Soil Problems and Their Solutions
La Florida, the land named after the abundance of flowers found growing wild by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce De Leon. Our “flowery land” is just that, a land where anything grows. But Floridas soils are not without their challenges.
Alkaline or High PH Soils:
– Characteristic of light rainfall areas with soils high in lime like limestone marl or seashells and sodium content. High Alkalinity can also result from concrete left over from construction of a new home or mortar from a wall that was just built etc.
– High organic matter compost or cow manure, composted leaves, peat moss, ground pine bark or other wood chips and elemental sulfur can be incorporated into the soil to help lower the PH. I should note here that not all sulfur compounds that increase sulfur levels will acidify the soil, so don’t use calcium sulfate(gypsum) or potassium sulfate or magnesium sulfate(Epsom salt) to acidify the soil, you will be wasting time and money. You can use some sulfate compounds such as ammonium sulfate aluminum sulfate or iron sulfate that do have some soil acidifying results. All attempts to change soil PH will be temporary.
– Characteristic of heavy rainfall areas high in sandy as well as humus soils.
– Help raise the PH of very Acidic soils by adding lime in the form of agricultural limestone.
– Characteristic of construction sites or old parking areas or other areas of heavy traffic.
– Help uncompact hard pan soils by tilling up the soil surface 6-10 inches deep. And adding organic amendments such as compost, leaf mold, ground pine bark, wood chips etc. into the soil.
– Characteristic of poorly draining iron deficient soils.
– Help improve chlorosis in soils by first improving drainage to the area and then adding chelated iron, or iron sulfate.
High (NA) Sodium content:
– Characteristic of areas with direct as well as indirect salt spray from the ocean or intercoastal waterway her in North Florida either normally affected or affected as the result of a passing storm causing increased salinity in soils.
– Help improve sodium riddled soils by improving drainage to the area so that all fresh water applied through rain and irrigation systems will leach the salts through the soil. A good soaking after a storm passes is always a good idea in salt burn sensitive areas. Gypsum (calcium sulfate )is also thought to help reduce the impact of the crusting of sodium riddled soil surfaces.
Check out our help page for soil problems and the ammendments that help to fix them.