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View Full Version : Most effictive and efficient way to LOWER pH?


Jason Rose
04-14-2007, 03:34 PM
I just checked my soil pH here again, and it's still around 8.0. Last summer (late) and again in the fall I applied Dispersul at the recommended rates (high rates) and my pH is still too high!

Most of my shrubs I plant just die, the grass does ok in the spring but then craps out during the summer. Iv'e posted other times here about these problems. I was hoping that I was getting a handle on the situation... I'm not sure why my pH is always so high here. I maintain a lot of lawns, and mine has to be one of the worst for plant survival Iv'e seen. My soil is a pretty heavy loam, but not too bad really. Most of my neghibors do not have nice lawns, so it's hard for me to tell if this is just isolated to my little patch of ground or if it's this general area.

I'm planning on hitting it with the Dispersul again as soon as this damn snow melts. I wish now I had put it down 2 days ago! Then I put down Miloriginite, which Iv'e been told will help increase microbial activity in the soil.

Any suggestions? Please!

quiet
04-14-2007, 04:15 PM
Ammonium Sulfate . . . 21-0-0-24.

Of course, this is only a temporary fix, but for at least a short period of time, you've lowered the ph in the root zone to increase plant uptake of the available nutrients, and provide a more favorable environment for microbial activity to increase. Milorganite and Ammonium Sulfate together work beautifully on our heavy clay soils.

I always use fert blends that contain ammonium sulfate, and use them with each application. The advantages are 2-fold: the temporary ph improvement in the root zone, and the breathtaking color. Lebanon's MESA is an excellent product.

RAlmaroad
04-14-2007, 05:07 PM
Don't know much about those chems, however granular
SULFUR is the best way. Take a look at this: http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/1994/4-6-1994/ph.html
On another note: What are you using to check you soils? Some cheap meters can be off by as much as 1.5 ph units.

teeca
04-14-2007, 05:20 PM
what shrubs are you planting? with ph that high and a heavy slow draining soil, an evergreen like yews, arbiviti, pine, and the like will have a high death rate. junipers are less sensitive to the wet soils, but a fall feeding with an acidic fert and high in iron will keep them strong, same with all your evergreens, and oaks too for that matter.

Ric
04-14-2007, 06:42 PM
Don't know much about those chems, however granular
SULFUR is the best way. Take a look at this: http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/1994/4-6-1994/ph.html
On another note: What are you using to check you soils? Some cheap meters can be off by as much as 1.5 ph units.

Ralmaroad

I couldn't help to notice the chart for Sulfur was a typo and in fact was the same Lime chart. I hate to act like a know it all and correct a University website, BUT. 10 pounds of 0-0-0-90 sulfur per thousand sq ft will lower pH one point in 30 days is the rule I use on sandy soil.

ThreeWide
04-14-2007, 08:15 PM
Start using SOP in all of your fertilization apps. This will certainly help.

I had a couple of Bermuda lawns with pH on the high side that just were not responding well to the regular program. After an extra application of SOP, they really turned around. Since your pH is much higher, it will certainly take more than one app to improve.

RAlmaroad
04-15-2007, 05:34 AM
Ric: That one little "0" would make a difference. How extremly sandy soils retain any minerals surprizes me. You can dig down 6" and it will be pure sand. Thanks.

naughty62
04-15-2007, 08:45 AM
If I could talk boss man into to any more new equipment it would be a top dresser.wedont have a licenced composter around here, nor the land to do our own. then we could blend in oak leaves, s. peatmosss,e. sulphur and acidic materials. I am very leary of the tub ground yard waste that is available through the local landfill .

muddstopper
04-15-2007, 09:03 AM
Jason, have you taken a soil sample to determine what is driving your ph levels. Simply adding sulfur might be the wrong approach. High calcium levels will lock up Phos, as well as zinc, iron, manganese and other micro nutrients. You might want to consider adding micronutrients to your fertilization program. Also, your Ph could be high from excessive amounts of Magnesium, potassium, or sodium. In this type of situation, you might actually have to add more calcium, which could be done with gypsum applications. Ph is not your problem, its only a symptom of a incorrect soil balance. To correct your ph, you need to findout what is driving it and correct those nutrient levels in your soil and choose fertilizer choices accordingly. You will never permantely correct your soils ph because of the mineral makeup of the soil. Whatever is driving your ph is probably naturaly occuring and abundant in the soil and you will never get rid of it. Simply adding sulfur wont replace any missing or lockedup nutrients.

thomsoutdoor
04-15-2007, 09:40 AM
muddstopper, I know I can google this but I would like to know if you can recommend any good sights on Ph problems and how to resolve them? Thanks

Russ
04-15-2007, 10:16 AM
In Basic soils increase your annual N by 30-50% and a PH up to 8 won't be a problem. IMHO it takes too much Sulfur to lower PH in clay on cool season grasses, it is only a temporary fix and your setting yourself up for long term problems. Give it a try.

Jason Rose
04-15-2007, 11:58 AM
Wow, a lot of differeing opinions here... Where I got my pH reading was from a simple probe type meter. The ground was saturated with rain water, and I took the reading in several places, 2 to 3 times in each location. I also had a soil test done by our extansion office 2 years ago, and at the time it also said my pH was 7.8 or something like that. DOes anyone have a lab to send samples too that will give me a GOOD test? The last one I got was a waste of time and 9 bucks. All it gave me was the pH, phosphorus, and potassium.

I have made several applications of gypsum in the past, none since last spring however.

Some of the products mentiones above, the SOP, the 0-0-0-90, ammonium sulfate. I have no clue where to find that around here.
Last year when I inquired to Lesco, another guy, and one here, everyone suggested the Dispersul product. It's about the only thing I have found available too.

What's died in my lawn. Well, other than the grass turning a flourecent yellow color in the summer (finally decided it was not taking up nutrients due to the high pH locking everything up in the soil). Iv'e also had die- crape mytrle, Wigelia, alberta spruce, flowers in general just look sickly all the time, reguardless of fertilizer applied. The lawn has NO responce to Iron applications, either granular or liquid (another indicator that the pH is too high).

IMO, I really don't want more nitrogen. When the grass is healthy in the spring/early summer it grows fast enough as it is. Plus we have a LOT of problems with fungus here.

It's funny that I take care of 90 lawns a week (mowing) and I fertilize about 60 of those, and I don't have near the problems with any other lawn as I do my own!

NattyLawn
04-15-2007, 12:31 PM
Jason,

We send our tests to A&L labs. For 13-14 bucks you can get a test with macros and micros. Look for the one closest to you.

http://www.al-labs-plains.com/pages/al_network.html

We had a lawn with a ph of 7.4 last year low in sulphur. Went in with 20lbs of sulphur per k and tested again this spring. PH came back at 6.5.

heritage
04-15-2007, 06:01 PM
Jason, have you taken a soil sample to determine what is driving your ph levels. Simply adding sulfur might be the wrong approach. High calcium levels will lock up Phos, as well as zinc, iron, manganese and other micro nutrients. You might want to consider adding micronutrients to your fertilization program. Also, your Ph could be high from excessive amounts of Magnesium, potassium, or sodium. In this type of situation, you might actually have to add more calcium, which could be done with gypsum applications. Ph is not your problem, its only a symptom of a incorrect soil balance. To correct your ph, you need to findout what is driving it and correct those nutrient levels in your soil and choose fertilizer choices accordingly. You will never permantely correct your soils ph because of the mineral makeup of the soil. Whatever is driving your ph is probably naturaly occuring and abundant in the soil and you will never get rid of it. Simply adding sulfur wont replace any missing or lockedup nutrients.



Jason,

Pay attention to this post.....This is the direction to go IMO. The P.H. probe will only tell you what your P.H. is.......But that isn't enough.

What Cation (+ Charge) is drivng your P.H. up??? When you learn the why and how after you recieve your soil test results, you will then know what to apply on an annual basis to maintain a proper soil P.H.

I like Loganlabsllc for my soil testing.

It's been said before..."Don't Guess, Test" ...soil test that is :)

Great post Mudstopper.


Pete D.