Soil Problems

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  1. Sulfur in Soil
  2. High Phosphorus
  3. Clay Soil Lawn, Best Type of Worm
  4. Planting Trees and Shrubs in Clay
  5. Soil Additives
  6. Is White Mildew/Mold in Soil Eventually Harmful to All Plants?
  7. Green Soil
Asked by Anonymous on November 10, 2010
Sulfur in Soil

I moved into a new home last spring, and the people had dumped a couple bags of sulfur over the back lawn and now the grass is having a hard time growing in a couple of areas. It starts out ok and then looks like it starts to turn brown and burnt. Is there something I could use to neutralize the sulfur in the soil?

ANSWERS
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

The sulfur is most likely reacting to other sprays that you are using on your lawn and this is what may be killing the grass. If you are using other sprays on your lawn, stop using them for a little while, especially in the areas where the grass is having trouble. In the mean time, you can try adding lime to the soil to help counteract the sulfur and also increase watering so as to leech the extra sulfur away.

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Asked by johnny on April 18, 2011
High Phosphorus

The phosphorus is very high in my vegetable garden. What should I do?

ANSWERS
Heather
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

Normally, too much phosphorous does not cause issues as plants have a hard time taking up too much phosphorous in the first place. The soil can be balanced back out some by adding in nitrogen rich amendments like composted manure.

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Asked by Anonymous on April 22, 2011
Clay Soil Lawn, Best Type of Worm

I live in Charlotte, NC. and the soil is heavy clay. I have a 1200 sq. ft. front lawn and a 3000 sq. ft. rear lawn. I want to know how many worms, and what type of worm, I should buy to help with aeration and soil conditioning. I have read that worms for the lawn become a nightmare to control, and I will wind up with a problem eventually, due to castings making the lawn slippery and muddy.

ANSWERS
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

Earthworms introduced into the soil will help aerate and add more nutrients to your lawn. These articles will help as well: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/how-to-improve-clay-soil.htm
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/organic/compost-for-organic-gardens.htm

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Asked by Anonymous on April 25, 2011
Planting Trees and Shrubs in Clay

Next weekend I will be planting trees and shrubs in my backyard. It is very well clay-like, so we created a bed since we couldn’t cut the grass. Part of it is very wet and the grass grew fast last year (I don’t think it will be a problem for the trees/shrubs to survive), but there is another area that was rocky dirt brought in (not good soil). What should I put down when planting the new trees/shrubs? No time for rototilling, just want to ensure that the plants survive.

ANSWERS
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
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Asked by Anonymous on May 3, 2011
Soil Additives

How do I know how much wood ash or other ingredients to use in order to make my garden soil healthy enough to grow good crops? My root crops are small and few. My tomatoes and squash do fine.

ANSWERS
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

You really need to do a soil test (either a home test or one from the extension service) to tell exactly what your soil might need and how much. This article can help you with knowing what your soil's needs might be:
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/vegetable-garden-soil.htm

As for your root vegetables, the soil is probably too heavy. You can amend it to make it lighter: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/how-to-improve-clay-soil.htm

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Asked by Ellie on May 3, 2011
Is White Mildew/Mold in Soil Eventually Harmful to All Plants?

We’ve bought soil from different sources, and granted our garden areas do not get full sun all day long; however, our summers have been very dry and hot. This year the wind is drying the soil even more now. So we water frequently. Problem is, while plants seem to like it, the soil has developed what I believe is mold: white throughout when I dig. Is this common? Harmful to plants? What do you recommend to get rid of it?

ANSWERS
Doc

It's possible that what you have in your soil is mychorrizae fungus, a highly beneficial and desireable organism which breaks down organic nutrients for the plant roots to absorb. Mychorrizae is the key to successful bonsai, for instance, and forms a symbiotic relationship critical for potted pines to live in a closed environment. It is a distinctly filamentous (ie. "stringy"), substance which doesn't show above the surface but permeates the root area of the soil. If what you have is a surface organism, it is likely something else altogether. In any case, be it mildew or mold, it will not thrive unless the soil is damp and somewhat shaded.

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Asked by Anonymous on May 5, 2011
Green Soil

Just put in a vegetable garden. On one end of the garden, the soil is turning green. I reworked the garden to improve drainage but the north stays somewhat moist, causing the soil to develop a green coat. I don’t think I will get the drainage any better. What can I do?

ANSWERS
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

Since drainage is definitely an issue here that is causing algae to build up in the soil, you may want to consider putting in a raised garden bed instead. Alternatively, you could construct a berm to redirect the drainage to another area. These articles should help: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/raised-vegetable-gardens.htm
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/spaces/creating-and-using-berms-in-the-landscape.htm
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/spaces/building-a-berm-how-do-i-make-a-berm.htm

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