Analytical Methods February 2022
We look at water analyses, then soil analyses – available nutrition and exchangeable, but what does it all really mean? If the available is low, just add more? I can assure you that may be hurting the vegetation versus helping it. If you have the elements in the soil as exchangeable, but deficient in available, that means what’s in the soil is locked up! Too much locked up is consuming pore space and infiltration, including the flushing potential. And what if we scientifically showed you the amount of exchangeable were significantly greater than what you’re seeing on the report, so much more your soil may be re-classified as drywall or an iron source in itself?
Soils are the host to vegetations productivity potential through the addition and maintenance of available hydration and nutrition as a minimum. Growers are spending more and producing less - spending more trying to provide hydration, make available nutrition, detoxify chloride, sodium and bio toxins, getting water down, force feeding calcium and lowering pH, and with meager impact on the results. We’ll explain what’s going on and what you can do to reverse the deteriorating conditions into sustainable and profitable gain.
ABOUT YOUR ANALYTICAL DATA
Water Quality: We add calcium and maintain magnesium ratios, add P and K, yet we call hard water problematic. High TDS and high EC are the sum of elements in the water and when they are collectively beneficial minerals and metals, not sodium, if they remain available throughout the soils and plant uptake, the become nutrition.
The actuality is, these elements, the minerals and metals, evaporate to dryness before being consumed, and become complexed, unavailable. An easy demonstration; evaporate your water to dryness in a glass beaker and try to re-hydrate the minerals. You can add acid, but then when you evaporate that to dryness, the acid will no longer dissolve the scale.
If you have been on a site for three or more years and used sulfurous acid, you’ve seen the soils become more challenging to get water down. This is the negative effects of sulfurous acid and gypsum – more relevantly put – drywall. And drywall competes for moisture, it is a desiccant. University Data: Item No. 3
But that’s not all, this situation also causes many more issues.
And perhaps you think better water will fix the problem, or more water will fix the problem.
The realities are;
Better water will flush salts “if the soils are not already compromised”. However, if the soils are already compromised, flushing Na may occur, but flushing the mineral and metal complexes does not. Also, eventually even the good water can and likely will accumulate insoluble matter in the soil pores eventually hindering the waters infiltration rate and flushing of even sodium, one of the most soluble elements, does not occur.
What’s missing about water analyses is the impact that bacteria can have. With bacteria in water, transferred into the soil, we have the potential, with elements in the water and soil, to create biologically induced problems; specifically iron bacteria and its associated slime that is impervious to acid, and sulfate reducing bacteria whose primary mode of action is gassing our vegetation to death with hydrogen sulfide gas (rotten egg odor, also observed as black layer, fungi and sometimes organic matter).
Whether the elements are in the water or in the soil, they have characteristics;
Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphate, Iron
Unavailable essential nutrients
Bacteria + Sulfur, Sulfate, Iron and/or Manganese
Slime and deathly gas
Chloride and Sodium
Vegetation Uptake: If you look at the solubility of each element, the ease to which they are hydrated / hydratable / re-hydratable, whether in water or soil, you’ll find them in this order. The first five you might relate to what you observe after a rain – the push of growth, followed a few days later by the stress.
Zinc . . . .
The least being Calcium aluminum the iron.
Available Nutrition: Here we found concerns with the existing test methods, namely the amount of water being used, and the quality of the water being used, much less the