Managing PH in no till

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by fourth, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. fourth

    fourth Junior Member

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    I'm setting up a hazelnut orchard on my farm, about 5000 trees in total. Once the trees are in there will be no tillage, so learning about 'no till' is probably a good idea. I had a soil chemical analysis performed and the result indicated that there was low available phosphorus and a PH of 4.8 was too low, and needed to be raised to 6.5.

    What I'm not sure about however is how no till deals with such things? Sure, I can just amend now and deal with it later. Of course, I don't even have a tractor, so tillage now would have to be contracted out anyway (and as I'm a microbiology orinted person I would prefer not to till at all if possible. My soil and sward is healthy and alive.

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Organic Matter.
     
  3. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I'm wondering why the soil has such a low PH. and if it is true that your Hazelnut trees wont do well in it.
    As it is farmland, does it need to be deep ripped to improve drainage/deal with hardpan, if farm vehicles have, over the years,compacted it?
    I'd be very careful about raising it too quickly.
     
  4. linasteve

    linasteve Junior Member

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    As different plants take the different amount nutrients from the soil. So soil starts loosing the fertility. But if you use chemical based fertilizers then it can harm the plants as well. So organic materials such as bioactive coco peat which contains balanced nutrients and pH level can be used to improve the quality of soil.
     
  5. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    considering what it can actually take to change pH at a depth that such plants will be growing, seems like a longer term project for no-till.

    each soil will have a differing buffering capacity, which varies how much of what materials you may want to apply. also, looking into what is available, asking neighbors what they do, perhaps bundling delivery and applications with a neighbor will cut down on some expense...

    with such a large area, seems like a potential large expense. over the long haul, gradually adding crushed limestone, seashells, dolomite, etc. and then letting the worms and gravity do the work as the rains fall.

    organic materials will break down into humus, i.e. humic acid is a weak acid, nothing wrong with it, but if you are trying to raise pH over such an area then you'll want to add a bit of lime, dolomite, crushed seashells, or some other higher pH material to balance. also if you are irrigating, check your water source pH. the soil can offset some changes, but once the buffering is depleted then it can shift more quickly.

    the texture/grain size of the applied material will also affect how it goes. you want an immediate effect then you want smaller/powdered forms, but for a longer term effect then you'll also want larger granule sized pieces.

    a more gradual approach gives the soil community time to adjust. doing it all at once will likely be less expensive.

    it would be nice if there was a way to give the material as feed to a grazing animal and then let them distribute it for you as they graze and poop, but i suspect that such a thing would be hard on the grazing animal's digestive sysem, but i do know that chickens need grit for their gizzards and some of that comes out the other end. so in time they can act as distributors... i have no direct experience, so that's just an idea to think about.
     
  6. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Hi Fourth, I stand by this response however, I was out in the garden just now and I couldn't let it go so I came in to get some things off my mind. I trust they will help (if not you then me ;) )...

    A more accurate response would be 'It depends'. But even when you sort out the depends bit, in the end any good solution will come down to 'Organic Matter'.

    So I'll start the ball rolling with a few questions to see if we can nut out a real solution for you.

    One question that is important to establish first is... Do you want a real permaculture design solution or are you just happy with any old solution that lets you raise your pH and unlock your phosphorous? Do you want 'conventional' monoculture techniques? Are you happy with just basic organic techniques? What is your philosophy on soil health? On mining? Are you happy with slow and local solutions or do you want a quick fix (and thus less sustainable solution)? Is there a particular reason you have chosen hazelnuts for your area? Do they traditionally grow well there?

    These are just a few that popped into my head, there are more and probably some more important 'higher level' questions to ask too. Have you expressed in words what 'success would look like'?

    If you are interested in real and sustainable permaculture solutions I'm willing to give you my two cents worth and I suspect others would too. Even if you have some questions about the science and biology of soils, I'll go there. But most of the solutions I see as being real are not spread it and go sort of solutions.

    In the end the solution is going to be Organic Matter in my opinion, the detail will be in how you get that organic matter into the soil, over what period of time and for what end purpose.

    I'll leave you with one thought, It is far more effective to feed the soil than it is to feed the plants. If the soil is healthy and robust then your plants will be also.

    Good luck with what ever you choose, I trust you will find success (how ever that may manifest itself).

    It's back to feeding and tending my soil for me.
     
  7. linasteve

    linasteve Junior Member

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    Simple ways to improve the soil quality

    I read a few simple tips to improve the soil quality by using the organic materials and organic waste. By using compost made of the lawn clippings, vegetables to grow the plants can increase the nutrients in soil. We can also use mulch to loosen and lighten the soil. Cocopeat is another good option for soil conditioning. Get detailed information about it at https://www.scribd.com/doc/225777647/5-Simple-Ways-to-Improve-the-Quality-of-Garden-Soil
     

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