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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:22 pm 
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Last week in Howard's eNewsletter titled "Correcting Compacted Soil", Howard talked about using hydrogen peroxide as a liquid aeration solution. I have a couple of questions. 1.) Is this safe for actual grass (St. Augustine), or is this for just bare soil?
2.) What would be the mixture rate, I see in the newsletter the mixture rate for the 35% concentration, but not the 3%.
I would be using the 3% concentration in a dial-in hose-end sprayer. I would appreciate any help.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:24 am 
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Plant growth usually isn’t very good in compacted soils, but there are several ways to aerate and physically improve these soils. Heavily compacted soil will benefit greatly from physical core aeration or "ripping" which is tearing lines in the ground with machines that pull knife-like attachments through the soil at various depths. It's the best way to aerate but not very practical for homeowners. Ripping the soil is actually more beneficial at aerating than poking holes, but it shouldn't be done if trees exist. Tearing the feeder roots would result.

The liquid aeration treatment would be to spray or drench hydrogen peroxide. Applying the 3% product from the drug or grocery store is one way to go. It can be applied full strength or mixed with water 50-50.

Commercial 35% hydrogen peroxide is also available and can be mixed at about 1 oz per gallon of water, but this concentrated product can burn skin and eyes so must be handled very carefully. The ideal approach would be to do both. The physically aerated soil lets the liquid penetrate more deeply to flocculate and help loosen the soil more effectively. Apply the Garrett Juice mixture or at least compost tea after the hydrogen peroxide application and you will have fertilized the soil as well as aerated it.

All this work is usually a one-time need, unless the soil is physically compacted all over again. Here's a lawn aeration video.


This is the entire discussion in the newsletter. You can use the 3% hydrogen peroxide full strength or mix it 50/50 with water. If you're treating compacted soil, I'd guess that there isn't much grass growing there anyway, but this strength of peroxide won't hurt it.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:33 pm 
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I like to distinguish between two different conditions: hard soil and compacted soil.

Compacted soil is caused in nature when livestock walk into a mucky water tank and sink into the soil. The mechanical action of squishing the soil down drives air out of the wet soil and it physically becomes more compact. This process is performed by machines when making bricks or treating clay for ceramics.

Hard soil is caused by the depletion of the beneficial fungi in the soil. When the population of fungi becomes low enough, they cannot keep the soil particles separated from each other with their hyphae. If you can boost the population of beneficial microbes, by creating an environment they like, then you don't have to do anything else. The environment they like is constant temperature and constant moisture level. One pretty easy way to do that is to cover the soil with a few inches of mulch. Another way that costs less and works on lawns is to spray the soil with clear shampoo. There is a history of similar materials creating beneficial effects in the soil. The trial using clear shampoo specifically for softening soil is the result of a little creative thinking. It works. At least it has worked for me that last two times I tried it. And many (MANY) members of another forum report it works for them. The application rate is anywhere between 3-50 ounces per 1,000 square feet. Fifty? Yes 50! That was another experiment to see if there was an upper limit to how much you could spray before seeing any problems. The guy stopped at 50 so we don't know if spraying more might have caused a problem. These testers would use a screwdriver to test their soil. Pretty soon screwdrivers were not long enough. The guy doing this test uses a 36-inch piece of steel now. The test is to push the screwdriver into the soil by hand. You'll get a feel for it. At first a screwdriver might not penetrate even 1 inch. Don't worry.

Also you can expect your soil to become soft when moist and become hard again when it dries out before you water again. That is normal.

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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 4:22 pm 
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I wouldn't use hydrogen peroxide to aerate soil. I am just trying a product called Humate which is humic acid. You can get it from Sure Crop Fertilizers in Seneca KS. They will ship it to you for about $15/gal. I was told that you apply 2 gal/acre to help loosen up compacted soils. :D


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 7:34 pm 
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Shampoo is local and costs a whole lot less than $30 plus shipping for two gallons of humate. And if it must be humate that you use, you can get it locally, you don't need to ship it from Kansas. Have you checked out your local feed store?

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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 8:03 pm 
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I'm in central nebraska so it isn't that far for me to ship it. None of my local feed stores carry it. I'm using it on a lot bigger scale than just my yard. I got 700 gal and putting it on all my farm ground and hay ground too. That would take a lot of shampoo!!!


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:52 pm 
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Northwesterner, have you tried shampoo? Did it work for you?

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:02 pm 
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how often is the shampoo needed. Is it needed each season, yearly, or is this all relative to the amount of traffic on your lawn.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:11 pm 
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I used shampoo 2 years ago and my soil still gets a little too soft when it gets wet.

If you have acreage with hard soil, use the following recipe. This is the master recipe for softening soil. The shampoo idea came from this. Cost of the materials is about $60 for the quantity below and will cover 3 acres.

2 gallons sodium laureth sulfate (eBay; Various Suppliers)
3 cups yucca extract (T&J Enterprises)
1 gallon tap water

Spray at a rate of 1 gallon per acre, then irrigate heavily (or time the application prior to a heavy rain). Repeat 2 weeks later if possible.

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