Presentation on theme: "Soil for Virginia Master Gardeners What you should know What you can do What you should be able to teach."— Presentation transcript:
Soil for Virginia Master Gardeners What you should know What you can do What you should be able to teach
Francis J. Reilly, Jr.
P A G E 3 Shameless Commercial Have you joined VMGA? The Voice of VA Master Gardeners Promote fellowship, training & communication State Coordinator’s Endowment.
P A G E 4 Outline Why Soils What are Soils Soil testing and fertility Practice Compost
P A G E 5 Why are Soils Important? ?
P A G E 6 Why are Soils Important? Support Plant growth Mediate Climate Store water
P A G E 7 Why do we need to know about soils? ?
P A G E 8 Why do we need to know about soils? Its what plants grow in Troubleshoot plant problems by looking at soil Disease – Abiotic Factors Will water be easily given up to the plant Are there any Soil Organisms at Work Does water soak in Run off? Stand on the surface?
P A G E 9 What is Soil? Ideally: 25% Air 25% Water 45-48% Minerals 2-5% Organic matter Soil organisms Mineral & Organic Materials that contain living matter and can support vegetation
P A G E 10 Where Does Soil Come from? Parent Material Climate Time Relief, Topography Organisms –Human Activity –Beavers –Grazers like cows and deer –Worms –Bacteria/fungi
P A G E 11 Appalachian Plateaus Valley and Ridge Blue Ridge Piedmont Plateau Coastal Plain Physiographic Regions
P A G E 12 Physiographic regions and soil types Physiographic Regions describe land surface features Closely related to geology Slope, and soils are related
P A G E 13 Soils Classified Soil Survey Printed version (1960) –Ask Debbie where that copy is! On-line version New version soon (finished 2009) x?Survey=VA107&UseState=VA
P A G E 14 What can the soil survey tell you?
P A G E 15 What can the soil survey tell you? Drainage Slope Topography Water features Wetlands Crop worthiness Buildability
P A G E 16 How Do You Use It? Use it to plan Don’t use it to DO! Look up spot on map See what it says Read about the soil type SOIL TYPE?
P A G E 17 Soil Type Soils Classified by: Depth of layer Color Texture Structure
P A G E 18 State Soil of Virginia!
P A G E 19 Soil Taxonomy Soil Orders
P A G E 20 Depth HorizonDepthInformation O0-2”Humus A1”-10” Minerals darkened by organics, zone of max biology E? Empty – Paler depleted by water leaching out of A into B B10”-30”Zone of accumulation C30”-48”Not really like soil RBelowParent material
P A G E 21 Color Color of parent material Other Colors due to pedagenesis
P A G E 22 Soil Texture
P A G E 23 Soil Texture Sand are the largest particles and they feel "gritty." Silt are medium sized, and they feel soft, silky or "floury." Clay are the smallest sized particles, and they feel "sticky" and they are hard to squeeze. Sand mm Silt mm Clay < mm
P A G E 24 How to Texture 1 st a pinch Then a ribbon
P A G E 25 Soil Structure GranularBlocky PrismaticPlaty Columnar Single Grained Massive
P A G E 26 Soil Structure
P A G E 27 So what about structure? Drainage Plant penetration Oxygen penetration
P A G E 28 Pore Spaces The smaller the particles The smaller the pore spaces Water moves slowly Less air present
P A G E 29 How do we improve soils? ?
P A G E 30 How do we improve soils? Drainage Moisture Fertility Soil Health Problems
P A G E 31 Pore Spaces can decrease due to compaction
P A G E 32 Soil horizons and water infiltration Horizons have different properties Some may retard water flow Watch out for the “builder’s horizon”
P A G E 33 Check for Yourself Dig a hole 12 inches deep and fill it with water 30 minutes, the soil has a drainage problem 24 hours, waterlogged soils may impact plant growth
P A G E 34 Soils have moisture characteristics Important for runoff Important for plants
P A G E 35 Fertility Soil Tests Kits Cheap meters Agricultural testing
P A G E 36 How’d we do?
P A G E 37 How’s that stack up?
P A G E 38 Lets look at our soil tests!
P A G E 39 What’s wrong with “none?”
P A G E 40 P Results Statewide1 in 7 existing lawn samples test low in phosphorus.
P A G E 41 Other stuff
P A G E 42 Lawn Notes
P A G E 43 So now what? Calculate the area Read the bag Do the math
P A G E 44 Calculate the area Remember to subtract –The driveway –The house –The sidewalk –The other gardens Remember to add –The devil strip
P A G E 45 Lets do another!
P A G E 46 Blue Berries Notes
P A G E 47 So now what? Calculate the area Read the bag Do the math
P A G E 48 Calculate the area Remember to subtract –The driveway –The house –The sidewalk –The other gardens Remember to add –The devil strip
P A G E 49 Read the bag NPK –Turf type –Complete –Calculate the percentages –WIN Organics –Cottonseed meal, Blood Meal –Sludge –Farm applications of sludge or poultry litter
P A G E 50 Specialty Fertilizers
P A G E 51 Do the math Area Total pounds N P K needed Pounds of fertilizer to use
P A G E 52 Lets do our own! Help your neighbor Check your math
P A G E 53 Apply the fertilizer Methods –Broadcast –Banding –Side-Dressing –Foliar Feeding –Spreader – Calibrate it!!
P A G E 54 pH – Lime Lime –Calcitic –dolomitic Sulfur Wood ash Pay attention to what’s growing there!
P A G E 55 pH Results Statewide 1 in 3 are over limed
P A G E 56 Micronutrients Unusual deficiency Blossom end rot Green sand Other snake oils Use compost
P A G E 57 Composting = Recycling
P A G E 58 Recycle Yard Waste Microorganisms Moisture Particle size Temperature Oxygen Carbon / Nitrogen Ratio Composting Considerations
P A G E 59 Microorganisms Bacteria Fungi Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 60 Moisture 50% is ideal Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 61 Particle Size Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 62 Particle Size Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 63 Temperature Profile Cool Hot Warm Cold 90 0 to F Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 64 Compost Pile Dimensions How Small? Minimum Size 3 X 3 X 3 How Big? Maximum Size 5 X 5 X 5 Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 65 Oxygen To speed process, turn more frequently Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 66 Carbon : Nitrogen Ratio 30:1 is ideal ratio “Browns” vs. “Greens” Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 67 High Carbon Sources Leaves Paper Straw Sawdust Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 68 Materials With High Carbon Value Fruit Wastes35:1 Leaves40-80:1 Corn Stalks60:1 Straw80:1 Bark :1 Paper170:1 Sawdust500:1 Wood700:1 Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 69 Compost or Mulch?
P A G E 70 High Nitrogen Sources Grass Clippings Kitchen Scraps Manures Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 71 Materials With High Nitrogen Value Food Wastes15:1 Grass Clippings20:1 Cow Manure20:1 Horse Manure25:1 Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 72 C:N Ratio – How to Measure? Start with equal parts by volume Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 73 Do Not Compost Diseased Plants Plants with Seeds Meat Invasive Weeds Oily Food Scraps Dog/ Cat Manure Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 74 Constructing A Compost Pile 1)Place coarse materials in bottom of pile 2)Add 4” to 6” layer of leaves 3)Add high nitrogen source ( grass clippings or manure) 4)Water the pile after each layer 5)Continue steps 2, 3 & 4 until bin is full
P A G E 75 A new compost pile will be built in the center unit of a three- pallet bin system. Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 76 The first step is to add a bed of twigs and small branches to promote air circulation. Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 77 A layer of “browns” is added. Watering between layers ensures that moisture is evenly distributed. Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 78 Next, a layer of fresh “greens” is added. Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 79 Add and water another layer of browns. Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 80 Fresh greens come from flower pruning. Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 81 The browns spent the fall and winter in the adjacent bin. Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 82 The next layer of greens is also from prunings. Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 83 A fourth layer of browns is added. The layering process will resume when more greens are available. Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 84 Finished compost can be improved by sifting through a screen to remove oversized pieces. Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 85 An inclined screen uses gravity for some of the sifting effort. Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 86 The screen is loaded with compost. Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 87 Use a square shovel to scrape the compost against screen. Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 88 The screen is removed to reveal the sifted compost. The rejects will be added to a fresh pile. Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 89 Choice in Composting Bins Home made –Snow Fencing, Pallets,Wire, Wood Slats, Concrete Blocks, Etc. Store Bought –Metal and Plastic Bins and Drums Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 90 Wire Bin Eleven-foot length of 2” x 4” x 36” welded, medium-gauge fence wire. Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 91 Wooden Pallet Bin Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 92 Wooden Pallet Three Bin Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 93 Fasten Pallets With Old Coat Hangers Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 94 Wooden Pallets & Snow Fencing Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 95 Purchased Bins Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 96 Compost Trouble Shooting Symptom Problem Solution Compost has a bad odor Too much nitrogen or not enough air Add high carbon material and turn pile Center of pile is dryNot enough waterMoisten and turn pile Pile is damp and warm only in middle Pile is too smallCollect more material and mix into a new pile Pile is damp but will still not heat up Lack of nitrogenMix in nitrogen source like grass clippings
P A G E 97 Uses of Compost Soil Amendment Potting Mix Lawn Establishment/renovation Mulch Recycle Yard Waste
P A G E 98 Benefits of Using Compost Improves water-holding capacity of soil Improves soil structure Prevents soil crusting aiding seedling emergence Provides a food source for soil organisms Increases the fertilizer-holding ability of soil Recycle Yard Waste
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Minimize Waste to Minimize Work Questions?