Last Updated on March 1, 2023 by Mattias
Much like plants, your lawn also needs essential nutrients to thrive. Primary nutrients mainly include phosphorus and nitrogen, but secondary nutrients such as sulfur are just as vital. Applying sulfur is the key to having an aesthetic, lush, and green lawn, but unsurprisingly, its excess can cause adverse effects.
This article will discuss how often I can apply sulfur to my lawn?
Along with the benefits of using sulfur and potential side effects. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.
How Often Can I Apply Sulfur To My Lawn?
For best results, it’s recommended to apply sulfur once every three to four weeks in smaller quantities, but remember that the maximum amount of sulfur used should be 10 pounds (4.5 kg) for a land of 1000 sq. ft in a year.
You can always divide this into small amounts and apply sulfur regularly rather than over-applicating at once. Just ensure that the annual quantity of consumed sulfur doesn’t exceed 10 pounds per year, or else you are at risk of burning your lawn. It is a good idea to apply 5 pounds in early spring and then 5 in fall on your 1000 sq. ft land.
The decision of how often can I apply sulfur to my lawn mostly depends on the quantity you are using rather than the time frame. As long as you don’t overdo its application, your lawn should be able to enjoy its benefits. As mentioned above, 10-15 pounds is the maximum amount you can reach in a year.
Now that you know how often to apply sulfur keep reading this article to learn all about its benefits, the correct way of application, and other common queries.
Benefits Of Using Sulfur On The Lawn
Even though sulfur doesn’t provide immediate results, it is one of the most effective nutrients to prevent a brown, patchy lawn. Aside from saving your lawn from nutrient deficiency, committing to sulfur’s regular application can also have several long-term benefits.
Sulfur builds up in the lawn over time and changes the pH of the soil, which improves grass’s health and ensures the following benefits.
- Grass tends to be lush, green, and vigorous
- The sulfur application makes grass drought-resistant
- Enables the lawn grass to withstand winter
- Reduces grass’s susceptibility to pests and diseases
- Increases lawn density
- Aids the lawn in its recovery from fungal infections
- Enhances overall appearance, especially color, and growth
When To Apply Sulfur On The Lawn?
Knowing when you should apply sulfur on your lawn is extremely important. In fact, this decision can make a huge difference. The best way to determine whether your lawn needs sulfur or not is by testing the soil pH levels.
By doing so, you’ll be able to examine the available nutrients. The ideal ph level should be between 6.0 – 7.0. Suppose your soil testing shows that it has a ph level of 7.5. This range is definitely unsuitable for healthy turfgrass, so now you’ll apply sulfur to decrease the ph range.
Take a look at the following examples.
- Apply 10-15 pounds of sulfur annually for sandy soil with ph 7.5
- 20-25 pounds of sulfur for clayey soil
The important thing to remember here is that you should never apply these large quantities of sulfur all at once. Instead, try dividing the total amount into smaller doses you can apply over time.
You can spread 5 pounds of elemental sulfur once in spring weather and once in cooler fall months yearly because its excess can burn off the lawn.
How to check the soil’s pH level?
- Buy a soil test from your nearest garden store
- Mix 2 tablespoons of soil and ½ cup of vinegar, and if the blend fizzes, then the soil is alkaline
- Mix 2 tablespoons of soil with distilled water and ½ cup of baking soda. If the blend fizzes, then the soil is acidic.
- Use a home test kit
- Periodic sulfur tests
- Laboratory testing for higher accuracy
- Samples that are in dept of 3 inches of soil
- Soil samples of 6-inch depth for pre-established lawns.
How To Apply Sulfur On The Lawn?
Before applying sulfur on your lawn, ensure that your soil is well-draining and capable of retaining moisture. Another important thing is to check the soil’s pH level. As mentioned above, the ideal pH would be 6.0-7.0, so you should only apply sulfur if your lawn has a ph above that.
You can use any of the above-listed methods to check your soil’s method.
Now here’s how to apply it. Ammonium sulfate (sulfur) is a chemical element that can burn your hand, so we suggest wearing gloves throughout the entire process.
You can sprinkle it on the grass and then spread it completely on the top layer or use a rake to do it. Better yet, you can directly mix it with the soil before laying sod or planting new seeds.
The safest way to use sulfur on your lawn is to read the instructions given on the bag and follow them properly. This way, you’ll be given a gentle reminder of precautions, instructions, and the right amount to use.
After applying the sulfur to your lawn, you’ll need to wait about 20 minutes before thoroughly watering the lawn. This will help the soil to absorb sulfur properly and enjoy its benefits. Remember that sulfur will not be activated if you don’t water the lawn afterward.
If you have an established lawn, then sulfur plugs might be the right choice. They’ll help you add sulfur to your lawn without the risk of burning.
Factors to consider before applying sulfur to the lawn
- Perform a soil test to determine the exact amount you should apply
- Keep checking the soil’s ph levels in the early stages to make sure that you are on the right track
- Do not use sulfur when there is high humidity
- Only apply sulfur when the temperature is below 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius) to avoid burning the lawn
- If you have applied elemental oils or other alkaline materials on your lawn, then refrain from applying sulfur on top of it.
- Do not apply sulfur when the weather is windy because precision will be compromised.
Ways you can fix your lawn’s sulfur deficiency
Aside from sprinkling garden sulfur directly from the bag, you can also use the following methods to fix your soil’s sulfur deficiency.
- Use fertilizer products that have sulfur
- Use Epsom salts
- Organic fertilizers
- Use other soil amendments
- Add other sulfur-based materials to the soil
- Make sure that your soil’s organic matter is high
- Use organic matter such as manure, compost, and decomposing plant material
How Long Does Sulfur Take To Work?
You might apply sulfur on your lawn and expect it to work immediately, but unfortunately, that will not happen.
Applying and managing sulfur on your lawn is a slow process that provides long-term benefits rather than immediate ones. It’s safe to say that it takes a long time for sulfur to work its way into the soil and change the consistency of the earth.
Changing the entire ph of your soil can take longer time than you expect, so If you are a cautious person, then we recommend that incorporating sulfur in the soil a year before you start planting is the best choice.
Signs That Your Lawn Needs Sulfur
Your lawn’s turfgrass will show several visible signs when sulfur is needed. The earliest ones will be among the younger plant growth and new leaves that will start turning yellow due to nutrient deficiency.
You’ll notice that the edges of new turfgrass leaves will start turning brown, looking awfully pale and having a spindly sight. Long-term deficiency will lead to thinning and decline of your lawn.
The signs of sulfur deficiency are often confused with iron deficiency, and it can be often hard to distinguish your lawn’s needs. Remember that aside from a soil test, there is no definite way to determine whether these signs occur due to sulfur deficiency or lack of some other nutrient.
How much sulfur does a lawn need?
Typically a yard of 1000 sq. ft doesn’t need any more than 10 pounds a year, but as discussed above, it’s up to you how you divide this amount.
You can either follow the standard method and sprinkle it once in spring and once in fall, or you can apply smaller doses throughout the year. How much sulfur your lawn needs depends on your soil type.
If you have sandy soil, a quarter pound of sulfur per square yard will be needed to change the pH from 7.5 to 6.5. Meanwhile, clayey soils tend to need more sulfur than sandy soils to change the ph range, so half a pound will be required for the same piece of land if clayey soil is used.
On the other hand, about 6 ounces (0.375 pounds) of sulfur will be more than enough for loam soil.
Side-effects Of Applying Sulfur On The Lawn?
We have repeatedly mentioned above that excess sulfur application can adversely affect your lawn and even lead to its ultimate decline. Remember that nutrient deficiencies and lack of sulfur are definitely threatening, but so is its overconsumption. Let’s see what will happen if you over-apply sulfur on your lawn.
As you know, sulfur is used in alkaline soils to change their ph levels. Soil bacteria convert the sulfur powder into sulfuric acid and use it to increase nutrient availability.
Still, when too much sulfur is used, the ph level decreases beyond necessary, and the soil begins to thatch. This leads to highly acidic soil that is generally bad for lawn grass.
Production problems will arise, and the soil’s acidity will limit the availability of essential elements for the lawn grass. This will increase the influence of toxic elements, and significant losses will occur.
Since sulfur is a chemical element, it can cause soluble salts to build up and harm the grass roots. Excess use of this product can burn your lawn, so use it in moderation.
How Often Can I Apply Sulfur To My Lawn Summary
Now that we have answered your most common question how often can I apply sulfur on my lawn? The key takeaway from this article is to keep a close eye on sulfur quantity and the frequency you apply it with.
As mentioned above, excess use can burn off the lawn and damage the soil permanently.
Applying sulfur in cooler months is typically suggested, but you are good to go as long as the total amount of sulfur doesn’t exceed 10 pounds a year.
You can apply it all at once, too but dividing it into smaller doses is much more effective. Remember to follow all the precautions and respect the general rules to guarantee a lush and healthy lawn.
We also discussed how to apply sulfur, when to apply it, how much to use, and common signs indicating that your lawn needs it in the first place.
Did you find this article helpful? Sulfur can make a huge difference in your lawn’s health, so share it with your friends and family.
Meet Mattias Jonsson, the head of content at RainSaucers. Passionate about gardening and water-related topics, he’s dedicated to providing expert information and resources to help improve your home, health, and wallet. Learn from his research and experience.