Keith Kridler, Texas

worn out soil

February 23, 2009
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Categories: Bulb Information, Fertilizing, Growing Daffodils, Soil

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I know that few people really care about the soil they plant their daffodil bulbs in since they will bloom in almost anything.
We bought our land in 1985 never expecting to grow any type of a crop. It had been a cotton farm from the 1880’s till about 1943 when soil fertility and erosion got to the point they abandoned farming and sold it for a housing development. We were able to put 20 acres together by 1995.
Over the years we worked on most of the soil to slowly increase the fertility and put back most of the nutrients depleted by the cotton/truck farming. About four years ago I built a bridge across the creek to get my equipment across so we could begin working the soil on those five acres or so.
Notice in the photos taken yesterday that the blue Pepsi can only has daffodil foliage up half way on the can and a couple of feet away the red Coke can has foliage from the same variety that is twice as tall as the can. A little over one month ago I walked across these 48″ wide beds and added ONE handful of 33% nitrogen across these strips every 15 feet or so. Hard to see in the photos but there is a HUGE difference in the color of the foliage and the width of the individual blades and the height of the foliage. The entire rows took on the shape of a roller coaster as I repeated the nitrogen application every 15 feet or so from one end to the other.
The foliage of the bulb tips were up uniformly about 1&1/2″ when we hit the beds with the fertilizer. In the areas where the nitrogen did NOT leach under the root zones they have only grown another 1&1/2″. No to little leaf growth means they are not converting the available sunlight to carbohydrates.
Soil test on this area of our land puts the PH at 4.5 or EXTREMELY ACID. Nitrate levels are down to 1 Part Per Million (PPM) tests say I need at LEAST 95 pounds of nitrogen per acre added for next year. I ONLY put out 2 pounds of actual nitrogen across this whole acre!!
Phosphorus is 8 PPM when I should have a minimum 50 PPM or I need to add 105 pounds of Phosphorus per acre for next growing season.
Potassium level is 33 PPM when it should be at 125 PPM so again I should add 70 pounds of Potassium per acre to get the soils levels up to the minimum requirements to grow healthy plants.
Boron levels are at 1/3 of what I need in the soil.
I added NO other soil amendments for this test.
To get the PH level to 6.2 over the next couple of years I need to add 1&1/2 tons of lime per acre probably for two years or more. It takes limestone a minimum of 6 months to move down into the soil a couple of inches. Daffodil root tips are down 16″ or so. I took soil samples from about 2″ deep to about 16″.
This area of our property won’t even grow good weeds. Daffodils have really struggled planted here on this soil. Pitiful bulb sizes and multiplication of bulbs compared to the soil just across the creek.
It was amazing to watch this area as again I just threw out tiny handfuls of nitrogen across these strips. It takes about three weeks for daffodils to respond as the nitrogen has to get down to the root tips. Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas Post Oak Savannah area of Texas.
Soils on our acreage range from solid red clay to beach sand to heavy silty loam. All depending on erosion and in the 1930’s the government terraced/contoured all of this acreage to save it from washing into the creeks.

2 responses to “worn out soil”

  1. Linda Wallpe says:

    Okay Keith !
    I get it ! LOL !
    Coke won the Pepsi challenge !
    Linda W. PS> Thanks for the great information and accompanying photos!

  2. George Dorner says:

    And I bet if you come to the Convention, Keith will be glad to say more about this interesting set of slides and data.