Hurricane season has arrived and the experts are expecting a very busy season. Not only do these types of storms leave immediate damage to properties in the form of flooding, wind damage, power outages but it can leave lasting damage to your turf and plants by increasing the amount of salts or sodium to your soils.
Unless you have salt-tolerant grass or plants, which most people do not, high levels of salts can be very devastating to your landscapes. Increased levels of salt act as a barrier to the plant’s cell wall, in essence tricking it into thinking it is in a drought situation even it there is plenty of water. When the plant can’t absorb the water in the soil it will shut down and go into dormancy and eventually will die due to lack of hydration.
There are a few ways to combat the salt issues if you don’t landscape with salt-tolerant plants and turf. You can spend time flushing the areas with clean water until the salts have been leached out of the ground. This takes an extreme amount of water to fully leach out the salts out of the root zone and is an irresponsible use of water in this age of conservation.
The safest, healthiest and most cost efficient way to rid your soil of high levels of salt is to use gypsum. But not just any gypsum, it has to be a calcium sulfate di-hydrate (CaSO4*2H2O). This form of gypsum is by far the most soluble form available. The best calcium sulfate di-hydrate gypsum on the market, SuperCal SO4 by Calcium Products, is extremely effective and efficient in correcting your high sodium levels in the soils.
Application of SuperCal SO4 is very easy. It comes as simple, clean, uniform pellets that can be spread using a broadcast or drop spreader. It is to be topically applied to the turf; for best results follow the application with a light watering to assist in the breakdown of the pellets. Because it is a naturally mined material it can be applied anytime during the year, regardless of the temperature. It will not burn the grass or affect the pH.
For the leaching of the salts due to extreme weather or due to high sodium levels from other factors, increase the suggested application rates from 5-10 pounds per thousand square feet to 20-30 pounds per thousand square feet.
Before long your turf will be thanking you; it will not only be salt free but healthier, stronger and more resistant to drought and disease pressures because the calcium strengthened the cell wall and increased the immune system of the plant.