Soil Sulfur

junkmanme(z5 N. NM, USA)October 16, 2006

I'm planning to add a bag of "Soil Sulfur" to my vegetable garden soil. I'm doing this in hope that it will lower the PH somewhat. Although I add homemade compost to this garden soil each year, I am hoping that this will speed up the process a bit.

I am ready to do my Fall tilling and I wonder if I should add the sulfur at this time or wait until I till the garden in Spring prior to planting?

Any knowledgable suggestions?

Best Regards,

Bruce (Junkmanme)

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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

Sulfur takes time to act- sometimes months. Apply now.

See the link

Here is a link that might be useful: Changing soil pH

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 12:58PM
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junkmanme(z5 N. NM, USA)

Pablo,
Thanks for the info. The charts on the link you provided will be helpful in determining the amount of sulfur to add.
Best Regards,
Bruce (Junkmanme)

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 1:29PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

If all you are adding is compost, have you considered adding organic fertilizer to speed up the process?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 11:07PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Did you have a soil test done to see what your soils pH is?
Do you know for sure sulfur will lower that soils pH?
Are you wasting your time, energy, and money applying that sulfur and potentially polluting the environment?
Apply nothing until a good, reliable soil test tells you it is needed.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 7:29AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

You need highly fungal compost/compost tea to help bring the PH down. The problem with sulfur is that it is fungicide and you need healthy amount of fungal population to bring pH down.

Teaming with Microbes by Jeff Lowenfels is an excellent book over organic gardening. Learned quite a bit compared to what I've learned in this forum.

Basically to make highly fungal tea, sprinkle powdered baby oatmeal ( i think??) on thin layer of compost and cover it and put it in the dark place at room temperature at least (it should be around 80 degree but where at this time of the year?). After several days or so, you will see a mat of fungi on the compost and use them to brew ACT.

Regular compost (highly bacterial) actually keep pH from going down. it more or less stays at neutral pH or maybe slightly bit on the alkaline side. Bet you don't know that huh?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 9:24AM
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junkmanme(z5 N. NM, USA)

THANK YOU ALL for your excellent replies!

We tested the PH of the soil and it ran between 7.0 and 7.5

There is a reasonable amount of fungus in the compost that we add to the soil.

I should have thought about Sulphur killing off fungus.....sounds reasonable (like Sulfa-drugs??).

Haven't done anything yet....Weather has been Schleisslich (German for "rather unpleasant" [sorta]).

Appreciate (and learning from comments).

Would WELCOME any additional comments.

Best Regards to ALL,
Bruce (Junkmanme in New Mexico)

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 7:36PM
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byron(4a/5b NH)

Yup an additional comment

Contact Dr. Robert Flynn, soil agronomist at NMSU and extension advisor. NM soil has a high potassium content, which makes the soil alkaline.

The situ is unique, most growers don't know how to deal with it.

You can tell him I sent you odds are he won't remember our chats from about 5 years ago.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 10:06PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Bruce,

we're talking about HIGH count of fungi. "Reasonable" amount of fungi in compost? It's probably NOT ENOUGH, I bet to bring down pH significantly. I don't know what kind of compost you have or how you compost. Hot compost tend to be bacterial dominated while cold compost tend to be fungi dominated. Just throwing leaves on the garden and do nothing (no tilling) will favor fungi over bacteria. Hardwood mulch 2-3 inches thick will also significantly improve fungi population but it takes a long time compared to leaves which take around 6 months. But it also depends on what kind of plants too. Where did you have the soil tested for pH? 7.0-7.5 isn't so bad unless you're trying to grow blueberries!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 9:21AM
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junkmanme(z5 N. NM, USA)

THANK YOU ALL for your helpful and considerate comments. I'm learning!

Byron, I have a Step-Daughter in Las Cruces in the Vet business, she may know this Dr. Robert Flynn, because she knows a LOT of people in the AG depts at NMSU. I'll ask her.

Does anyone know how the Sulfur might affect the worm population in the garden? I'm concerned about this. I'm trying to encourage as many worms as I can to help improve the soil.

Here is a "link" to another posting I made on the "Vermicomposting" forum.

Worm Capture Experiment---Click Here>

Best Regards to ALL,
Bruce (Junkmanme in New Mexico)

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 10:45PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I didn't notice you were in NM. Look for VAM or Biovam.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 9:18AM
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byron(4a/5b NH)

Bruce,

All you need to be is a NM resident to check in with Dr Flynn.
As part of the extension service..., I was lucky with a referal by Dave Dewitt and Dr Paul Bosland of the NM chile group,

Biovam is only proven by the seller, The seller was banned from this list about 10 years ago. Even UWA DA doesn't recommend his product.

If sulfur is applied at no more than 1 lb per 1,000 sq feet you should be fine But as an observation note, the best worm populations is with the soil pH between 6.5 and 7.o

Byron

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 7:05PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Getting kicked off this list is not hard to do. Some of our best, and I'm speaking objectively, BEST contributors are no longer with us for many different reasons. I could presume the BioVAM guy was kicked off for selling his product, not for having a discredited product.

There is plenty of research on the VAM idea. I've looked at a lot of it. The results are mixed, to say the least; however, the results for sandy conditions are not at all mixed. I think the VAM idea works and works well if you are starting out with a relatively sterile environment. Golf greens are layered with sand and I believe sand is the final top coat. That leaves the surface about as nutritionally weak a root supporter as there could be.

I've listed several links here to learn more about VAM. If you don't like BioVAM, there are plenty of others. The first link has a lot on various golf courses throughout the desert southwest. Their results are very visual.

Mycorrhizae and Turfgrass

Fungi Perfecti

BioAg BioVAM &Activator

Use of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to improve early forest tree establishment

MYCORRHIZAL FUNGI BENEFIT PUTTING GREENS

ARBUSCULAR MYCORRHIZAS - How it works

Nutri-Life VAM-Tech

General Internet Search for VAM

And the VAM would be an alternative to sulfur.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 9:44PM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

You have very little pH correction to do there it sounds like. A heaping helping of OM may even do it for you.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 1:42PM
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