How Does Garden Sulfur Affect Soil PH?
To maximize the growth and blooming potential of many plants, use garden sulfur to maintain proper pH levels. Often the soil in your garden can become too alkaline, which then causes many problems with the plants you work hard to grow. Garden sulfur is just the tool you need to correct your soil.
When the pH level in soil goes above seven, it is considered to be alkaline soil. Many different things happen in alkaline soils that make it inhospitable to certain plant life. Things like iron, phosphorous and manganese change in soil that is high in pH, making them unusable for some plants. Also, sodium carbonates and salt are collected in that soil, which damages root growth, causing stunted and thirsty plants.
Use a pH level testing kit that you can purchase for little cost at most garden centers. This will allow you to assess the soil for alteration, as well as continue to monitor your progress during the entire process. Plan on testing the soil every few weeks until you get it correct and then a few times a season after that.
Besides adding peat moss or aluminum sulfate, an effective method of lowering the pH levels in your soil is to spread garden sulfur. Often the dust form of this product can be found at garden centers and works well in any household garden. How much you will use depends on the initial pH reading as well as the heaviness of the soil. A heavier soil requires more garden sulfur to be effective. If it’s a new plot, be sure that the sulfur and soil are well mixed together before you plant anything. If you are attempting to correct levels in an existing garden, go slowly and test the pH levels frequently. Be gentle as you mix so as not to damage roots.
Always remember to add organic matter to your soil, as it acts as a buffer or cushion against the negative effects of high pH levels. Be sure to add the compost, manure or peat moss with the garden sulfur or beforehand, so you can get a proper pH reading.
Too much sulfur will send your soil into an acidic territory. A good guideline is to maintain a pH level between 6.0 and 6.9 If you go too far below that, add lime to bring it back up.
If you want to leave your soil level as is, there are plants that do well in alkaline soil. Consider cabbage, cauliflower, and celery. Steer clear of rhubarb and sweet potatoes as they need a soil with low pH (between 5 and 5.5). Ornamental plants that tolerate alkaline soil include periwinkle, thyme, eucalyptus, and pinks. Often desert plants will do fine in soil with high pH levels. Don’t try to grow blueberries, raspberries or strawberries unless you have corrected your soil too acidic, as they require a low pH level.
Another benefit of sulfur in your garden is its ability to fight off fungi and disease. Sulfur is considered an organic alternative to treat vegetable and plant diseases and fungi. It can be purchased in a dust form or a spray bottle; use what you feel comfortable with. Often gardeners find that a spray is useful for foliage and spot applications, while dust is best to manage larger areas and soil situations.
If you have hydrangeas that promise blue blossoms but only bloom in pink, adding garden sulfur to the soil around them can bring out the promised color. This is because the color blue is activated by the acid in the soil. Lower the pH level and allow the pink to fade away.
Garden sulfur, in dust or spray form, has many benefits to your garden. From soil maintenance to disease control to flower manipulation, this product is a must for every gardener. Pick some up at your local garden center this season.