Will ammonia kill grass? You might have seen your neighbors using the lush green grass on their lawns and wondered if it is worth the hype.
This article will analyze in-depth whether ammonia makes grass grow or kill it. Please find out how to use ammonia as a fertilizer by mixing common kitchen ingredients.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- Will Ammonia Kill Grass?
- How Would Ammonia Harm Grass?
- How Much Ammonia To Use For Fertilizing?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Will Ammonia Kill Grass?
Ammonia is a potent fertilizer that gives your grass a direct and rich nitrogen source. Nitrogen is considered one of the three most important nutrients any grass or plant needs for its growth. Even in diluted form, ammonia delivers too much nitrogen to the soil.
Nitrogen is an important building block of the chlorophyll molecule that helps grass take photosynthesis and make food for itself. Nitrogen is also needed for proper root growth development.
Ammonia can kill grass blades instantly when it comes in contact with it. This is mostly true for ammonia that has not been diluted but also holds for ammonia forms such as ammonium hydroxide.
How Would Ammonia Harm Grass?
Ammonia would harm the grass by making the soil acidic, which will result in yellowing and then browning of the leaves. In addition, the excess acidity would result of the burnt roots, leaving the leaves crispy and killing the grass in the long run.
Ammonia contains too much nitrogen, even in diluted form, and its frequent use can often add too much nitrogen to the soil. Excessive nitrogen can hamper root growth and promote too much leaf blade growth. The result is grass that looks lush but has a shallow root system that cannot sustain it for too long.
Over time ammonia breaks down and makes the soil far more acidic than is normal. Usually, most grass varieties need their soil to be slightly acidic to grow normally. Ammonia makes the soil so acidic that it becomes difficult for the grass to obtain the necessary macro and micronutrients.
If you fail to dilute ammonia properly, you can end up properly burning the grass blades off. They will turn yellow and feel dry and crisp on the touch. You will not be capable to see it, but the poor grass will get burnt down to the roots. If used completely, undiluted ammonia will most probably end up killing grass altogether.
– Applying Ammonium Hydroxide
Common household ammonia present in your pantry is ammonium hydroxide. It is also an essential constituent of many cleaning supplies. However, this is an undiluted form of ammonia and is not to be sprayed directly on the grass.
A single application of pure ammonium hydroxide will instantly kill crabgrass, ragweeds, and dandelions, it is dangerous to apply it near your grass. You must dilute it by adding one-part water to two parts of this ammonia and make a safe spray solution for the lawn.
– Ammonium Sulfate
Ammonium sulfate will have to be purchased, especially from your nearby store. It is a strong ammonia source and will kill weeds, grass, and any other plantation nearby within one week.
It is used mostly to lower the pH of the soil and make it more effective. Some plants, like blueberries, etc., naturally do better in acidic soil, and ammonium sulfate can be used for this purpose.
Of course, the grass is susceptible to dying when the soil pH drops below 6.0. Using this form of ammonia on the entire lawn is strictly not recommended.
– Ammonium Nitrate
Ammonium nitrate is the one form of ammonia that is a reliable fertilizer. Ninety percent of global ammonia production is used in fertilizers as ammonium nitrate.
It is also the safest form to be used at home and is easily taken up by the soil. Do not apply this to a lawn with freshly sowed grass seeds, plantlets, or sod. Once the lawn becomes well-established with grass, it will be strong enough to benefit from applying ammonium nitrate.
How Much Ammonia To Use For Fertilizing?
You must use just two ounces of homemade fertilizer made from ammonia is enough to suffice a lawn of 1000 square feet of lawns. However, you must be using the dilution method will give you spray of an adequate quantity to spray all over the lawn.
Ammonia is a reasonable alternative to using a commercial fertilizer for regularly feeding your lawn. Note that the ammonium nitrate is naturally the safest and the most potent form of this homemade fertilizer.
You can begin by taking a container and measuring one gallon and fill it with clean, filtered water. You can add more ingredients to give more beneficial properties to this DIY mixture. A can of beer added serves as a rich source of nutrients and energy.
You can also add half a cup of liquid lawn food and a cup of liquid dishwashing soap. Dishwashing soap can be substituted with vegetable oil as well. Both help stick the fertilizer to the grass blades and the soil, thereby increasing the number of nutrients added.
Mix well to make a uniform spray solution, and make arrangements for a 20-gallon of hose-end spray. One end of this assembly is attached to the garden hose, while the other is placed on top of the container where the mixture is stored.
Now, you can spray ammonia mixture on the entire lawn as evenly as possible and in the early morning. More than just one application will be required. Now, you must be patient and wait for at least three to four weeks before the next application.
– Organic Source Of Ammonia
Some organic fertilizers like chicken manure are also rich sources of ammonia and hence need to be used cautiously.
In addition, you must note that one commonly used feed is chicken manure, and this is because it has a very high ammonia content. If your compost contains poultry manure, you need to let it age until it becomes safe.
Make a pile that is one cubic yard in size, and let the compost with chicken manure age until it reaches a temperature between 130 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit. You will need to allow it to stay at this temperature for three days before turning it around. Again, wait till the pile reaches a temperature of around 130 to 150 degrees.
This process should be repeated for 45 days until the compost is aged enough to be used. You can tell that it’s ready just by its black color and extremely nasty smell, this will not be as toxic as the raw kind.
– Common Households
Who says ammonia is your only option for awesome homemade feeds? Many options help you maintain a lush-green and healthy lawn within your kitchen pantry.
One of the most commonly used household, ingredients is Epsom salt is enriched with magnesium and sulfur, which helps with chlorophyll production and absorption of nitrogen and phosphorus from the soil.
You need five cups of Epson salt per 100 square meters of lawn that you can then sprinkle directly or dilute in water as a spray, and it will work so well. A more effective recipe would be to mix one cup of Epsom salt with one cup of ammonia, which is again a fertilizing advantage.
In addition, we bet you didn’t know that club soda can also be used as a home-based fertilizer, did you? Club soda is just carbonated water made of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, along with sodium in its active form.
Mix one can of club soda, one beer, half a cup of ammonia, and a few spoons of dishwashing soap. You may use this mixture as a fertilizer once every three weeks over the entire lawn.
As mentioned earlier, household ammonium hydroxide is a strong weed killer. It is non-selective and will indiscriminately kill weeds, grass, and other such plants.
All you must do is to mix two parts of this ammonia with one-part water. Put this mixture in a spray bottle with a broad nozzle and spray on all parts of the lawn. Ammonia takes a couple of days to break down and start turning the soil acidic. It also directly attacks grass blades and weed leaves and gives them chemical burns.
Frequent reapplications will still be required after every five to six days. Once the weeds begin to die, you must manually pull them out by hand, rake, or another tool. Dead weeds come out easily, even if you give them a mild upwards pull.
– Precautions While Using Ammonia
Even though this element is one that will help you in fertilizing your lawn when diluted, however, you must note that Ammonia is not a safe chemical to use casually without adequate precautions.
It would be ideal if you did not let its undiluted form, such as ammonium hydroxide, come in contact with bare skin. Otherwise, the skin may experience irritation or chemical burns, in matter of the dosage. It also forms fumes that go into the eyes or the airways and irritates them.
Please wear a mask while spraying it during lawn care. The safest thing would be an industrial-grade breathing mask. You may have to wear goggles that stick to the skin to keep ammonia out of the eyes. Rubber gloves, a hat, and thick clothing covering the whole body are also necessary.
Note that you must keep pets, kids, and other household members out of the way while mixing and spraying ammonia. The grass should be off-limits for general traffic for at least two to three days after each such application for safety reasons.
Frequently Asked Questions
– Can You Kill Germs Using Ammonia?
No, it is not possible to kill germs using ammonia. Ammonia is not a very effective disinfectant per see, and especially not when used in the soil.
When used on the soil, it will lower its pH and make it acidic. When the soil turns too acidic, the microbial life presented in the soil is affected, and that is why many people believe that ammonia kills bacteria and pests in the soil.
– Can Ammonia Be Toxic To The Soil?
Yes, ammonia can be toxic to the soil, especially when used as ammonium hydroxide. It is also toxic when used several times without dilution or mixing with other useful ingredients.
Ammonia is harmful, when it is used in an undiluted form, however, if you use it properly and dilute it, it could have your lawn thriving.
Here is a brief recap on whether ammonia effectively kills weeds and grass.
- Household ammonia, when used in the undiluted form, will kill weeds and grass both directly and by acidifying the soil.
- Ammonium nitrate is the safest form of ammonia that serves as an effective fertilizer for your grass lawn.
- Mixing beer, club soda, and Epsom salt can make the ammonia fertilizer more potent.
- While using ammonia, you must take strict precautions and wear gloves, goggles, and thick protective clothing.
After reading this guide, you know all there is to know about the various types of ammonia and how best to utilize each in the lawn.