Sulphur is among the secondary nutrients that help promote healthy grass growth. Though the mineral nutrient is utilised by lawns in smaller quantity as opposed to the three essential nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, it is nonetheless important. Sulphur is best applied to lawns in recommended amounts as determined by a soil test. Careless use of sulphur can seriously injure grasses.
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How Sulfur Works
The primary use of sulphur for lawn is to reduce pH levels of highly alkaline soils. When grasses are grown in overly alkaline soil, the availability of many nutrients is affected. The addition of sulphur in soil allows the bacteria in the soil to convert the sulphur to sulphuric acid. This lowers the soil pH through a natural biological reaction that is slower in nature than the more rapid chemical reaction caused by certain other nutrients.
Effects on Grass
Sulphur helps to encourage a lush green colour of grass. The nutrient also helps with healthy root growth. Lawns that have adequate amounts of sulphur have stronger shoots with more dense blades and overall growth. Sulphur helps to elevate the levels of carbohydrate reserves in the lawn and reduces susceptibility to common lawn diseases. Lawns that are inadequately amended with organic material are usually more prone to suffer from sulphur deficiency.
Signs of Deficiency
Though it is best to conduct a soil test to determine sulphur requirement, deficient lawns also start to display physical symptoms of low sulphur in soil. This includes the discolouration or yellowing of older grass blade. Lawns become slow growing and younger grass is slow in maturing. Grasses that are planted in sandy soils are likely to suffer from problems related to insufficient sulphur.
Use about 0.907 to 1.36 Kilogram of sulphur for 1,000 feet of grass per year. It is also a good idea to choose a lawn fertiliser that already contains sulphur as this makes application easier, suggests the Washington State University Extension website. Water lawns well after sulphur application and avoid using excessive amounts as this can burn grass roots. Commonly used sources of sulphur include gypsum with 18.6 per cent sulphur, potassium sulphate with 17.6 per cent sulphur, ferrous sulphate with 18.8 per cent sulphur and ammonium sulphate with 24 per cent sulphur.
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