Sulfur powder is taken from elemental sulfur, which occurs naturally in the environment. Sulfur was once collected around volcanoes and in mines, but today, most sulfur is produced as byproduct of petroleum refining and other industrial activities. You may want to use sulfur powder if you're dealing with problems in your garden.
Sulfur Powder for the Garden
Sulfur powder is most commonly used in the garden. Sulfur is an essential nutrient for plants, which means it's already in your soil. Sulfur affects pH levels or the acidity of the soil. Adding more sulfur to your soil will lowering the pH or the acidity of it. This may be something you need to do if your soil tests say that your soil is too alkaline (above 7) for the plants you are trying to grow in that soil.
Sulfur deficiency in plants can also be treated with sulfur powder. Yellowing leaves or stunted growth or poor tasting fruits or vegetables are common symptoms of sulfur deficiency. Mixing sulfur powder into the top few inches of soil may help reverse the problem.
How to Apply Sulfur Powder
The pH of your garden should measure about 6.5, just below neutral. The pH of soil allows the availability of the different nutrients plants require for proper growth. Soil without proper PH conditions will lead to stunted growth, dead plants, and yellowing leaves. If you have an alkaline soil where the pH measures above 7, you may want to consider sulfur powder to lower the pH.
Measuring your garden square footage is the first step so you know exactly how much you will need when its time to source sulfur powder. The Purdue Extension recommends applying 1 1/2 lbs. of garden sulfur for every 100 square feet in order to lower the pH one full number. For reference, if your soil tests at 8.0, this application rate will lower it to 7.0 and so on and so forth. You want to till that into the top layer of the soil (top 3").
This is not an overnight fix and will take several months for the sulfur to work to lower PH. So knowing what your garden needs early, before growing season will enable you to get sulfur in at the right time so the soil is optimal for growth. For more information on how sulfur powder can be applied to your garden, be sure to check out our blog post on sulfur powder in the garden.