West Virginia Highway 47 Cut ~ The Next Steps
The difficult project had to be completed in steps. Initially, elemental sulfur, powdered iron sulfate, and gypsum were hydraulically applied to reduce the soil pH, and this mixture required time to activate. Penn Line waited approximately two weeks before proceeding with the actual hydroseeding. In addition, a combination of Super-Bio microbes, Profile JumpStart 5, and a 15-30-5 fertilizer was applied to build an effective organic base for seed establishment.
Zwilling points out that, partly as a result of the difficulties encountered in this project, a new soil neutralizer has been developed—Aqua-pHix. It is intended for soil with a pH greater than about 7.3 and can be applied to buffer the soil. In contrast to this Highway 47 project in which two weeks were needed to alter the pH, with Aqua-pHix, “You simply pretreat with it, allow 1 to 2 hours’ time, then apply the mulch/seed mix. It essentially adjusts the pH in just a few days with the effect lasting for perhaps 18 to 20 weeks,” he explains. A related soil conditioner from Profile Products, NeutraLime, is available in cases where the pH is too low, less than about 6.3.
Another important decision in the project was the selection of appropriate mulch. Zwilling explains that on simpler projects, a basic wood and paper hydraulic mulch may be sufficient. "These are OK for limited erosion control, they’re inexpensive, and they work well for flat areas." But for this project, a different formulation was needed.