NDSU Crop and Pest Report
Soils


ISSUE 10  July 3, 2003

SIDEDRESSING CORN, SUNFLOWERS

With the recent rains and welcome heat, corn and sunflowers will grow rapidly. Sidedressing in the traditional manner using anhydrous of liquids with knife application equipment can proceed until the crop is too tall to move through with tractors and toolbars. Be careful in corn when the plants get into its more brittle stage, usually from knee to waist high. At this time, especially in moist, hot conditions when the crop is most rapidly growing, corn plants are easily snapped off when bumped or disturbed.

If the crop becomes too tall for a normal sidedress application, liquid N can be applied through drop tubes. The tubes we used to use in my prior life were rigged on a boom from a high-clearance sprayer. The sprayer boom should be rigged to be the same width as the planter. Using a boom wider than a planter width means that liquid N will be applied into the whorl of the "guess row" and the other rows of the neighboring planter pass. This is not acceptable. Significant burning of the plants will result. Between the rows on the boom, we installed an orifice to regulate the amount of liquid to apply, then a drop nozzle designed for 2,4-D application, then a short hose at the end to extend the drop below the main leaves of the plant. This type of application is very successful in delivering the liquid to the ground between the rows. With a helpful rain, the N is incorporated into the soil and is taken up by the plants.

 

TOPDRESSING SMALL GRAINS- A SEQUEL

In a previous Pest Report, topdressing was discussed. Small grains are in a variety of stages across the state, from 4-5 leaf to past flowering. Topdressing N deficient small grains from emergence to the 6-leaf stage may serve to increase yield provided a timely rain incorporates the application prior to jointing. Topdressing from jointing through the watery ripe stage of grain development will often serve to increase protein content of grain, but will have little if any effect on yield. These applications, if made, should be conducted using streamer bars to reduce leaf burning and crop injury. Applications of N past the watery ripe stage would have no effect on real grain protein content.

 

SOILS AND SUMP PUMPS

Recent heavy rains in urban and rural areas of the Valley have made for a soggy, sodden mess. Overland flooding and the sight of garbage bags floating down the street are not uncommon sights in the area. We have a problem in the Valley with heavy rains due to the clay content of our soils.

A Fargo clay is a common soil type in Fargo within a few miles of the river. The permeability of water through a nicely dry, granulated Fargo soil is about 0.2 inches per hour. Permeability through a saturated Fargo would be closer to 0.06 inches per hour. It makes very little difference during a 2 inches per hour rainstorm if the subsoil is saturated or not, the water falling on a Fargo soil with that intensity is going to move sideways.

A Barnes soil (half the clay content of a Fargo and more sand) outside the Valley, near Valley City, for example, has a percolation rate of from 0.6 inches per hour to about 2 inches per hour (10 times the infiltration capacity of a Fargo soil). A similar rainstorm on those soils would have some runoff potential, but would not be nearly as severe as one in Fargo. On Barnes soils, a saturated soil to begin with would be important, but not in a Fargo soil.

An Embden soil is a sandy soil on the edge of the Valley. The percolation rate ranges from 2-6 inches per hour. Flooding on these soils would only happen if it rained while the soils were still frozen solid.

So overland flooding on a Fargo soil is a given. What can a person do about it? Make sure that the soil is sloped away from the house. If there are depressions near the house, fill them in and make a slope out away from the house. Make sure that down-spout exit troughs are long enough to direct the water to slopes that carry the water away from the house and donít let the water pool near the house.

Inevitably, some water will move into the soil and want to come into the basement. Sump pumps are designed to collect the water which pools around basements and move it out of the house so that floors do not seep and walls do not crack. It is important to have the sump pump discharge hose direct the water in a direction which doesnít recycle it back into the pump again. Discharging the water into the backyard is not the best plan. There are seldom drainage tile in the backyard between the neighbors, so discharge water into the backyard seeps into the soil and very often flows back through the soil into the sump hole and the pump gets to discharge it again. Or if your house is higher than the neighbors, it recycles into their sump hole. This is not a good recycling plan. The best way to discharge the water is over the front yard, over the sidewalk and into the street and the storm sewer system. Using a flat discharge hose will minimize the risk of someone tripping over it. Your neighbors wonít mind, they should thank you for your consideration.

Dave Franzen
NDSU Extension Soil Specialist
(701) 231-8884
dfranzen@ndsuext.nodak.edu


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