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How quickly can I lower pH of soil in order to plant acidic plants?

8 years ago

I'm hoping someone can help me with my dilemma! I recently received the results from my soil test (I live in South Alabama, Zone 8b, where my soil is group 3- clay and soils high in organic matter):




Calcium-a whopping 4851 (thanks a lot, builders!)

The project: front yard landscaping bed. All existing (diseased) shrubbery and trees have been removed. I have a blank slate to work with. A local landscape designer has given me a wonderful plan; however, some of the recommended plants love acidic soil (drift roses, shi shi camellias). Other plants will work just fine with a pH of 7.2. I have contacted my local extension office and have been advised to apply elemental sulfur to the bedding area. Based on my research, I know that this application will take several months to affect the pH of the soil, especially since the temps here in lower AL currently range from mid 60's to low 30's.

My dilemma: I need to get plants installed ASAP. I live in a neighborhood and my yard is an eye sore! Having not done my homework beforehand has been a detriment, I realize. Alas, I cannot change my current circumstances.

My questions are these:

1) Do I apply elemental sulfur to the entire bed, or just to the holes of the plants needing a lower pH?

2) Is there another method for lowering pH quicker than elemental sulfur?

3) OR, do I plant all shrubs/trees that like the pH of 7.2 and wait several months to plant the acid-loving plants when the elemental sulfur has worked its magic?

4) If I go ahead and plant these acidic-loving plants now in slightly alkaline soil, will it be detrimental to their establishment?

ANY advice would be greatly appreciated!!

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