Talk to me about Subsoiling
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    SRG
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    Talk to me about Subsoiling

    We have a small garden, not interested in sub soiling that, I just run the middle buster through it and then till it up.
    What I have is about 2 open acres in the back of my property, that's just normal grass that I mow. Within that 2 acres, is a good size low spot that collects alot of the run off water from my property, and the tillable field surrounding me. At times, it has looked like a small pond back there, and after heavy rains, remains. At one point in time, before me, it was part of the tillable acreage surrounding my property as it is now, so i'me sure there is a hard pan layer under the top soil. I don't currently have any live stock. In the future we plan to put in alot of trees back there, one for property value and two, to liven the place up some (it's bare, we only have trees on the front half of the property. Plus side, then I won't have to mow as much square footage.
    Is it worth subsoiling the area to get the water to drain better? Will that help trees get a better bite into the soil? We get some extreme wind around here and new trees can struggle get a foot hold before the wind takes them out.
    Opine please. I've never been down this road before.
    Last edited by SRG; 04-25-2019 at 08:50 PM.
    MDrew, mark02tj and jdforever like this.


    1997 JD 870 (28hp Yanmar), FWA, R1's, 300x loader, 61" bucket, 42" Titan forks, Pat's Easy Change.
    [72" KK box blade, 72" KK landscape rake, 72" Titan pine straw rake, 72" Express Steel snow pusher{XP24}, 60" KK tiller, 60" rotary cutter, middle buster, boom pole]
    2004 JD 797 (29hp Kawasaki) Z-Trak, 72" 7-Iron deck, Mulch blades, Carlisle AT101's.
    Stihl: MS250C/18", FS70R, HS45/18".

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    Check before subsoiling

    Quote Originally Posted by SRG View Post
    We have a small garden, not interested in sub soiling that, I just run the middle buster through it and then till it up.
    What I have is about 2 open acres in the back of my property, that's just normal grass that I mow. Within that 2 acres, is a good size low spot that collects alot of the run off water from my property, and the tillable field surrounding me. At times, it has looked like a small pond back there, and after heavy rains, remains. At one point in time, before me, it was part of the tillable acreage surrounding my property as it is now, so i'me sure there is a hard pan layer under the top soil. I don't currently have any live stock. In the future we plan to put in alot of trees back there, one for property value and two, to liven the place up some (it's bare, we only have trees on the front half of the property. Plus side, then I won't have to mow as much square footage.
    Is it worth subsoiling the area to get the water to drain better? Will that help trees get a better bite into the soil? We get some extreme wind around here and new trees can struggle get a foot hold before the wind takes them out.
    Opine please. I've never been down this road before.
    Beside the obvious need to check Miss Utility before doing deep tillage, I would try to figure out what you are dealing with. If you just have a hardpan/plow layer subsoiling may actually help you. If there's a thick layer of clay under there, you are just getting tractor time.

    Some of our fields have a blue marl under them. It's actually several feet thick and almost impervious to water. I've seen that stuff stop a 150 + hp tractor with a chisel plow dead if it went too deep. There's no point in subsoiling that stuff unless you like watching black smoke roll out of the stack and fuel disappearing out of the tank.

    You can check the national web soil survey. Web Soil Survey - Home
    It's a great resource but may not cover a small area accurately. A soil scientist would tell you to dig a trench and look at the soil layers or use a hand auger to see what's down there. For your purposes, pushing a 1/2" rod into the ground might tell you all you need to know. If you push easily down to a hard pan and can break through the hard pan and push relatively easily again, it's just a plow pan. If you go down 8-10" and have to fight to get deeper, you might have some good old clay.

    Of course, you could always just try it with your middle buster and see what happens. How hard it pulls and what's in the broken up ground will tell you at least part of the puzzle.

    Treefarmer
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    You might also nose around your county's land office web site. I found some accurate info for my land from my county.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treefarmer View Post
    Beside the obvious need to check Miss Utility before doing deep tillage, I would try to figure out what you are dealing with. If you just have a hardpan/plow layer subsoiling may actually help you. If there's a thick layer of clay under there, you are just getting tractor time.

    Some of our fields have a blue marl under them. It's actually several feet thick and almost impervious to water. I've seen that stuff stop a 150 + hp tractor with a chisel plow dead if it went too deep. There's no point in subsoiling that stuff unless you like watching black smoke roll out of the stack and fuel disappearing out of the tank.

    You can check the national web soil survey. Web Soil Survey - Home
    It's a great resource but may not cover a small area accurately. A soil scientist would tell you to dig a trench and look at the soil layers or use a hand auger to see what's down there. For your purposes, pushing a 1/2" rod into the ground might tell you all you need to know. If you push easily down to a hard pan and can break through the hard pan and push relatively easily again, it's just a plow pan. If you go down 8-10" and have to fight to get deeper, you might have some good old clay.

    Of course, you could always just try it with your middle buster and see what happens. How hard it pulls and what's in the broken up ground will tell you at least part of the puzzle.

    Treefarmer

    I think what you have written is spot on. I have a good idea of where he is at and I bet it is red clay down pretty deep. There are some sandy areas in spots and if he happens to be lucky enough to be in one of those it just might help. The other thing SRG could try it see if he knows where the field tiles are if it has them, is to tile that area to them to get it to drain.
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    SRG
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    I'll do some digging around. I know the guys that have been working this land since they were kids. I really just want the water to enter the water table faster. What I really need to do is raise, and grade my land back there, so the runoff stays in the fields. I'm sure part of the reason for the depressions/low spots size, is because pf the weight of the water that keeps compacting it year after year.
    I don't have any worry of utilities or transmission pipelines back there, It's been farmland forever, and there are no pipeline markers at the nearest road(s). Plus I just had the local one call out, for locates, when I installed the garden. We can't even get cable TV out here, and Ma'Bell is out in the ditch/road ROW, power is overhead.

    Here's the area I'm talking about. You can see how it's partially in the field and partially on my land. When it's really bad, I get alot of the debris from the field, left on my lawn. Pic is from last year going into spring...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMAG0490.jpg  


    1997 JD 870 (28hp Yanmar), FWA, R1's, 300x loader, 61" bucket, 42" Titan forks, Pat's Easy Change.
    [72" KK box blade, 72" KK landscape rake, 72" Titan pine straw rake, 72" Express Steel snow pusher{XP24}, 60" KK tiller, 60" rotary cutter, middle buster, boom pole]
    2004 JD 797 (29hp Kawasaki) Z-Trak, 72" 7-Iron deck, Mulch blades, Carlisle AT101's.
    Stihl: MS250C/18", FS70R, HS45/18".

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    I pulled a real JD sub-soiler back in 1975,, the HP demand was unbelievable.

    The sub-soiler went in 36",, and we had a 4" "torpedo" connected to the back of the tip with a 6" chain..

    We knew it was wrong, but my BIL said do it,,
    I pulled that sub-soiler with a 200+HP (PTO horsepower) JD tractor,,, in first gear,,

    That tractor was not to be used in third gear or below for high HP pulling,,
    I think there was even a warning decal somewhere,,,

    SO, when I wanted to do my garden,, I knew I had nothing like that,, instead, I trenched with a backhoe.

    I dumped composted wood chips in the 3-4 foot deep trenches,, then back filled with a compost/dirt mix

    It really only took a day,, I figure that it is a once in a lifetime task.
    the garden has never been soggy since, that was over a decade ago,,,
    Some of the tractors include JD 4105, JD 855, JD 650,,,, and,,, the IH 584 4WD
    My favorite attachment is the homemade landplane,,, EVERYONE needs one of those!!

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    How about a non mechanical alternative. Plant some tillage radishes :



    (1) "Tillage radish" = forage radish are varieties of Japanese radish = daikon specifically selected for having very large tap roots that can penetrate 10 to 24 inches into the soil. The root system of tillage radishes normally extends 6 to 7 feet down into the subsoil. MAKE CERTAIN THAT YOU BUY ONLY NAMED VARIETIES OF TILLAGE RADISH SELECTED FOR BIG TAP ROOTS. Do not buy VNS = "variety not stated" seed. Do not buy "oil seed radish" as these varieties do not have big tap roots. Many farmers buy the wrong kind of seed and then complain that tillage radishes do not work. Don't make this mistake.
    JD 1023E
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    Lots of water

    Quote Originally Posted by SRG View Post
    I'll do some digging around. I know the guys that have been working this land since they were kids. I really just want the water to enter the water table faster. What I really need to do is raise, and grade my land back there, so the runoff stays in the fields. I'm sure part of the reason for the depressions/low spots size, is because pf the weight of the water that keeps compacting it year after year.
    I don't have any worry of utilities or transmission pipelines back there, It's been farmland forever, and there are no pipeline markers at the nearest road(s). Plus I just had the local one call out, for locates, when I installed the garden. We can't even get cable TV out here, and Ma'Bell is out in the ditch/road ROW, power is overhead.

    Here's the area I'm talking about. You can see how it's partially in the field and partially on my land. When it's really bad, I get alot of the debris from the field, left on my lawn. Pic is from last year going into spring...
    That's a lot of water. Once you find out how thick an impermeable is you can figure out the best approach. If you've got several feet of clay under there an excavator to build a pond might be your best option, lol. The tillage radish idea might work if the clay isn't too thick. My understanding is they are a little picky about staying wet while growing so you might have to plant them earlier than you would if mixed in a cover crop.

    Let us know what you find under the top soil layer.

    Treefarmer
    John Deere 790, 300 loader w Ken's Bolt on Hooks & Piranha tooth bar, grapple, back blade, box blade, Bush Hog mower, couple of red tractors, hay equipment, various old stuff some red, one orange, some I don't remember

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    SRG
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treefarmer View Post
    That's a lot of water. Once you find out how thick an impermeable is you can figure out the best approach. If you've got several feet of clay under there an excavator to build a pond might be your best option, lol. The tillage radish idea might work if the clay isn't too thick. My understanding is they are a little picky about staying wet while growing so you might have to plant them earlier than you would if mixed in a cover crop.

    Let us know what you find under the top soil layer.

    Treefarmer
    Yeah, and that had subsided some, at the time of the pic. I have tossed the pond idea around lol. I'd rather have the trees. As many chemicals as they put in the soil, and spray over head with dusters, the water would be damn near useless. I've got the room for one tho.

    Quote Originally Posted by kabic View Post
    How about a non mechanical alternative. Plant some tillage radishes :



    (1) "Tillage radish" = forage radish are varieties of Japanese radish = daikon specifically selected for having very large tap roots that can penetrate 10 to 24 inches into the soil. The root system of tillage radishes normally extends 6 to 7 feet down into the subsoil. MAKE CERTAIN THAT YOU BUY ONLY NAMED VARIETIES OF TILLAGE RADISH SELECTED FOR BIG TAP ROOTS. Do not buy VNS = "variety not stated" seed. Do not buy "oil seed radish" as these varieties do not have big tap roots. Many farmers buy the wrong kind of seed and then complain that tillage radishes do not work. Don't make this mistake.
    I'd have to do more research on that idea. It's something I'd never thought about.

    Quote Originally Posted by CADplans View Post
    I pulled a real JD sub-soiler back in 1975,, the HP demand was unbelievable.

    The sub-soiler went in 36",, and we had a 4" "torpedo" connected to the back of the tip with a 6" chain..

    We knew it was wrong, but my BIL said do it,,
    I pulled that sub-soiler with a 200+HP (PTO horsepower) JD tractor,,, in first gear,,

    That tractor was not to be used in third gear or below for high HP pulling,,
    I think there was even a warning decal somewhere,,,

    SO, when I wanted to do my garden,, I knew I had nothing like that,, instead, I trenched with a backhoe.

    I dumped composted wood chips in the 3-4 foot deep trenches,, then back filled with a compost/dirt mix

    It really only took a day,, I figure that it is a once in a lifetime task.
    the garden has never been soggy since, that was over a decade ago,,,
    Was that just a single subsoiler? Did it have wings too?
    They say subsoiling works very well, if the soil will allow the drainage. I'm only looking at a single, with a 20"-24" depth, if I go this route.
    jdforever, Herminator and PJR832 like this.


    1997 JD 870 (28hp Yanmar), FWA, R1's, 300x loader, 61" bucket, 42" Titan forks, Pat's Easy Change.
    [72" KK box blade, 72" KK landscape rake, 72" Titan pine straw rake, 72" Express Steel snow pusher{XP24}, 60" KK tiller, 60" rotary cutter, middle buster, boom pole]
    2004 JD 797 (29hp Kawasaki) Z-Trak, 72" 7-Iron deck, Mulch blades, Carlisle AT101's.
    Stihl: MS250C/18", FS70R, HS45/18".

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    Quote Originally Posted by SRG View Post
    Was that just a single subsoiler? Did it have wings too?
    They say subsoiling works very well, if the soil will allow the drainage. I'm only looking at a single, with a 20"-24" depth, if I go this route.
    It was a single shank, with steel wheels,, it was old,,

    The "torpedo" was a piece of 4" schedule 80 pipe my BIL found somewhere,,

    I cut off a piece 18" long, torched, and beat the last 6 inches into a kind of a point, hence the name, torpedo.

    The torpedo made it pull twice as hard,, the sub-soiler left a mound of earth close to a foot high.

    We planted corn after sub-soiling with that single shank attachment.

    I had pulled it about every 30-40 feet,,
    you could see the corn was dramatically taller near where I had gone.

    Sometimes, two rows were taller,,

    Prior to me doing that field, many years before, my BIL had done some of that field,, but,,
    they had to pull it with three of the smaller tractors they had 25 years earlier,,,
    Some of the tractors include JD 4105, JD 855, JD 650,,,, and,,, the IH 584 4WD
    My favorite attachment is the homemade landplane,,, EVERYONE needs one of those!!

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