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Anyone have a suggestion for an old man?

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  • Anyone have a suggestion for an old man?

    On a job that I am doing, there is an area in the front of the house that nothing will go in. While I was talking to the new owner, a neighbor came over and told us that he doubted getting anything to grow there was not going to happen.

    The previous owner was a Clorox fiend. She washed everything with Clorox and was afraid putting it down the drain would harm her septic system so she would just dump it over the railing of the front porch. She did this for years.

    Their is a wheelchair ramp blocking access to the area so removing the dirt there and replacing it with good soil will be a by hand job.

    Any suggestions? At 60, I think it would be too much.

    Steve



  • #2
    I'd love to see a picture of that.

    That is a great question.

    How big of an area is it affecting?
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    • #3
      Area

      I'd love to see a picture of that.

      That is a great question.

      How big of an area is it affecting?
      I would have to remove about 5' x 6' and I have no Idea how deep.

      There is no way I can get a backhoe or other mechanical means to it. I would have to shovel the dirt into a wheel barrow on tne ramp and move it out and then reverse the procedure to put new soil back.

      To make things worse, it's my oldest son's mother-in-law so it will be a freeby.

      Steve


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      • #4
        It would be fascinating to take a soil sample of it and then see if there was any chance of adding any other kind of chemical/fert that could neutralize the damage.

        Otherwise maybe mulch it over or stone it over

        Here is the hazmat sheet on the product and it tells you how to neutralize it. I am no chemist but maybe this could help? Or maybe just running a lot of water on it could help dilute it?
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        • #5
          Clorox is a base so it probably has the pH level pretty high. Fertilizer containing ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate and/or sulfur-coated urea will lower the pH of the soil.
          Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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          • #6
            Liquid Sulfur

            Clorox is a base so it probably has the pH level pretty high. Fertilizer containing ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate and/or sulfur-coated urea will lower the pH of the soil.
            I already tried liquid lawn sulfur and Nature's Magic. Nature's Magic is supposed to detoxify soil. But, I'm afraid I am still going to have to dig it up.

            Steve


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            • #7
              I already tried liquid lawn sulfur and Nature's Magic. Nature's Magic is supposed to detoxify soil. But, I'm afraid I am still going to have to dig it up.
              How long ago? When you raise pH using lime it takes quite a while for the pH to change.

              I'd also do a soil analysis. I don't know what they cost where you are but here they are $9 + the cost of shipping the soil (usually $3-4). I get them from my county extension office. You may have barely put a dent in the level of alkalinity and just may need a stronger application. The analysis will tell you, down to the pound, how much is needed to change the pH.

              Of course, as you say, you may just need to replace it in the end but I sure wouldn't do it as a freebie get your oldest son out there to do the heavy work.
              Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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              • #8
                How long ago? When you raise pH using lime it takes quite a while for the pH to change.

                I'd also do a soil analysis. I don't know what they cost where you are but here they are $9 + the cost of shipping the soil (usually $3-4). I get them from my county extension office. You may have barely put a dent in the level of alkalinity and just may need a stronger application. The analysis will tell you, down to the pound, how much is needed to change the pH.

                Of course, as you say, you may just need to replace it in the end but I sure wouldn't do it as a freebie get your oldest son out there to do the heavy work.
                I do my own soil testing. (NPK), plus I have a pH and Nitrogen meter, a Brix analyze, and a moisture content meter.

                pH was 4.0 up now to 4.5 after 2 treatments one week apart. Soil is white, down at least 3 feet.

                My son is in Iraq, not seheduled home until November. Father in law is in a wheelchair so I am all that's left except my wife and somehow, I don't see her shoveling!

                Steve


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                • #9
                  ... My son is in Iraq, not seheduled home until November. ...
                  Tell him I thank him for his service and thanks to you, too.

                  Sounds like the soil is dead and possibly toxic. Can you hire a neighborhood kid to help with the heavy work?

                  Those pH numbers sound off. Acidifying the soil should lower the pH.
                  Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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                  • #10
                    Your're correct.

                    Tell him I thank him for his service and thanks to you, too.

                    Sounds like the soil is dead and possibly toxic. Can you hire a neighborhood kid to help with the heavy work?

                    Those pH numbers sound off. Acidifying the soil should lower the pH.
                    I have the numbers backwords. It's been a long day.

                    Steve


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                    • #11
                      Ah, I see.

                      Is there any big hurry on getting this completed? If not, give it time. I did a soil test on a 5000 sq. ft. lawn and it reported that they need 440 lbs of lime to adjust the pH (that seems like a heck of a lot for such a small lawn) all in one application. After application they suggested waiting 8 weeks before applying fertilizer as it will take that long for the pH to adjust.
                      Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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                      • #12
                        Time

                        They moved into the house a month ago and want it looking perfect ASAP. My son has been hired at the local nuclear power plant whenhe is discharged (next july) and bought a home here. I think that is why they moved here (that and the costs of NY). Since my last post, my neighbor said his son would be moving back home and that the two of them would help me dig it out and fill it back in. I buy the materials, beer and pizza, and they will supply the back power.

                        He suggested I go down about 4 feet and put a layer of cement in and then back fill it.

                        Sounds like a plan.

                        Steve


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                        • #13
                          He suggested I go down about 4 feet and put a layer of cement in and then back fill it.
                          It would be something to take a soil sample each ft down and see how much this clorox effect the earth and how deep it went.

                          This could be a great article for you to submit to the local paper on the environment and what we can avoid doing so as to not be so destructive.
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                          • #14
                            Not sure how things work in your area, but around here unless you want your house taken away from you I would keep the whole thing as quiet as possible. We have five areas in our little town that were thought to have some type of contamination on the property. The next thing you know, you need to hire a licensed hazmat removal company come in and dig out your yard and replace all the soil, you need to have a company come in and drill test sites so that it can be monitored for years to come. One site I know they have been testing for over twenty years now, even though 15 years ago when I was on the city council one of the workers told me that the site had been clean for years but the company doing the testing wanted the residual income so they keep testing it. Also you get a little 8 X 10 shed on your property to house all the test equipment. This is all done at your expense. Also until the property is considered clean it can not be sold. Because of the expense and the fact that the testing company will never clear it, the property owners just move on and let the city take the property. Over the years four of the five buildings have been torn down and now have these little shacks for testing on them. Sad story but it has been done in my area.

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                            • #15
                              Action Plan

                              It would be something to take a soil sample each ft down and see how much this clorox effect the earth and how deep it went.

                              This could be a great article for you to submit to the local paper on the environment and what we can avoid doing so as to not be so destructive.
                              Yesterday, we took out about 120 cu. ft.(4x5x6). Shoveled it into a wheelbarrow, dumper the wheelbarrow onto a tarp, and then dumped the tarp into my tow behind dump trailer. mixed and poured about 2" of concrete into the hole and let it cure overnight. Today we will fill the hole with dirt (from a hole we dug yesterday) from the lawn behind the house where we will be putting up an 8 x 10 storage shed, and put the bad soil in that hole.

                              I will put about 30 cu.ft of topsoil over the new soil in the hole to finish it off.

                              I though hard about your newspaper idea but decided against it. It might bring unwanted attention to environmental and governmental concerns.

                              Steve


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