$100 budget to increase OM in clay soil where do you put it?

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Thick n Dense
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$100 budget to increase OM in clay soil where do you put it?

Post by Thick n Dense » Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:47 pm

RGS or air8.... do these really increase OM ? Or just through root cycling affect?

Compost - no doubt but takes long time to penetrate deep

Organics(cracked corn, soybean meal, alfalfa) same deal as compost but easier to spread. 11 bags or 550 lbs of cracked corn seems like a lot

Mechanical aeration - opens ground but clay still sits on surface and on goes 3” deep, hard to get 4” and deeper OM

Cover crop- same deal as root cycling affect but some plants root deeper + plus extra foliage to be OMin non-growing months. Downside is needing to eliminate in spring and may hurt lawn (i’m ok with this)


Which gives the best bang for the buck?

Also, leaving off soil penetrates like penterra Sls and tourny ready. These should be a staple in everyones routine.
Last edited by Thick n Dense on Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: $100 budget to increase OM in clay soil where do you put it?

Post by j4c11 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:41 pm

Get yourself and your family a nice steak dinner with the $100. You're not going to make a dent in your OM by applying stuff on the surface. The best way to (slowly) increase OM is to grow a healthy lawn.

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Re: $100 budget to increase OM in clay soil where do you put it?

Post by seiyafan » Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:07 pm

Do you have trees nearby? Mulch the leaves can help but it's a long term thing.

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Re: $100 budget to increase OM in clay soil where do you put it?

Post by TN Hawkeye » Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:48 pm

j4c11 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:41 pm
Get yourself and your family a nice steak dinner with the $100. You're not going to make a dent in your OM by applying stuff on the surface. The best way to (slowly) increase OM is to grow a healthy lawn.
+100 watch this video by @thegrassfactor
I may not have the best lawn and I may not have a clue what I’m doing but that’s pretty much all I have to say.

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Re: $100 budget to increase OM in clay soil where do you put it?

Post by adgattoni » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:27 pm

My dollars would be going towards fertilizer. To get OM% in the soil you want to get roots diving down in there.

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Re: $100 budget to increase OM in clay soil where do you put it?

Post by Thick n Dense » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:23 pm

So right, fertilizer, watering, micros and horticultural practices are all good, I do these.. money is already spent there.

I know of the root cycling affect and it makes sense but i rewatched the video and one thing he suddely points out is the seperation between biosolids and other forms of “organics” like compost, topsoil and peat.

This makes me wonder, does biosolids (chicken poop and milo) sit higher on the impact scale than other organics like compost, lawn restore, sawdust and crackedcorm/alfalfa?

Ive been leaning toward feed type products beacue they are more bang for my buck in terms of poundage but what makes bidosolids so different? Is there more carbon?

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Re: $100 budget to increase OM in clay soil where do you put it?

Post by seiyafan » Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:30 pm

poop increases microbial activity more than the others, it's similar to a septic tank.

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Re: $100 budget to increase OM in clay soil where do you put it?

Post by j4c11 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:52 pm

There's been research in the ag sector regarding shoot restitution and long term studies found no lasting effect on soil OM. And those that did find a significant contribution, also found that roots contribute on average 2.4 times more. We're talking about massive amounts of straw over 30 years not making a dent. You stand no chance of increasing OM by throwing pounds of corn or biosolids on the surface.
Historically, the question of sustaining soil carbon levels has been addressed in terms of the amount and quality of above-ground crop residues that needs to be returned to the soil annually (e.g., Larson et al., 1972; Rasmussen et al., 1980). This control of soil C stocks through crop residue management has lead to a greater emphasis on the transformation of above- ground plant fresh tissues and composts in soils than on that of plant roots. Nevertheless, early studies suggested that the relative contribution of plant roots to soil organic C stocks is larger than that of plant shoots (Broadbent and Nakashima, 1974). Long-term residue management studies suggest that above ground material has a limited impact on SOM levels as compared to that of root systems. Campbell et al. (1991) reported that 30 years of wheat (Triticum aestivum) straw restitution to soils did not modify the carbon content of these soils. Clapp et al. (2000) observed that 13 years of maize (Zea mays L.) shoot restitution in a nofertilized conventionally tilled system decreased maize contribution to soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks from 9.1 Mg ha−1 for roots alone to 8.7 Mg ha−1 for roots plus shoots. Results from a 30-year maize experiment indicate that restitution of maize stalks vs. removal for silage had no impact on SOC contents (Reicosky et al., 2002). Although some studies have observed a significant contribution of crop shoot residues to SOC content (Barber, 1979; Hooker et al., 1982), this contribution was comparatively smaller than that of roots (Barber, 1979). Little impact of shoot residues on SOC was also observed in longterm residue burning studies (Moss and Cotterill, 1985; Nuttal et al., 1986 in Prasad and Power, 1991; Pikul and Allmaras, 1986; Rasmussen et al., 1980). A simulation study has suggested that maize root sys- tems contributed 1.8 times more C to soils than the corresponding above-ground biomass (Molina et al., 2001).
The in situ root growth experiments indicate that the relative root contribution to SOC has an average value 2.4 times that of shoot, with a minimum of 1.5 and a maximum of 3.7 (Table 1).
https://link.springer.com/article/10.10 ... 004-0907-y

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Re: $100 budget to increase OM in clay soil where do you put it?

Post by adgattoni » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:23 am

Another option if your fertilizer needs are covered by other dollars in the budget: soil testing.

Most people take samples across their entire lawn and treat the soil homogenously. If you have $100 to use towards soil improvement, you could take samples from more specific sections of your lawn versus just an overall sampling. Getting a more detailed breakdown by section would let you hone in on the specific needs of each section, therefore increasing turf health -> root cycling -> OM% over time.

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Re: $100 budget to increase OM in clay soil where do you put it?

Post by LEE » Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:15 pm

If you have bare ground now, I think the biggest factor is just covering the dirt with something. This will allow bacteria, fungi, worms, etc. to start turning your dirt into soil. You could use compost, wood chips, weed free straw/hay, cover crops...When you do put down sod or seed, just rake up any organic matter that hasn't broken down to create a clean slate. If it is covered, and stays moist, your soil will improve. If you do this before winter so it can sit until next spring, it should go a long ways.

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Re: $100 budget to increase OM in clay soil where do you put it?

Post by KoopHawk » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:29 pm

LEE wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:15 pm
If you have bare ground now, I think the biggest factor is just covering the dirt with something. This will allow bacteria, fungi, worms, etc. to start turning your dirt into soil. You could use compost, wood chips, weed free straw/hay, cover crops...When you do put down sod or seed, just rake up any organic matter that hasn't broken down to create a clean slate. If it is covered, and stays moist, your soil will improve. If you do this before winter so it can sit until next spring, it should go a long ways.
Go to the local bait shop and pick up $100 worth of nightcrawlers?

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Re: $100 budget to increase OM in clay soil where do you put it?

Post by Thick n Dense » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:31 pm

KoopHawk wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:29 pm
LEE wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:15 pm
If you have bare ground now, I think the biggest factor is just covering the dirt with something. This will allow bacteria, fungi, worms, etc. to start turning your dirt into soil. You could use compost, wood chips, weed free straw/hay, cover crops...When you do put down sod or seed, just rake up any organic matter that hasn't broken down to create a clean slate. If it is covered, and stays moist, your soil will improve. If you do this before winter so it can sit until next spring, it should go a long ways.
Go to the local bait shop and pick up $100 worth of nightcrawlers?
Lol... thats a lot of worms... any truth to this in the sense of introducing more beneficial species to the soil?

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Re: $100 budget to increase OM in clay soil where do you put it?

Post by LEE » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:43 am

If the soil is crap worms will just go somewhere else. Worms love organic matter, so if you cover the dirt with some type of organic matter that insulates and keeps the soil moist, the worms will come on their own. Just dumping worms on clay will do nothing.

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Re: $100 budget to increase OM in clay soil where do you put it?

Post by Thick n Dense » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:48 pm

LEE wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:43 am
If the soil is crap worms will just go somewhere else. Worms love organic matter, so if you cover the dirt with some type of organic matter that insulates and keeps the soil moist, the worms will come on their own. Just dumping worms on clay will do nothing.
Good point. What about grass clippings?
Id still rather spread shredded paper than compost... which i think would work cuz its used in worm composters.

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Re: $100 budget to increase OM in clay soil where do you put it?

Post by jasonbraswell » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:24 am

Planting annual rye grass that dies each year probably adds some OM to the soil. Rye has roots that are like 6" long in the end and penetrate deep into soil.
Thick n Dense wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:48 pm
LEE wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:43 am
If the soil is crap worms will just go somewhere else. Worms love organic matter, so if you cover the dirt with some type of organic matter that insulates and keeps the soil moist, the worms will come on their own. Just dumping worms on clay will do nothing.
Good point. What about grass clippings?
Id still rather spread shredded paper than compost... which i think would work cuz its used in worm composters.

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Re: $100 budget to increase OM in clay soil where do you put it?

Post by Thick n Dense » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:12 am

jasonbraswell wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:24 am
Planting annual rye grass that dies each year probably adds some OM to the soil. Rye has roots that are like 6" long in the end and penetrate deep into soil.
Thick n Dense wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:48 pm
LEE wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:43 am
If the soil is crap worms will just go somewhere else. Worms love organic matter, so if you cover the dirt with some type of organic matter that insulates and keeps the soil moist, the worms will come on their own. Just dumping worms on clay will do nothing.
Good point. What about grass clippings?
Id still rather spread shredded paper than compost... which i think would work cuz its used in worm composters.
Yea, ive been seriously considering this option.
Problem is paralysis by analysis.
Annual rye isnt very well documented. Most suppliers dont put the species type on the label.
Barrenbrug has some good offerings but is pricey.
“Attain” is another variety I found.

I think that I would reach for an italian ryegrass type that lasts longer, called a biennial, takes longer to seed
This would ensure roots have more time to reach the depth that I want.

One could argue that I should just switch to tall fescue and get those roots going deep. (Annual rye aint cheap). But this would take a reno type effort, which I missed and dont have time for.

Need to figure out if annual rye reallybreaks through those slit layers the way tttf wont...

I think the play is renting an aerator, do like 5 passes and overseed with italian rye. Let the kbg recover next spring.

One coolthing about ryegrass is that it germinates down to 40*

If you search “no till farming”, you can find countless resources claiming this is the best way to handle winters... our crop is just turf instead of soy and corn.
Last edited by Thick n Dense on Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:19 am, edited 5 times in total.

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