As we move into our landscapes, whether they were a corn field the previous year or have been growing turf and trees for 50 years, there are often adjustments we need to make to the soils to make them more ideal for ornamental plants. Each particular species has its own requirements for optimum growth and vigor. To the extent that we can meet our plant's needs, the greater our chance of having a wonderful landscape.

The substance we add to "amend" and improve our soils tend to fall into three categories: Chemical - Organic - Inorganic Amendments

Amendment Formula Speed Use

Limestone CaC0 Slow Raises soil pH i.e. makes it more alkaline
Hydrated Lime Ca(OH)2 Rapid Raises soil pH i.e. makes it more alkaline
Gypsum or Calcium Sulfate CaSO4 Medium Adds calcium, which displaces sodium in soils and improves drainage
Sulfur S Slow Adds sulfur and lowers soil pH i.e. makes it more acid
Epsom Salts MgSO4,7H2O Rapid Adds magnesium
Aluminum Sulfate Al2(S04)3 Rapid Adds sulfur and lower soil pH
Calcium Nitrate  Ca(N03)2 Rapid Adds calcium and nitrogen and raises soil pH i.e. makes it more alkaline (fertilizer analysis 15-0-0)
Ammonium Sulfate (NH4) 2S04 Rapid Lowers pH sharply, adds sulfur and nitrogen (fertilizer analysis 20-0-0)
Magnesium Sulfate MnSO3   Lowers pH i.e. makes it more acid and adds magnesium
Iron Sulfate FeSO4   Lowers pH i.e. makes it more acid and adds iron
Chelated Iron 9-12% Iron   Adds iron in absorbable form
Borax Na2B407.10H20   Adds boron
Copper Sulfate CuSO4   Adds copper and lowers pH i.e. makes it more acid
Micronutrient Fertilizers Varies   Adds deficient micronutrients

Note: We have provided some general information and observations on this topic aimed at the home gardener. Before you take any serious action in your landscape, check with your state's land grant university's Cooperative Extension Service for the most current, appropriate, localized recommendations.


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