Aged pine bark fines vs hardwood bark


Joined
Oct 8, 2017
Messages
3,650
Reaction score
3,381
Location
Birmingham Alabama
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
United States
Just because the cost is so low here, I am attracted to the idea of using Evergreen pinebark compost and manure across my lawn vs something like Black Kow, which I have used. The Black Kow definitely has bark and sand in it, regardless of what is stated on the bag. It also packs a powerful punch!

I spoke with the local Evergreen plant about their "compost and manure" product. I was told it is pine fines and 5% manure. I am thinking it will be ok for lawn grass, but do not relish lowering the pH if that is a pine possibility. I doubt a truly composted product is what is being sold, but I am sure it is at least aged a great deal. I thought to get a few bags and just see. I understand great deal of potting soil is made with pine bark fines. Surely it would be ok for grass? And with the large pine pulp industry here, the bagged composted manure cost is about $2 usd per cubic foot. The smallest bulk load the plant can send is 80 yards, which is more than I need. I need 60 total, and have put out 5 so far. I am still working out raising the pH of the clay and do not really want to have to do a great deal of liming. I need 2 yards of lime by the time I am done and have put out 1 yard already. Would aged pinebark compost and manure be similiar in effect to Black Kow? I worry that with a large poultry industry that the manure might be chicken, and lead to acidity as well, as opposed to the cow manure product. I would think I could smell chicken to some small degree.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
7,268
Reaction score
3,551
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
I think you are making too much out of the Ph thing. One doesn't apply enough compost to a lawn to make any long term difference anyway. I learned a long time ago that it is impossible to permanently change or even long term change the natural Ph of your soil to any meaningful degree. I tried to make mine more acidic and still am trying but I haven't dropped the Ph enough to matter one way or the other. For what you are trying to do in the long term I would say the pine would be a detriment and the Kow less of a detriment although both will very slightly alter short term the Ph of the soil into the more acidic range.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2017
Messages
3,650
Reaction score
3,381
Location
Birmingham Alabama
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
United States
The pH got down too far. Moss and bare spots formed. Grass waned. You are correct, in that the soil will eat the top layers of organic material. This has been the case ever since we arrived here. I have added for bare spots. To gain a significant amount of organic material via root mass, I am intentionally installing a thick layer of seeded composted manure which hopefully will last even longer since I have a small source of homemade compost which I add every year. No matter what I have put on the soil, it has been eaten. Only growing grass seems to keep up with the lawns appetite, and once I let the pH get near 5 the grass thinned and that dynamic changed to the point it did not recover. So now I am going the other way. I am pleased with what has been done so far, and am working toward a larger effort so it can be done before the deep heat arrives.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
7,268
Reaction score
3,551
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
The pH got down too far. Moss and bare spots formed. Grass waned. You are correct, in that the soil will eat the top layers of organic material. This has been the case ever since we arrived here. I have added for bare spots. To gain a significant amount of organic material via root mass, I am intentionally installing a thick layer of seeded composted manure which hopefully will last even longer since I have a small source of homemade compost which I add every year. No matter what I have put on the soil, it has been eaten. Only growing grass seems to keep up with the lawns appetite, and once I let the pH get near 5 the grass thinned and that dynamic changed to the point it did not recover. So now I am going the other way. I am pleased with what has been done so far, and am working toward a larger effort so it can be done before the deep heat arrives.
What is the average Ph number of all your property and for the bare spots. Either I don't understand whats going on or something else is happening. How deep is your soil?
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2017
Messages
3,650
Reaction score
3,381
Location
Birmingham Alabama
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
United States
I see 5.5 a lot. Some near or at 5, but the majority 5.5 and where organic materials are naturally located and are abundant it climbs toward 6. There really is not much of a topsoil horizon. I will take a picture for you this morning.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
7,268
Reaction score
3,551
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
I see 5.5 a lot. Some near or at 5, but the majority 5.5 and where organic materials are naturally located and are abundant it climbs toward 6. There really is not much of a topsoil horizon. I will take a picture for you this morning.
I will bet you that where the Ph is lowest, that area is on top of shallow rock or some other formation.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2017
Messages
3,650
Reaction score
3,381
Location
Birmingham Alabama
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
United States
Yes there is at least one place that fits that description. Another type is out front where the road was cut and the earth was probably piled along the side of the road becoming part of the front yard.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
7,268
Reaction score
3,551
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
Yes there is at least one place that fits that description. Another type is out front where the road was cut and the earth was probably piled along the side of the road becoming part of the front yard.
Have you dug a fairly deep post hole? What is the substrate. The reason I ask is that in this area limestone rock is prevalent and the closer to the surface it is the more alkaline the soil becomes.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2017
Messages
3,650
Reaction score
3,381
Location
Birmingham Alabama
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
United States
Have you dug a fairly deep post hole? What is the substrate. The reason I ask is that in this area limestone rock is prevalent and the closer to the surface it is the more alkaline the soil becomes.
Its clay in a monolithic horizon. I have been down over my head in the middle of the yard digging terra cotta sewer line out. Up near the house, the forest litter and a quartzy rock have an impact. There are some rubble fields near the driveway and the front street. The rain action is typical, in that the clay rises in the water and settles back over the top of everything as it sloooowy percolates away. And it is shady. Lots and lots of shade area.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
7,268
Reaction score
3,551
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
Its clay in a monolithic horizon. I have been down over my head in the middle of the yard digging terra cotta sewer line out. Up near the house, the forest litter and a quartzy rock have an impact. There are some rubble fields near the driveway and the front street. The rain action is typical, in that the clay rises in the water and settles back over the top of everything as it sloooowy percolates away. And it is shady. Lots and lots of shade area.
Hmmm. Then I would say that the clay is the reason for spots of lower numbers. Not much you can do about it though. Have you had the clay analyzed? I bet it is lower than 5. Where does the quartz come from?
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2017
Messages
3,650
Reaction score
3,381
Location
Birmingham Alabama
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
United States
I will have to look into the rock. When I say quartzy, it is sort of whiteish, fractured, roughly rounded. Quartz is associated with the limestone here, and these rocks may be of a limestone heritage also, but they seem different because of their fractured and more crystalline nature. Any way, I promised some picks of the upper layers of lawn area clay:

50457
50458
50459
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
7,268
Reaction score
3,551
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
Wow! That is what I call clay, but what I don't understand is that clay soils are almost always a little alkaline. There has to be a reason why and before you can change something you must know what it is. It looks to me that raising the Ph of something that heavy will be about impossible. Changing the arability is more feasible I would think but even that would be never ending project. I am sure that you have had the soil tested but there are tests and there are tests. The people in the following link are the best. Check out what they do. They aren't the cheapest by any means but I have never heard of them being wrong on anything. They did simple tests for me but I think you need more than simple.
 

Meadowlark

Gardner, Angler, Adjunct Professor, and Rancher
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
259
Reaction score
249
Location
East Texas
Hardiness Zone
8
Country
United States
...Would aged pinebark compost and manure be similiar in effect to Black Kow? ...
Not nearly as potent, IMO. Even though I have cattle, I sometimes purchase bags of the Black Kow for garden application. They do an excellent job of thoroughly composting their product. That's important to me in my garden. It is labor saving over DIY to the extent that it is worth it for me.

I've had the local utility deliver pinebark chipps from their trimming and you have to age that stuff at least a year...labor intensive and not nearly as potent as the Black Kow.

I have ph of 6.5 to 7 and the the black Kow does not appreciably lower my ph. Its a good product that offers a convenience factor that is important to me as the years go by.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2017
Messages
3,650
Reaction score
3,381
Location
Birmingham Alabama
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
United States
Wow! That is what I call clay, but what I don't understand is that clay soils are almost always a little alkaline. There has to be a reason why and before you can change something you must know what it is. It looks to me that raising the Ph of something that heavy will be about impossible. Changing the arability is more feasible I would think but even that would be never ending project. I am sure that you have had the soil tested but there are tests and there are tests. The people in the following link are the best. Check out what they do. They aren't the cheapest by any means but I have never heard of them being wrong on anything. They did simple tests for me but I think you need more than simple.
Thanks for the link.

There is no organic layer to speak of in this soil so I am adding one. Once established, I intend to maintain it, and hopefully that means less effort.

You can see why I have a curiousity about biochar. It would raise pH, add oxygen and most importantly not dissappear as fast as the organic material do now.

As to southeastern soils being acidic? In word - Rainfall. It leaches so much calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium that it tips the scales. Add to that the clay containing aluminum, which tends to the acidic itself, and Voila! Recipe for disaster IF you do like I did and hire a lawn company to come handle your yard. They killed the clover, there went the one decent nitrogen fixer in the yard, and the rest was a downward spiral added to by yours truly and his multi colored test tubes that read too high. I slowly, and dully, began to register that the types of plants growing after I had let the lawn company go and then tried to fix things were acid ameniable, and that my test methods were suspect. It did not hurt much really, the lawn company had already taken out all the shade loving grass by then and bare dirt was the order of the day.

edit: as of today we have had 15 inches since Jan 1, 2019. That is 8 weeks.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
7,268
Reaction score
3,551
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
Thanks for the link.

There is no organic layer to speak of in this soil so I am adding one. Once established, I intend to maintain it, and hopefully that means less effort.

You can see why I have a curiousity about biochar. It would raise pH, add oxygen and most importantly not dissappear as fast as the organic material do now.
Biochar would be a good way to amend you soil and it would do all of the things you mentioned. I believe that finding the cause of the acidity may be of benefit in the long term. Is you soil common to a large area or is it localized.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
7,268
Reaction score
3,551
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
I just remembered a thread. Its by John Todd in the Organic Gardening forum titled BioChar for small farms and gardens. Have you seen it?
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2017
Messages
3,650
Reaction score
3,381
Location
Birmingham Alabama
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
United States
I just remembered a thread. Its by John Todd in the Organic Gardening forum titled BioChar for small farms and gardens. Have you seen it?
No but I probably have read any articles it refers to at this point. I located a suppler selling big sacks of rice grain sized ground biochar for 600-700. I did not order because I produce a lot of wood here just from falls alone. I toyed with making my own but in a neighborhood that is a little tougher even with estate sized lots. I think I may use a afterburner for a clean burn and spread the ash, which is both alkaline and potassium rich, 2 things my soil badly needs.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
7,268
Reaction score
3,551
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
No but I probably have read any articles it refers to at this point. I located a suppler selling big sacks of rice grain sized ground biochar for 600-700. I did not order because I produce a lot of wood here just from falls alone. I toyed with making my own but in a neighborhood that is a little tougher even with estate sized lots. I think I may use a afterburner for a clean burn and spread the ash, which is both alkaline and potassium rich, 2 things my soil badly needs.
Check out his posts. I think you'll find it interesting.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2017
Messages
3,650
Reaction score
3,381
Location
Birmingham Alabama
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
United States
I did read that thread! I actually ran across the videos when I was trying to understand a retort system. I have 2 issues though, the first being physically chopping the wood to a useable size, and the second is chopping the char to a even smaller useable size. Its not easy either way without specialty equipment. Even my chipper will not make small enough biochar particles, and I got into casting a grindstone before I just stopped considering it as a home based process. While a wood splitter would be slow, its only a barrel at a time, which is feasible if I buy a splitter. I considered a wood blade on my bandsaw as well. Less palatable and some wood is to large a diameter to feed and must be split.

Or I could just burn wood cleanly and snuff the fire toward the end of the burn.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Dec 24, 2018
Messages
241
Reaction score
159
Location
Detroit
Hardiness Zone
6b
Country
United States
Are you guys nuts? Outside of the fact that I don't know anything about what passes for bluegrass down yonder, what you guys are talking about sounds like a hateful expense.
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top