Use Gypsum Fertilizer and (hopefully) save your soil/lawn/shrubs/trees/garden from the Salt Water Damage

granulated_gypsum_90Hurricane Sandy painted the town brown. If you are like me, you’re probably wondering what’s going to happen with all your salt water-damaged shrubs, trees and grass when spring comes around. Will anything survive or will there be landscape-makeovers all over Long Beach? With all the recent rain we’ve been getting, I am starting to see some life appear here and there. Grass does look a little bit better now than a few days after the storm, but there is still quite a bit of salt left soaking in the soil and roots. One thing you can do to speed up the process of ridding this salt is to apply a fertilizer called Gypsum all over your landscape.

Gypsum is a very soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate (wikipedia) that can be purchase at most local nurseries. Rather than me pretending to know what I’m talking about, read the following info, courtesy of Dee’s Nursery in Oceanside:

[quote]Salt water damage is a fact of life with many of us living so close to the ocean and bays of beautiful Long Island. A storm surge from a hurricane or heavy rain can wreak havoc on your lawn and garden beds….

Salt leaves excess sodium in the soil and it will probably change the PH. You should do a soil test and correct the PH balance by adding lime if needed. The next 2 steps are the most important. Irrigate your soil with fresh water to help wash the salt out of the root zone and then apply Gypsum to your soil. The gypsum will react with the salt and break it apart so it does minimal damage to your lawn or plants.

Don’t fertilize right away. You don’t want to encourage excessive growth in damaged soil. Instead apply a top dressing of compost such as bumper crop or manure such as Chickity Doo Doo and slowly add organics back to the soil. Apply regular fertilizer about a month later. This should bring your soil back to normal.[/quote]

Read the full article @ Dee’s Nursery: Salt Water Damage On Lawns and Garden Beds

Gypsum needs a lot of water to work, so It’s probably best to spread it on a rainy day. That being said, I can’t promise that it will save any of your landscaping, but it’s definitely worth a shot. At least it will help get rid of the salt in your soil. Of course, It’s best to head over to a local nursery and ask them what to do (Hint: they will tell you to buy Gypsum ). Good luck!

Here are a few local nurseries who carry Gypsum fertilizer:

Dees Nursery & Florist
69 Atlantic Avenue
Oceanside, NY 11572
A & T Garden Center & Nursery Inc 
4373 Austin Boulevard
Island Park, NY 11558
Atlantic Nursery
250 Atlantic Avenue
Freeport, New York 11520

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