Ways To Reduce Nitrogen in the Soil

Ways To Reduce Nitrogen in the Soil

Beautiful, lush, green plants are lovely, but there's a problem if they have very few or very small fruits or flowers. You likely have an overabundance of nitrogen in your soil. You may also see some leaves wilting, turning yellow to brown, or looking burnt.

The best way to verify whether it's a nitrogen issue is to do a soil test. Use a home testing kit or send soil samples to a lab. Once you have the results, you'll have to amend your soil to proper levels. However, it is best not to make any of these modifications without a proper soil test. You don't want to make changes without knowing for sure what the issue is you're combating.

Choose Nitrogen Absorbing Plants

The easiest solution is to plant nitrogen-binding plants. Corn, cabbage, squash, and broccoli are some of the best nitrogen-binding vegetables. These nitrogen-absorbing plants will probably not have very strong fruit or flowers in the garden. They are meant to act as sponges for the soil rather than plants for growing food. Sow these crops in succession. Then, monitor how the plant growth changes. Or, if your soil is particularly bad, you can plant them all at once.

Add More Mulch

Mulch is a simple and easy way to reduce the excess nitrogen in your soil. Mulch, in general, absorbs nitrogen. Mulch works in your favor to reduce the nitrogen, as well as acts as a weed-suppressor and moisture retainer. Sawdust mulch works incredibly well.

Add More Water

Soaking your garden with lots of water will cause the nitrogen to leach further down into the soil. The extra water sends the nitrogen much deeper than the roots of your plants. This method doesn't get rid of the nitrogen but moves it further away to where it will be less of an issue.

Do Not Fertilize

It is possible to over-fertilize and unintentionally add more nitrogen to your soil than is needed. While adding growth supporters to your soil might seem second nature, the nitrogen in fertilizers will only make your problem worse. When you skip the fertilizer, you force the plants to soak up the nitrogen already in the soil. This, in turn, reduces the overall nitrogen levels in your garden.

Do Nothing

This probably sounds counter-intuitive. However, you can always just let the garden grow. The plants that are already there can soak up the nitrogen. Then, the following year, do a new soil test. Unfortunately, this means you won't have a great harvest during this season. But, often, self-remediation is all a garden needs to get on the right path again.

Whichever method you choose, be sure to watch how the plant's foliage changes as you make changes. And, be sure to test your soil again before planting a crop you plan to harvest.

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