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east yorkshire, United Kingdom Gb

advice for builder's repairs.
The concrete base for the conservatory was mixed on the front drive. Apart from the sand/gravel dumped on the plants :o( the builder and OH sluiced the drive down afterwards. I expect a very alkaline and very hard soil will result. What, if anything, can i do to help the poor plants still there. [lots of dorant crocuses etc] Thanks in anticipation



I would look for sulfur pastilles, or iron polysulfides. Sulfur crystals have to be dug in to be effective, while the pastilles slowly dissolve. If you use the iron polysulfides, be sure to apply them while the weather is dry, and sweep the drive off thoroughly before getting it wet. Otherwise, the concrete will get red-brown "freckles"! A topdressing of good, acidic compost will also help.

28 Aug, 2010


Cement is a killer, as is ordinary yellow sand (salt levels kill plants). However, a good sluicing down, a good dig over, and plants will find a way. Phil J

28 Aug, 2010


I would try and fork some humus rich soil conditioner into the top layer of soil Sbg, possibly removing the top layer of soil first.

28 Aug, 2010


would OH corpse add extra nutrients and rot down acidic? I am so cross with him as he made sure all his stuff was safely moved. I'm tempted to cook him some daff bulbs. teach him a lesson! I will lift as any plants out as i can and wash them down too. I will see if I can find any sulfur crystals but dont understand the 'chemistry' of it. Any chance of explaining it Tugb?

I will have to do as you suggest Ba and Phil.

28 Aug, 2010


Here in the States, sulfur crystals are sold as "soil sulfur'. When they are dug into alkaline soil, each crystal makes a little zone of acidic soil around it where plants can pick up nutrients. If it is applied to the soil surface, it just sits there, sometimes for years, so it is best dug in deep, at least 30 cm.

Sulfur pastilles are sulfur powder stuck together into little "toll house chips" with starch or organic wax. The binder decays, and the powder grains dissolve much faster than the crystals do, releasing dilute sulfuric acid as they do, which counteracts the lime in the concrete slurry. Here in the States, there is just one source of the pastilles, sold as Dispersul--I was hoping that something similar was available in the UK.

In either case, I would definitely add organic matter, since both the concrete and the sulfur can deplete the soil of organic content.

28 Aug, 2010


OH corpse will add a lot of much needed nutrients to the soil, Sbg, but I suspect that the police will do so much more damage as they dig over the whole garden for you, lol!!!!

28 Aug, 2010


On a similar theme; many years ago our next door neighbour and his father-in-law decided to tidy up an overgrown conifer in our joint boundary hedge. A bit off this side then a bit more off the other to balance it up - in the end it looked a dogs breakfast! When the wife came home from work you could hear her exclamations all over the village!!!! Great fun and it is still remembered today.

28 Aug, 2010


As cement is obviously highly alkaline with its lime content hope you have no rhododendrons camellias etc in those borders Sbg .. would a good covering of manure with its acidic content help neutralise the effect ?

Not so helpful answering a question with a question just wondered if it would work as less like hard work and muck spreading could be suitable punishment for OH...

29 Aug, 2010


The thought of the 'old bill' digging the garden reminds me of an episode of Porridge'. They continued to sluice all spades/barrows/mixers into the same bit of garden again today.
There arent any rhodo/camellias in this bit. as the garden is based on chalk any way. OH idea of putting things right is to do it as quick as possible, so asking him to dig carefully around plants would only make it worse. I just wish he'd be more considerate of my hard work.

But the walls are coing on . I keep telling my self it will be worth it in the end.

29 Aug, 2010

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