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-   -   Soils test results = wtf? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f92/soils-test-results-wtf-67397/)

GilaMinumBeer 05-29-2008 04:17 AM

Soils test results = wtf?
My hops are showing signs of Phosphate (P) and Potassium (K) deficiencies. I don't have photo's of the actual leaves but they have the same look as these;


More specifically the Potassium (K) example.

On a whim, I picked up a soils test kit at the local Home and Garden. It's a Mosser Lee "Soil Master" test kit (RM# 31190) http://www.mosserlee.com/howto/soiltesting/index.html

Test result level equivalencies are given here;


Per my test, using distilled water, I have resulted the following;

pH = 7.0, N = Low, P = Medium, K = High


My plants show clear sign of K deficiencies but the test results determine I have the equivalent of 160lbs/Acre of K in my soil. Could this be a K poisoning effect?

I have read that the effects of too much macronutrient can mimic that of too little in horticulture. Is that happening here?

And what of the levels of the other macronutrients? Should I be adding a high nitrogen fertilizer at this point? A fertilizer blend of say 20-10-5, or something?

My garden is approx. 150ftsq or 162.6ftcu.

Someone please help me?

david_42 05-29-2008 02:29 PM

I put more faith in test results. I would also run them on several soil samples. But if your results are consistent, a 20-10-0 would be the ticket.

GilaMinumBeer 05-29-2008 05:20 PM

How accurate are these home titration kits?

CEMaine 05-29-2008 05:49 PM


Originally Posted by GilaMinumBeer (Post 694235)
How accurate are these home titration kits?

Much less so than any lab will be.

I landscaped professionally for 15 years and I always struggled to understand soil test results. I think your on the right track with having too much.

Have you consulted with your local Co-Operative Extension Service or a good local nursery?

zoebisch01 05-29-2008 08:53 PM

I agree with what has been said. I'll add though, did they test CEC? From your posts I know you add compost regularly, so I doubt that is the problem. There are also some other things I have read about that can limit nutrient uptake, but I am guessing this is possibly not the case. However, I will reaffirm what David mentioned because soil a few feet away can have a completely different makeup. Do you possibly have any type of salt toxicity in your soil? Salt toxicity looks a lot like K deficiency in the plant.

GilaMinumBeer 05-30-2008 03:42 AM


I have consulted the county extension and I do plan to drop off the requisite sample for an actual lab analysis. Trouble is, it takes 2 weeks for them to return the results.


CEC? I do not know what this is. And there is no "they" who tested. The testing was done via a Home Test kit. The kit utilizes tablets droped into prepared samples of water after having been mixed with the soil. I collected a tablespoon of soil from 13 different locations within the raised bed hop yard itself, mixed them together, and tested the mixture as a whole. If you recall from photos (maybe you have not seen them) my hop yard is in a raised bed construction with a 13 Inch depth. The soil in the raised bed was import soil. A commercially prepared "Rich Mix" consisting of equal parts composted manure, compost, loam, and sand.

I have yet to add any compost to the soil (but I do regularly build on my compost bin) and do not intend to use the compost I am building until next spring to give it ample time to develope. It's a large bin and the process is slow but hot. Slow becuase I regularly feed the bin with fresh material from the yard.


Well, to continue the attempt at troubleshooting I spoke with a few horticulturists that are familiar with hops and I am told that I have already done everything that they might suggest. Only, I was not able to show them any pictures. I have pictures now. Taken today at about 6:00PM. The soil at the time was measured for temp with a 3 Inch digital probe thermometer and the result was 78*F. Air temp was 84*F. The garden had been watered 2 hours prior to the temp measurement being taken.






GilaMinumBeer 05-30-2008 03:43 AM

from previous.....





continued again (stupid 4 image rule)......

GilaMinumBeer 05-30-2008 03:46 AM


My apologies for some of the photos not being clear. It was windy today and I was using a macro lens. Thus, it was hard to keep a good focus on a non-stationary object.

I have very closely inspected each plant for insects. At most I had found a couple spiders of unknown species. I even used a mag glass and a jewelers lens to look for possible mites. I have yet to find any Aphids, Mites, Beetles, Grasshoppers, or any other insects eating at my plants. Although, there is some evidence of insect feeding, the majority of the damage to the leaves are from wind thrashing the lines about.

The images were taken from multiple plants. However, not all of the plants are showing these same symptoms. The most effected are in fact the most mature. However, 2 very puny plants are depicted as well. The rest appear to be healthy and vigorous as can be expected from 1st year plantings.

Whatd'ya think? Potassium problem or something else?

zoebisch01 05-30-2008 11:44 AM

The only reason I suggest Salt toxicity (which is quite rare, but does happen by accident sometimes....salt runoff from a sidewalk, etc) is because unless you have way too much fertilizer, or a low CEC (then your soil cannot hold the nutrients nor exchange them with the plant, but as I mention as long as you incorporate organic matter this is rarely a problem) then you shouldn't be having that problem.

I am having a hard time from the photos seeing serious chlorosis as much as seeing margin burn.

Is the product you are using certified? Do they use Spent Mushroom Substrate? I am just throwing out suggestions. From the description of your procedure I am having a hard time thinking it is deficiency of any kind.

zoebisch01 05-30-2008 11:50 AM

I did find this, which may have more info:


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