We have discussed how to raise pH levels of your lawn’s soil using lime. Here’s how you lower the soil’s pH levels using sulfur.
Lowering soil pH levels is much more difficult and expensive than raising it. In this case, you use sulfur. However, it is different from the plant nutrient sulfur.
Elemental sulfur is used to lower the pH when there is too much alkaline for plants that may favor more acidic pH. The sulfur is a yellow powder that is sometimes referred to as “Flowers of sulfur.” Soil bacteria into the sulfate form must oxidize the substance before it is offered to use on plants. It is advised that you don’t get confused between elemental sulfur with the sulfur contained in sulfates. This would include ammonium sulfate.
Fertilizers containing ammonium sulfate is often used as a method to lower pH levels in lawn soil. This is a common nitrogen fertilizer. However, it is the ammonium in the fertilizer, not the sulfate that is responsible for the soil acidification. Therefore, you can use ammonium fertilizer. It should be noted that this process is slow compared to using the natural elemental sulfur.
Actually, there are a number of substances that can be used to lower the soil pH level including sulfur. Plain elemental sulfur is the easiest and most common formula to use to make soil more acidic. It is cheap, relatively safe, and can be spread on top of the soil. Sulfur is slow acting. So don’t apply more than 2-pounds per 100 square feet at a time. Other elements that will work include:
· Sphagnum Peat. This substance could prove ideal because it adds organic matter to the soil and improves water retention. It is advised that you work a 2-inch layer of it into your soil at least a foot deep. Larger areas may require a tiller.
· Aluminum Sulfate and Iron Sulfate. These two products are very fast acting. However, they also add salts and other elements that can build up in the soil and cause damage. It is advised that you apply no more than 5-pounds per 100 square feet.
· Acidifying Fertilizer. Fertilizers that include ammonia including ammonium nitrate, urea, or amino acids can work, over time. They do have an acidifying effect on the soil.
· Mulches and Compost. As organic matter contained in the mulch or compost breaks down, it makes soil more acidic. Over time, they can bring the soil pH closer to the desired neutral to slightly acidic range preferred.