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Soil for Virginia Master Gardeners What you should know What you can do What you should be able to teach.

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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:

1 Soil for Virginia Master Gardeners What you should know What you can do What you should be able to teach

2 Francis J. Reilly, Jr.

3 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.

4 P A G E 4 Outline Why Soils What are Soils Soil testing and fertility Practice Compost

5 P A G E 5 Why are Soils Important? ?

6 P A G E 6 Why are Soils Important? Support Plant growth Mediate Climate Store water

7 P A G E 7 Why do we need to know about soils? ?

8 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?

9 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

10 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

11 P A G E 11 Appalachian Plateaus Valley and Ridge Blue Ridge Piedmont Plateau Coastal Plain Physiographic Regions

12 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

13 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

14 P A G E 14 What can the soil survey tell you?

15 P A G E 15 What can the soil survey tell you? Drainage Slope Topography Water features Wetlands Crop worthiness Buildability

16 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?

17 P A G E 17 Soil Type Soils Classified by: Depth of layer Color Texture Structure

18 P A G E 18 State Soil of Virginia!

19 P A G E 19 Soil Taxonomy Soil Orders

20 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

21 P A G E 21 Color Color of parent material Other Colors due to pedagenesis

22 P A G E 22 Soil Texture

23 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 2.00 - 0.05 mm Silt 0.05 - 0.002 mm Clay < 0.002 mm

24 P A G E 24 How to Texture 1 st a pinch Then a ribbon

25 P A G E 25 Soil Structure GranularBlocky PrismaticPlaty Columnar Single Grained Massive

26 P A G E 26 Soil Structure

27 P A G E 27 So what about structure? Drainage Plant penetration Oxygen penetration

28 P A G E 28 Pore Spaces The smaller the particles The smaller the pore spaces Water moves slowly Less air present

29 P A G E 29 How do we improve soils? ?

30 P A G E 30 How do we improve soils? Drainage Moisture Fertility Soil Health Problems

31 P A G E 31 Pore Spaces can decrease due to compaction

32 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”

33 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

34 P A G E 34 Soils have moisture characteristics Important for runoff Important for plants

35 P A G E 35 Fertility Soil Tests Kits Cheap meters Agricultural testing

36 P A G E 36 How’d we do?

37 P A G E 37 How’s that stack up?

38 P A G E 38 Lets look at our soil tests!

39 P A G E 39 What’s wrong with “none?”

40 P A G E 40 P Results Statewide1 in 7 existing lawn samples test low in phosphorus.

41 P A G E 41 Other stuff

42 P A G E 42 Lawn Notes

43 P A G E 43 So now what? Calculate the area Read the bag Do the math

44 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

45 P A G E 45 Lets do another!

46 P A G E 46 Blue Berries Notes

47 P A G E 47 So now what? Calculate the area Read the bag Do the math

48 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

49 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

50 P A G E 50 Specialty Fertilizers

51 P A G E 51 Do the math Area Total pounds N P K needed Pounds of fertilizer to use

52 P A G E 52 Lets do our own! Help your neighbor Check your math

53 P A G E 53 Apply the fertilizer Methods –Broadcast –Banding –Side-Dressing –Foliar Feeding –Spreader – Calibrate it!!

54 P A G E 54 pH – Lime Lime –Calcitic –dolomitic Sulfur Wood ash Pay attention to what’s growing there!

55 P A G E 55 pH Results Statewide 1 in 3 are over limed

56 P A G E 56 Micronutrients Unusual deficiency Blossom end rot Green sand Other snake oils Use compost

57 P A G E 57 Composting = Recycling

58 P A G E 58 Recycle Yard Waste Microorganisms Moisture Particle size Temperature Oxygen Carbon / Nitrogen Ratio Composting Considerations

59 P A G E 59 Microorganisms Bacteria Fungi Recycle Yard Waste

60 P A G E 60 Moisture 50% is ideal Recycle Yard Waste

61 P A G E 61 Particle Size Recycle Yard Waste

62 P A G E 62 Particle Size Recycle Yard Waste

63 P A G E 63 Temperature Profile Cool Hot Warm Cold 90 0 to 140 0 F Recycle Yard Waste

64 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

65 P A G E 65 Oxygen To speed process, turn more frequently Recycle Yard Waste

66 P A G E 66 Carbon : Nitrogen Ratio 30:1 is ideal ratio “Browns” vs. “Greens” Recycle Yard Waste

67 P A G E 67 High Carbon Sources Leaves Paper Straw Sawdust Recycle Yard Waste

68 P A G E 68 Materials With High Carbon Value Fruit Wastes35:1 Leaves40-80:1 Corn Stalks60:1 Straw80:1 Bark100-130:1 Paper170:1 Sawdust500:1 Wood700:1 Recycle Yard Waste

69 P A G E 69 Compost or Mulch?

70 P A G E 70 High Nitrogen Sources Grass Clippings Kitchen Scraps Manures Recycle Yard Waste

71 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

72 P A G E 72 C:N Ratio – How to Measure? Start with equal parts by volume Recycle Yard Waste

73 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

74 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

75 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

76 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

77 P A G E 77 A layer of “browns” is added. Watering between layers ensures that moisture is evenly distributed. Recycle Yard Waste

78 P A G E 78 Next, a layer of fresh “greens” is added. Recycle Yard Waste

79 P A G E 79 Add and water another layer of browns. Recycle Yard Waste

80 P A G E 80 Fresh greens come from flower pruning. Recycle Yard Waste

81 P A G E 81 The browns spent the fall and winter in the adjacent bin. Recycle Yard Waste

82 P A G E 82 The next layer of greens is also from prunings. Recycle Yard Waste

83 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

84 P A G E 84 Finished compost can be improved by sifting through a screen to remove oversized pieces. Recycle Yard Waste

85 P A G E 85 An inclined screen uses gravity for some of the sifting effort. Recycle Yard Waste

86 P A G E 86 The screen is loaded with compost. Recycle Yard Waste

87 P A G E 87 Use a square shovel to scrape the compost against screen. Recycle Yard Waste

88 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

89 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

90 P A G E 90 Wire Bin Eleven-foot length of 2” x 4” x 36” welded, medium-gauge fence wire. Recycle Yard Waste

91 P A G E 91 Wooden Pallet Bin Recycle Yard Waste

92 P A G E 92 Wooden Pallet Three Bin Recycle Yard Waste

93 P A G E 93 Fasten Pallets With Old Coat Hangers Recycle Yard Waste

94 P A G E 94 Wooden Pallets & Snow Fencing Recycle Yard Waste

95 P A G E 95 Purchased Bins Recycle Yard Waste

96 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

97 P A G E 97 Uses of Compost Soil Amendment Potting Mix Lawn Establishment/renovation Mulch Recycle Yard Waste

98 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


100 Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Minimize Waste to Minimize Work Questions?

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