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Author Topic: How much does elemental sulfer lower soil PH?  (Read 1403 times)

Empoweredandfree

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How much does elemental sulfer lower soil PH?
« on: September 28, 2018, 07:50:29 PM »
Assuming one was to follow directions, how much does elemental sulfer lower PH? I added some to my potted tropicals that had a PH of 7 so I wanted to get that down to 6.0-6.5. ..

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Re: How much does elemental sulfer lower soil PH?
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2018, 10:39:06 AM »
Works extremely well. I've never monitored its use in potted culture, but I was able to (accidentally) lower the pH to about 1/4 acre of my orchard to the low 3's with a couple thousand pounds of Tiger 90. The effect is temporary though. Three years later, the pH was back to the 7's.

Note that it also takes several months for the pH to drop.
Jeff  :-)

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Re: How much does elemental sulfer lower soil PH?
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2018, 07:55:55 PM »
Works extremely well. I've never monitored its use in potted culture, but I was able to (accidentally) lower the pH to about 1/4 acre of my orchard to the low 3's with a couple thousand pounds of Tiger 90. The effect is temporary though. Three years later, the pH was back to the 7's.

Note that it also takes several months for the pH to drop.

 Jeff was that following the directions? Thats an extreme drop and certainly hope it doesn't drop that low in my pots. What plants/trees could even survive in a PH that low?

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Re: How much does elemental sulfer lower soil PH?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2018, 02:34:25 AM »
Works extremely well. I've never monitored its use in potted culture, but I was able to (accidentally) lower the pH to about 1/4 acre of my orchard to the low 3's with a couple thousand pounds of Tiger 90. The effect is temporary though. Three years later, the pH was back to the 7's.

Note that it also takes several months for the pH to drop.
3 years doesn't seem very temporary. Or did the pH rise gradually through those 3 years? Did you keep track?
Oscar

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Re: How much does elemental sulfer lower soil PH?
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2018, 10:37:54 AM »
The rise was gradual, with the majority of the rise happening after I installed irrigation (which comes from high pH canal water).

Works extremely well. I've never monitored its use in potted culture, but I was able to (accidentally) lower the pH to about 1/4 acre of my orchard to the low 3's with a couple thousand pounds of Tiger 90. The effect is temporary though. Three years later, the pH was back to the 7's.

Note that it also takes several months for the pH to drop.
3 years doesn't seem very temporary. Or did the pH rise gradually through those 3 years? Did you keep track?
Jeff  :-)

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Re: How much does elemental sulfer lower soil PH?
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2018, 10:41:47 AM »
I definitely did not follow the instructions. It was an experiment of sorts, and I grossly miscalculated the amount of free calcium carbonate. Surprisingly, most of the trees survived. I did lose several anonas, and my magana sapote looked like it was on the brink of death for a while -- but no more than 10 - 15% tree loss. At any rate, it was a cool experiment :D.

Works extremely well. I've never monitored its use in potted culture, but I was able to (accidentally) lower the pH to about 1/4 acre of my orchard to the low 3's with a couple thousand pounds of Tiger 90. The effect is temporary though. Three years later, the pH was back to the 7's.

Note that it also takes several months for the pH to drop.

 Jeff was that following the directions? Thats an extreme drop and certainly hope it doesn't drop that low in my pots. What plants/trees could even survive in a PH that low?
Jeff  :-)

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Re: How much does elemental sulfer lower soil PH?
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2018, 10:52:20 AM »
I definitely did not follow the instructions. It was an experiment of sorts, and I grossly miscalculated the amount of free calcium carbonate. Surprisingly, most of the trees survived. I did lose several anonas, and my magana sapote looked like it was on the brink of death for a while -- but no more than 10 - 15% tree loss. At any rate, it was a cool experiment :D.

Works extremely well. I've never monitored its use in potted culture, but I was able to (accidentally) lower the pH to about 1/4 acre of my orchard to the low 3's with a couple thousand pounds of Tiger 90. The effect is temporary though. Three years later, the pH was back to the 7's.

Note that it also takes several months for the pH to drop.

 Jeff was that following the directions? Thats an extreme drop and certainly hope it doesn't drop that low in my pots. What plants/trees could even survive in a PH that low?


Do you supply smaller amounts now to combat the high ph water or do you use the chelated iron or does 7 ph work for your trees?

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Re: How much does elemental sulfer lower soil PH?
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2018, 12:30:35 AM »
I just use granulated fertilizer.. A couple of my trees have deficiencies, but the rest are doing well.
Jeff  :-)

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Re: How much does elemental sulfer lower soil PH?
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2018, 06:42:47 PM »
For those going the potted route, elemental sulfur is very effective, but you'll want to be judicious with its application. It's very easy to be impatient and use too much as it takes some time to break down and take effect, and can sometimes get caked in and create super acid zones depending on the soil you're using (typically soil that's very compacted and low draining). While it wasn't on trees, I got a little sulfur happy with my peppers last season and half of them died from the soil becoming too acidic for the roots to handle.

To keep pH levels lower, I recommend a combination of acid fertilizer (the kind used for blueberries and other acid loving plants, which often includes just the right amount of sulfur) and bi-annual use of FoxFarm's Sledgehammer (mid-fall and early spring) which washes away soil salts. Salts from high pH hard water are unavoidable in my area, and this helps tremendously to counteract its effects in addition to loosing hardened up, hydrophobic soil. It also helps "cleanse" our native soil whenever I'm inclined to incorporate some with other soil mediums.

Also try to keep a decent soil worm colony in your larger pots. They help keep the soil aerated, and thusly drain better and wash away salts easier, thus slowing high pH creep.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 06:49:26 PM by Fygee »
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Re: How much does elemental sulfer lower soil PH?
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2018, 06:30:08 AM »
Sulphur is very effective and for potted plants the solution can be really long lasting.
There are though some points to consider:
- The effect will depend upon several factors namely the chemistry of your soil (concentration of calcium, carbonates, bicarbonates...) some soil exhibit a strong buffering effect (thus requiring higher amount of sulphur to lower the pH) some are more sensitive.
The right amount should be determined sperimentally therefore you should try starting with small amounts then, if necessary, adding more.

- The effect is "delayed" because the mechanism goes through the oxidation of elementar sulphur to sulphur oxides then eventually to sulphuric acid. Don't expect to add and see the pH lowering! Be patient and wait before adding more and more.

Ideally you should pre-mix thoroughly with sulphur  the soil to be treated then wait some time, check the pH and use it for potting.
The time requested for the sulphur to affect the pH depends on temperature, humidity and level of oxygen.
Making it simple, warmer temperatures, humid (but not damp) soil and good aeration will make the process faster



Lorenzo

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Re: How much does elemental sulfer lower soil PH?
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2018, 08:37:59 AM »
In potted plants to lower the PH from 7 to 6 you should use:
- 1g powder or 1.5 g pellet per liter of soil (1/4 to 1 teaspoon per gallon) in form of elementary sulfur 99,99%
- it takes 6 months with application now in the autumn, if pots go inside it might take 3-4 months.
- a worm cast or humus fertilizer to provide additional bacteria to the soil to breakdown the S

Hard water is the problem, calcium carbonate builds up in pots which increases ph.
Fe found in fertilizers (the cheap Fe chelate) is not available over 6 ph, Mg as well. P over 7 ph.
Foliage spray of Fe is sometimes useless, unless done every other day, which can burn the foliage. Soil application is better.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2018, 08:43:00 AM by lebmung »

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Re: How much does elemental sulfer lower soil PH?
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2018, 02:06:50 PM »
I definitely did not follow the instructions. It was an experiment of sorts, and I grossly miscalculated the amount of free calcium carbonate. Surprisingly, most of the trees survived. I did lose several anonas, and my magana sapote looked like it was on the brink of death for a while -- but no more than 10 - 15% tree loss. At any rate, it was a cool experiment :D.

Works extremely well. I've never monitored its use in potted culture, but I was able to (accidentally) lower the pH to about 1/4 acre of my orchard to the low 3's with a couple thousand pounds of Tiger 90. The effect is temporary though. Three years later, the pH was back to the 7's.


Wow, thats amazing. Some of the trees are hardier than we give them credit for..
Note that it also takes several months for the pH to drop.

 Jeff was that following the directions? Thats an extreme drop and certainly hope it doesn't drop that low in my pots. What plants/trees could even survive in a PH that low?

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Re: How much does elemental sulfer lower soil PH?
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2018, 02:15:33 PM »
In potted plants to lower the PH from 7 to 6 you should use:
- 1g powder or 1.5 g pellet per liter of soil (1/4 to 1 teaspoon per gallon) in form of elementary sulfur 99,99%
- it takes 6 months with application now in the autumn, if pots go inside it might take 3-4 months.
- a worm cast or humus fertilizer to provide additional bacteria to the soil to breakdown the S

Hard water is the problem, calcium carbonate builds up in pots which increases ph.
Fe found in fertilizers (the cheap Fe chelate) is not available over 6 ph, Mg as well. P over 7 ph.
Foliage spray of Fe is sometimes useless, unless done every other day, which can burn the foliage. Soil application is better.

 To a 5 gallon Mangosteen I added 1 tablespoon. On my potted Marand it was 6.8 in a 2 gallon and I added not quite a tablespoon. Upon further reading I realized it was unnecessary to lower the PH on either of these.

 I only use rain, distilled, or filtered hose water on my plants...I never use the crap that comes out of the faucet for anything.

 I actually have the mangosteen planted in pure worm castings....

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Re: How much does elemental sulfer lower soil PH?
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2018, 02:51:45 PM »
What you added should work.
You do need to lower the ph, because like I said above some elements become unavailable.
The mangosteen is a slow growing plant, it likes a sandy red draining soil like 1 peat : 1 loam topsoil : 2 coarse sand. I don't know about your worm castings soil, but if it holds a lot of water then the root system might get damaged. Worm castings should be acidic, so the water source is hard.
The ph would eventually be lower, however keep in mind the salt accumulation in the soil, over time the total salts dissolved will kill the plant.
Rain water in big cities is acidic and full of pollution. To get the best of it, collect rain water after 30 min of raining, the air and the roof will be cleaner.

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Re: How much does elemental sulfer lower soil PH?
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2018, 03:32:26 PM »
I definitely did not follow the instructions. It was an experiment of sorts, and I grossly miscalculated the amount of free calcium carbonate. Surprisingly, most of the trees survived. I did lose several anonas, and my magana sapote looked like it was on the brink of death for a while -- but no more than 10 - 15% tree loss. At any rate, it was a cool experiment :D.

Sounds like my experience with pH adjustment while relying on measurements from a cheapo junk pH meter my parents gave me, just on a larger scale  ;)  I was too impatient for sulfur, though, I used diluted sulfuric acid (you have to dilute the stuff like crazy).   As you note, sulfur takes a long time to take effect.  But a little goes a long way.
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Re: How much does elemental sulfer lower soil PH?
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2018, 01:04:21 PM »
What you added should work.
You do need to lower the ph, because like I said above some elements become unavailable.
The mangosteen is a slow growing plant, it likes a sandy red draining soil like 1 peat : 1 loam topsoil : 2 coarse sand. I don't know about your worm castings soil, but if it holds a lot of water then the root system might get damaged. Worm castings should be acidic, so the water source is hard.
The ph would eventually be lower, however keep in mind the salt accumulation in the soil, over time the total salts dissolved will kill the plant.
Rain water in big cities is acidic and full of pollution. To get the best of it, collect rain water after 30 min of raining, the air and the roof will be cleaner.


 I planted the tree in an air pot, with extra coarse materials such as lecca and lava rock to ensure it would drains well and prevent root circling....I never planted anything in pure worm castings so its a total experiment but so far its doing well although not putting on new growth in over 2 months..

 

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