Lowering Soil pH- in Louisiana- Organically

KimbaTWLMarch 21, 2013

I live in Louisiana. My soil is very alkaline (high pH) and and I want to make it more acidic (lower pH). It also is very low on Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. How do I fix these two problems?

My soil is very compact clay. I think roots also have a hard to growing.

I have read to add compost. and the soil test paper said add iron sulfate. I want to do it organically and plan on planting native plants. I feel like native plants don't even do when in my soil and it needs to be altered!!

I want to buy stuff, but I don't know what to buy. Thanks!

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wisner_gw wisner

Did you take a soil sample to LSU Ag Center? I'm not an expert, but I haven't heard on La soils being alkaline. Usually the soil is more acid or neutral. If you sent the sample to LSU they give you the recommendations to make your soil suitable for what you are growing. Adding compost will help your clay soil. If you can find some Cotton Bur compost it works real well.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 9:16PM
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grandad_2003(9A/sunset 28)

Concur with Wisner, our LA soil is more often on the acidic side.

Adding leaves would help to eventually break down the clay. Leaves also tend to make the soil more acidic.

I use bagged leaves collected in the Fall as a mulch. They are great for weed control and also help to build up the soil organics. I till them in after they decompose. I usually will add lime every 2 or 3 years to help keep the counter the acidity of the leaves.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 9:30AM
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kchd(7b/8a MS)

I agree, the soils in Louisiana are generally acidic. Perhaps something caused the soils to be abnormally alkaline. Wood ash will do this.

Adding pine straw to the soil does a great job of 1. adding organic matter; and 2. lowering pH of the soil. And yes, you can lower your soil pH with iron sulfate. It lowers pH quicker than other methods, but I have not heard of an organic source of iron sulfate.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 3:25PM
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bigoledude(SE Louisiana)

Coffee grounds are acidic and will quickly turn an alkaline soil around. They are also fantastic for helping break up clay soil. Our local PJs Coffee would give me a 5-gallon bucket of coffee grounds a day, if I could use that much!

You could have a very large compost heap, very quickly, by using coffee-shop grounds and other organic material. By far the best compost I ever had was mostly horse-stable gleanings and coffee grounds.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 9:54PM
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ditto on the grounds.
i can get like 20lb a week from Starbucks here in Kenner
its too cold to compost, so i cant use all i have now

suggested reading...

diatomaceous earth is cheap, and helps keeps bugs down. also adds minerals

mycorrhizal fungi seems to have helped me condition my soil,
Rock dust , could help as well

most of those dont affect the PH a lot, but some dust might at higher levels

This post was edited by greenman62 on Mon, Feb 3, 14 at 11:41

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 11:40AM
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fairfield8619(Zone 8 NW LA)

There are many soils in LA that are above pH 7, mostly along the Mississippi river and down into Acadiana. Also along the Red River Valley, see the link.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 1:01AM
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