted by Brookside Laboratories, New Bremen, Ohio

Electrical conductivity (1:2) converted to saturated paste equivalent, 1:2 soil method. Reference: Soil, Plant and Water Reference Methods for the Western Regions S-2.210, 2003. Values converted to saturated paste equivalent using following equation: Saturated paste equivalent EC dS/m=2.1 X (1:2 EC dS/m) + 0.5)

pH (1:1 in water). Reference: McLean, E.O. 1982. Soil pH and lime requirement. in Page, A.L. ed. Methods of soil analysis, part 2. Agronomy Monograph 9, 2nd ed. American Society of Agronomy and Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI; pp. 199-223.

Mehlich III extractable sulfur, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, boron, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, aluminum, chloride. Reference: Mehlich, A. 1984. Mehlich-3 soil test extractant: a modification of Mehlich–2 extractant. Comm. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 15:1409-1416.

Inorganic nitrogen (1 N KCl cadmium reduction). Reference: Dahnke W.C. 1990. Testing soils for available nitrogen. Westerman, R.S. ed. Soil testing and plant analysis. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. Book Series 3, Agronomy Society of America, Madison, WI; 1996: 961-1010.

Bray II Phosphorus. Reference: Bray, H.R. and L.T. Kurtz. 1945. determination of total, organic, an available forms of phosphorus in soils. Soil Science 59:39-45.

Olsen Phosphorus:. Reference: Olsen, S.R. and L.E. Sommers. 1982. Phosphorus. Page, A.L. eds. Methods of soil analysis, part 2. Agronomy Monograph 9, 2nd ed. American Society of Agronomy and Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI; 1982: 403-430.

Gulf Coast GCSAA Presentation on MLSN

Dr. Larry Stowell presented the new concept of Minimum Levels for Sustainable Nutrition to the Gulf Coast Golf Course Superintendent’s Association via webcast on December 11, 2012. The attached pdf file provides an edited version of the presentation that includes information requested during the question and answer period. The key change was the inclusion of information on nutrient requirements for bermudagrass that is overseeded with ryegrass compared to non-overseeded bermudagrass.

Here are some bottom-line tips on fertilization to target soil MLSN guidelines:

  • Apply maintenance applications nitrogen (N), phosphrous (P) and potassium (K) in a ratio of 10:1:4 (N:P:K). To prevent leaching and runoff, never apply more than 0.5 lbs N/1000 sq ft in a single application. Lower rates of application and shorter frerquencies are recommended. Adjust nitrogen rates to produce turfgrass performance that grows and recovers adequately to meet golfer expectations.
  • Test soils in the spring and fall and compare soil test results to MLSN guidelines
  • If soil tests report nutrient levels lower than listed in the MLSN guidelines, increase the ratio of P and K in the maintenance fertilizer applications. For example change to a 6:1:4 (N:P:K) ratio. If nutrients other than P and K are low, for example calcium or magnesium are lower than MLSN guidelines, supply these nutrients as needed to adjust soil levels to exceed MLSN guidelines. Application of 1 lb element/1000 sq ft (about 5 g element/m^2) will increase soil levels by about 20 ppm per application.

Stowell, L. Minimum Levels for Sustainable Nutrition. Golf Coast GCSA Meeting Dec. 11, 2012

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