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  1. #11
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    835
    Location
    Northern Alabama
    Tractor
    2012 Kioti DK45SE, 1994 JD LX176

    Default Re: Subsoiler Advice

    Your county extension agent can probably give you more specific local advice. Good luck with your project.

  2. #12
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    251
    Location
    Sonoma County, CA
    Tractor
    New Holland TC45DA, New Holland TC18

    Default Re: Subsoiler Advice

    KT, with field crops, I suppose the top foot is where the action is. With wine grapes, orchards, etc., we have to figure out what it's like 3', 4' and even 5' down.

    In many parts of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, subsoil ph can be in the low 5's and high 4's. It can take alot of lime to get the ph up into the 6 range that far down. To complicate matters even more, in my area, there is very little calcium (and most other essential nutrients) in the soil. Hence, the 10 tons of gypsum per acre. For P and K, which also doesn't leach down very well, we have to power auger a 3" or 4" hole 2' or 3' deep near each vine or tree, and fill it with fertilizer. After 7 or 8 years, we have to do it all over again.

    Actually, for wine grapes, a site like mine is preferred over a site that is deep and fertile. The belief is that wine quality suffers when the vines are very vigorous. You can add nutrients and water to a site that is dry and infertile. You can not do much to take nutrients and water out of site that has plenty to begin with.

    The good news is that my tractor dealer says he has a V-point (i.e., three shank) ripper he can rent to me. He thinks my tractor can pull it (he sold me the tractor and knows the soil in my area), but if I experience trouble, he says I can remove the center shank and/or rip the same line gradually with multiple passes.

    Now all I need is to figure out how to get lime (and maybe gypsum) delivered at a reasonable price without buying a full "truck and transfer" load (which is something like 40 tons, if I recall correctly). I also need to figure out how I'm going to spread the amendments I end up getting.

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