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We have 40 acres in south East mason county. I’ve been doing food plots for several years primarily planting rye, oats and wheat in order to build up organic material in the soil. I typically do no till or at most pull the disc around with the discs straight. The soil is pretty much blow sand and I have access to all the saw dust I want, mostly oak and maple. My question is, have any of you used saw dust to build organic material in your plots? Does it have an affect of soil ph?
 

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Adding sawdust is counter productive for building soil. It ties up nitrogen and raises ph which is two things you do not want. Nitrogen is required to feed the soil microbes which are required for breaking down the cellulose and carbon in the sawdust robbing it from what you are trying to grow.
 

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While Luv2hunteup is correct about the chemistry of adding sawdust to your field those things are easily countered by adding lime and nitrogen to your plot. The advantages out way the costs because you are gaining humus and moisture retention like nobodies business. In fact I built six raised beds using a mixture of sawdust (chainsaw residue) and top soil. The soil is so soft I don`t need to turn over the dirt to plant in it. I also used a lot of ashes from the burned wood cut up with the chainsaw and have dumped many loads in my food plots.

In my opinion you can no go wrong by adding organic matter to your fields as long as you dont add too much at one time.
 

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We have 40 acres in south East mason county. I’ve been doing food plots for several years primarily planting rye, oats and wheat in order to build up organic material in the soil. I typically do no till or at most pull the disc around with the discs straight. The soil is pretty much blow sand and I have access to all the saw dust I want, mostly oak and maple. My question is, have any of you used saw dust to build organic material in your plots? Does it have an affect of soil ph?
My ground in SE Mason county is heavy clay!
 

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Sawdust will help but the absolute best way to increase OM is to stop cultivating the soil and start using no-till planting techniques. Even then it still takes a long time...
 

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While Luv2hunteup is correct about the chemistry of adding sawdust to your field those things are easily countered by adding lime and nitrogen to your plot. The advantages out way the costs because you are gaining humus and moisture retention like nobodies business. In fact I built six raised beds using a mixture of sawdust (chainsaw residue) and top soil. The soil is so soft I don`t need to turn over the dirt to plant in it. I also used a lot of ashes from the burned wood cut up with the chainsaw and have dumped many loads in my food plots.

In my opinion you can no go wrong by adding organic matter to your fields as long as you dont add too much at one time.
Aside from amending soil with lime to raise the ph you need fertilizer to get things to successfully to grow. Adding 200#/acre of T-19 is not unheard of plus another 100#/acre of urea top dressing weeks later as a top dressing to spur growth on soil that is not completely depleted of minerals is not that unheard of in northern Michigan even without adding sawdust to the soil. The sawdust would require even more nitrogen to counter act the depletion. How much more is only a guess but another 100#/acre would just be a start.

A small experimental spot with annual soil testing would be a good idea to get a handle on the impact of sawdust would have vs spreading sawdust wholesale to find out a desert was created. Not matter what it would need to be incorporated into the soil via tillage which is not recommended in sand.
 

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Sand is crap...the worst IMO. It holds nothing.
Generally speaking it is deep to.
You however can and will help it by adding organics. Those organics will add things to the soil...but because you most likely have deep sand. It will disapear years after you do your work. If you are okay with that...do it. spread it year after year thick or thin. Just keep doing it and you will have good results.
I would buy a spreader and keep it dry when not being used.
As the microbes start working on the wood it the upper layers will add more food. So just spread and leave alone.
Think of it as composting.
 

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Soil in northern Michigan can be pretty variable - even on a single property. I have one client who’s land features soil patches that remind me of pizza toppings - blow sand at surface in spots, with undrive-able slick clay just 50 yards away. The glaciers worked in mysterious ways, there - NE corner of Newaygo Co. SE Mason county is a wonderful little corner of Michigan with some similarities to that in terms of glacial activity. They didn’t clear all that land around Carr just to farm blow sand.

Most properties have far more homogeneous soil, particularly if perfectly flat.

Meanwhile, my home county has so little clay that my County Road Commission advertises in the newspaper trying to find land-owners with any that can be dug and sold.
 
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