Sulfur is not Effective for Lowering pH of Turfed Soils – Turfgrass Science at Purdue University

Sulfur is not Effective for Lowering pH of Turfed Soils

Soil testing is important in turf to help determine the soil pH and fertilization needs, especially for potassium and phosphorus. Acceptable soil pH for turf is between 6.0 and 7.5. Some distributors and soil testing labs will recommend applying sulfur to reduce the soil pH of turf when it is over 7.5. Unfortunately, you can only apply 5 lbs sulfur/1000 sq. ft. per application to avoid burning turfgrass mowed at 2 inches or more, and a total of 10 lbs sulfur/1000 sq. ft. per year. These rates are much lower for low-mowed turf such as sports fields, fairways, and greens. At this rate, it will take many, many, many years to lower the pH of a typical Midwest soil that is highly buffered with calcium. Instead, you may be better off slightly increasing the annual nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and possibly iron applied to the turf. You can, however, till sulfur at much higher rates into a soil prior to turf establishment to help reduce pH.


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