Soil pH for Pine Trees

Asked September 27, 2018, 1:06 PM EDT

Hi, I'm trying to establish a 1/4 acre stand of pine trees on my established lawn. My soil pH came back at 7.2, which is going to be a problem. I suspect this is due to the previous owner liming the crap out of the lawn, but I digress. Anyway, I've read all the advise about using acidifying fertilizers and applying elemental sulfur. I think I'm going to apply the sulfur at the recommended rates and times and see how things go. My question is: How long would one typically have to perform the "sulfur therapy" before base-line pH becomes fairly stable at the desired pH? Once the pine trees are established, say in 5-10 years, am I still going to have to apply sulfur? Am I going to have to do this every couple of months for the rest of my life (and my children's life)? As soon as I stop applying sulfur will the pH begin to rise again? OR will acting forces due to the established tree stand combined with other companion flora and associated soil biology begin to establish a "new" lower base line pH compatible with the pine tree stand? I just don't want to be roped into applying sulfur every couple months for the next 200 years just to keep my pine trees alive.

St. Joseph County Michigan trees and shrubs sustainable gardening and landscaping soil soil ph gardening soil and fertility issues

1 Response

It is an urban myth that pine trees require acidic soil to thrive. You didn't mention what type of pine trees you are planning to establish; for more information about preferred soil pH ranges for specific types of pine trees, please visit this webpage, http://woodyplants.cals.cornell.edu/walk/18

For the answers to your questions about the ease and permanence of changing soil pH, you may find this tipsheet helpful:
http://msue.anr.msu.edu/uploads/files/Soil_pH_Finnerann.pdf